Do you want to know How To Get Rid of ammonia smell in garden? If yes, then read this article to know its causes, sources, and solution for removal.
If you are experiencing a sharp, pungent smell like a rotten egg or animal urine in your garden, then it must be due to an excess of ammonia. It could be coming from the soil, your compost bin, or any decomposing pile.
Ammonia NH3 is a colorless and irritating gas with a strong choking odor. It quickly dissolves in water to generate ammonium hydroxide, which is alkaline and can cause irritation and burns when we come into contact with it.
Today we will go over it in depth to understand how to get rid of the ammonia smell in our garden or yard and why we are experiencing it, as well as effective cures.
Introduction of Ammonia Gas and its Major Sources:
It is a gas composed of two elements: nitrogen and hydrogen. It is colorless, but we can easily detect its presence due to its overpowering smell like rotten eggs. It is a waste product and is generally used to make fertilizers.
Rainwater, decomposition or breakdown of organic waste matter, and nitrogen fixation processes in soil or water are its general sources. It is also produced artificially in many industries for many uses.
In our garden or field, it could be coming from our fish tanks, compost bins, any untreated waste, or soil where crops are growing or have been harvested.
Problems due to the Presence of Ammonia in our Garden
It has no color, but it can still harm anyone who comes into contact with it; some such issues are:
Affects the Health of the Gardener
High levels of ammonia in our garden atmosphere cause acute burning in the farmers’ eyes, nostrils, throat, and respiratory system.
Even when they inhale in small quantities, it can damage their lungs. In extreme cases, it can even cause death or blindness to the gardener.
Damages the Crops
It’s alkaline and can harm the crops which grow in acidic p.H. It also corrodes our grass when it dissolves in the rain in huge quantities and precipitates over them. Its smell also indicates rot root diseases in our plants.
Damages our Fish
It is toxic for our pond fishes; thus, we must avoid it near the fish tank, and even if it is dissolved in our fish tank, we must clean our tanks; otherwise, it will harm our fish.
Sources of Ammonia Smell in Your Garden
It is a general process of bacteria to produce ammonia by decaying organic matter through the nitrogen fixation process. Your garden’s compost bin, fish tank, and soil are the primary sources of ammonia odor.
1. Ammonia Smell from Soil
- Most of the ammonia produced in the soil is consumed by plants in the form of nitrates and nitrites, but if your soil begins to smell, it indicates a lack of oxygen.
- The smell of ammonia is coming as our plants do not consume it due to the absence of oxygen.
- In Anaerobic soil, oxygen is lacking, and our plants can’t respire; as a result, they decay, and a foul smell of ammonia develops.
- There could be three reasons your soil is lacking oxygen and given ammonia smell, such:
2. Moss has consumed the oxygen
Our soil contains moss which absorbs all the oxygen from our soil and produces an ammonia smell.
3. Soil is heavily compressed
Our soil has been so compressed that it does not have any oxygen present in it for bacteria to consume; thus, they produce such compounds, which are hazardous for our plant cells and lead to their death.
4. Soil is waterlogged
Our soil has been supplied with so much water that all the air spaces are occupied by water, and in their presence, our roots start to rot, and oxygen is not present for respiration.
Ammonia Smell from a Compost Bin
When we turn our organic waste into compost, we let bacteria and fungi in our soil eat the dry organic matter and change it into valuable plant nutrients. A healthy compost never produces the smell of ammonia.
When our composite smells, it means it lacks oxygen for the microbiological activity, or our composite contains some excess moisture which is not required for this microbial activity.
The ammonia smell in the composite also indicates an excess of nitrogen in our composite.
Ammonia Smell from Water or Fish Tank:
Ammonia is also present in feces, and if any wastewater leaks into our water tank, it will smell like ammonia, so we must check why it smells like wastewater.
The fish tank also smells like ammonia water as their waste is present, which needs to be removed.
Ammonia is another form of amines that causes foul smells, so we need to treat this foul water; otherwise, it can create health issues for all living things.
Remedies On How To Get Rid of ammonia smell in garden
Some effective remedies that can remove the Ammonia smell in our garden are:
Treatment of Anaerobic Soil
- Remove the moss from the soil, add dry materials like sand, hay, wood chips, tree bark, and straw, and shred cardboard to remove moisture and dry them.
- Spread a plastic sheet over them in the presence of the full sun to remove moisture. The temperature of the soil will increase, which will kill bacteria.
- Add carbon-rich material to our soil to balance the amount of nitrogen in it.
- With the help of air pumps, they incorporate air into them to increase the amount of oxygen for bacterial processes.
- In fields, apply a dilute solution of acids such as acetic and peroxide to neutralize the excess amount of ammonia there. Home gardeners don’t need to add acid to their fields but use an alternative method for this step.
- Stop watering in that area until your soil is dry again.
- If a smell is coming from the soil of your pots, replant your plant after washing its roots. Then plant it in new pots with fresh soil, good compost, and holes at the bottom.
Treatment of Compost
- When your recycling bin includes too much nitrogenous material, it begins to emit the smell of ammonia, and we need to add more carbon to it.
- We can even add dry leaves to the composite bin to remove moisture.
- When we add fat or meat to our compost bin, it also generates a foul smell of ammonia. Thus, we must avoid adding meat or fat to our compost bin.
- We can add a generous amount of activated charcoal to the composite mix to help keep it from stinking.
- It easily removes the smell of ammonia, absorbs any moisture, and provides good aeration for bacteria so that they will turn our compost healthy again.
Treatment of Waste Water in Fish Tanks
- You can filter all the waste material such as feces, dried leaves, and other waste material through the filter and then pass the water through the carbon bed.
- When we pass wastewater through adsorptive carbon filters to remove the odor of ammonia and amines, this water is recycled and reused in our water and fish tank.
- We can even pass the filters over biofilters readily available on the market to convert ammonia into its useful form, which will act as fertilizer for our field.
Cleaning of Waste Piles in our Garden
Always keep your yard clean so they will not accumulate into big piles where microorganisms can attack, especially in the rainy season, which will produce an ammonia smell in your yard and damage the health of your gardeners and plants.
Benefits of Ammonia in our Garden:
No matter how bad they smell, they contribute to our garden as well, such as:
The building block of fertilizer:
It is a component of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate, and ammonia makes up 90% of plant fertilizers, so it can help farmers increase soil productivity.
It is used in Fermentation:
It helps with the fermentation process. It can be a source of energy for our microbes, which convert the state of our product due to fermentation.
FAQS of How to Get Rid of Ammonia Smell
Q: How Long Does The Ammonia Odor Remain Outside In Our Garden?
It stays about six to seven days. You can eliminate it sooner by treating the cause of this foul smell.
Q: Which Chemical Can Easily Remove The Odor Of Ammonia?
Acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide can quickly neutralize it and remove its odor, but they must be used in diluted form, or they will harm the plant.
Q: Are The Fumes Of Ammonia Toxic For Us?
Yes, in higher concentrations, they can damage our lungs and eyes. Even when they dissolve in water, they can cause burns to our skin when we come into contact with them.
Q: What Symptoms Indicate Ammonia Poisoning?
Coughing, eye burning, chest burning, and trouble breathing are typical symptoms.
Ammonia is a colorless and poisonous gas, which is why if we don’t know how to get rid of the ammonia smell in our garden, it can be lethal.
We should also learn to get rid of this smell so we can protect our soil, water, plants, and workers from the harmful effects of ammonia.
My name is Olivia, staying in the United States, and I love to have plants in my garden. Lots of plants are there in my balcony, indoor and outdoor garden also. Here I am trying to share useful tips on gardening, how to grow and care for various plants, etc. Check out more.