Sulfuric acid soil treatments that have been used to reduce soil pH in the landscape can cause root damage. When 5 cm (2 in) diameter holes were filled with 33% (4 N) sulfuric acid, pH reduction of one-half unit or greater was limited to soil within 5 cm (2 in) of the treatment hole and persisted less than 2 years. Fine root density was significantly reduced and root tip injury was significantly increased within 15 cm (6 in) of the treatment hole. Cambium of woody roots greater than 3 mm (0.1 in) diameter was killed up to 25 cm (10 in) from the application hole. Destruction of the cambium would result in the death of the roots beyond the point of cambium injury and may be responsible for crown dieback which sometimes develops following acid treatments in the landscape.

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3Research assistants