How to Get Rid of a Sour Soil Smell in the Lawn

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Things You'll Need

  • Moss killer

  • Garden hoe or rake

  • Compost, sand or peat

  • Lawn additives

Caring for a lawn can be a difficult task: The grass dries out or refuses to grow, and there are always leaves to be raked. Lawn care can get even harder when your lawn begins to smell sour or rotten. This smell is usually an indication that your lawn is not draining well, and as a result, the dirt will get very little oxygen, and moss will begin to grow. With a little lawn work, you can cure your soil of these sour smells.


Step 1

Purchase professional moss killer from a hardware or gardening specialty store. Some regular lawn fertilizers also include a moss-killing element. Be sure to read all of the instructions and warnings on the mixture before you apply it to your lawn.

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Step 2

Isolate the effected area of your lawn. The moss will probably be visible at a casual glance. Sour soil due to moss is also unusually dark when compared to the rest of the lawn. Apply the moss killer to the affected areas, or to your whole lawn, depending on the instructions for the specific product you choose.


Step 3

Determine the reason that your lawn is not draining properly. If the ground underneath the soil is compacted—if it is too hard to allow water to flow through properly—increase the aeration to the soil. Sand, peat and compost are all great additions to a lawn that will help soil drain more effectively, and, therefore, receive more oxygen and reduce the smell. Use a garden hoe or rake to mix your material into the soil. Small circular motions will help to create pores in the soil mixture that will allow more oxygen to flow and alleviate sour smells.

Step 4

Test to see if your lawn soil is sour. Sour soil will lack certain essential elements, such as phosphorus, and will often have an unusual pH or acidity level compared to the rest of the soil in your area. Do-it-yourself soil tests are available at hardware or gardening stores. You can also speak with an expert at one of these stores about having the soil professionally tested.


Step 5

Apply the appropriate additives to revitalize the soil if it is sour. Calcium and lime are common products that can be applied to a lawn to help with sour soil. Be sure to read all directions regarding application to your lawn. Consult with an expert if you are unsure about what types of additives your lawn needs.


Charcoal usually has a high oxygen level. Adding some charcoal to your soil can also help to prevent a sour smell.

If you have pets, urine and feces can cause a foul smell in your lawn soil. Be sure to pick up after the animals regularly. You can also purchase an odor remover and apply it to your lawn to eliminate the smell.


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