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How to Fix Anaerobic Soil – 6 Easy Methods!

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Soil conditions are extremely important for the plants to thrive. As plants draw nutrients from the soil, their health depends upon soil optimality.

Soil can be affected by a lot of conditions, including being anaerobic.

This guide will tell you how to fix anaerobic soil via six easy methods because seeing your soil being anaerobic can be daunting.

It is not only unpleasant to look at but bad for your plants as well. If you want to treat your soil and learn how to fix anaerobic soil, keep following this guide, and you will have healthy soil in no time.

Anaerobic soil chunks—how to fix anaerobic soil
How to fix anaerobic soil? – Image via United Soybean Board.

How to Fix Anaerobic Soil | What is Anaerobic Soil?

Recall that boring biology class in your high school where you learned the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.

Just like that,

“Anaerobic soil is soil that does not have a sufficient supply of oxygen.”

It occurs due to the difference between oxygen consumption of the soil biome and oxygen production in the soil. While a slight difference is okay, a major difference can lead to anaerobic soil.

The Factors That Contribute to Anaerobic Soil

Soil can get anaerobic in waterlogged areas of your garden.

In other words, the soil gets anaerobic when it has excess amounts of water.

The presence of root rotting organisms such as Armillaria mellea, Clitocybe tabescens, and Fusarium can also cause soil to become anaerobic.

Areas Affected By Anaerobic Soil

All areas are not equally prone to anaerobic soil.

If you live in humid plain areas, you are more prone to anaerobic soil than your counterparts.

So do not fret that your friend living in sunny areas does not have to deal with anaerobic soil.

How to Detect Anaerobic Soil?

I know you are eager to know how to fix anaerobic soil. But first, it is crucial to identify it. Though anaerobic soil is an unfortunate condition to deal with, it is pretty easy to detect it.

Just look out for the following signs to identify your soil as being anaerobic:

The Sticky Texture of the Soil

An anaerobic soil has a particular sticky texture. To feel the texture of your soil, take some in hand and examine it.

It is anaerobic if it appears to be sticky, almost like gum.

The Pungent, Stinky Smell From the Soil

Anaerobic soil gives off a nasty stinky smell.

You would not need a very sensitive nose to detect it. Go near your soil to sniff it, and you will be able to analyze it.

Related Article: Why Does Mulch Smell? The Best & Easiest Way to Fix It!

Wilting Plants

Plants can wilt for various reasons; however, look for wilting plants and other signs to identify your soil as anaerobic.

Yellow Leaves in Plants

When plants do not get enough oxygen, their leaves turn yellow.

It acts as a first sign that something is wrong with your soil.

Dropping of Leaves

Leaves are not only responsible for food production in a plant but also give off signs of health.

If the leaves of plants in a particular area are falling, it’s time to analyze the soil for being anaerobic.

Once you have identified your soil as anaerobic based on the above characteristics, get ready to act.

The task can seem difficult but fret not; follow this guide to learn how to fix anaerobic soil, and you will be able to get rid of the problem from its very root cause in no time.

Things Needed to Fix Anaerobic Soil

Before treating your anaerobic soil, you need to get your hands on a few things.

The list constitutes regular gardening items; you would not have to spend large amounts of cash treating your soil.

Please make sure you have all of the above things.

Gardening tools—how to fix anaerobic soil
How to fix anaerobic soil? Having the right equipment beforehand would help you a lot—Image via Nastya Kvokka.

How to Fix Anaerobic Soil? | The Methods

Once you have everything, start applying the following methods.

Method 1: Fixing Anaerobic Soil By Turning the Soil

Think about it; your soil gets anaerobic primarily due to a lack of oxygen.

  • When you turn the soil using a gardening trowel, you mix the atmosphere into the soil.
  • Think of it as beating your morning coffee.
  • You mix in the air to get that fresh and healthy cup of coffee.

Now do the very same for your soil.

Method 2: Amending Anaerobic Soil Through Barrier Layers

Soil is made up of many layers.

Usually, the clay layer causes water to get clogged, leading to anaerobic soil.

To solve the problem:

  • Gather your gardening towel and gently break the clay layer of your soil to allow air to pass through.
  • You can poke large holes in the soil to get the air to where it is needed though it would not look very aesthetically pleasing.

Now, let’s move to the following method.

Method 3: Reducing Water Supply to Fix Anaerobic Soil

As mentioned in the factors contributing to the anaerobic part of this article, water is a significant factor that causes soil to become anaerobic.

  • To treat the condition, reduce the frequency of watering your soil.
  • You may not need to water your soil if you live in a humid climate and experience frequent rainfall.

Remember, the key is always checking the soil—if it has dried—before watering rather than following a strict routine.

Method 4: Using Carbon to Fix Anaerobic Soil

How to fix anaerobic soil, you say?

  • To fix your soil, simply mix carbon supplements in it.
  • You can either buy a special carbon supplement or use burned wood or leaves.
  • Carbon is a wonderful substance that absorbs stinky odors and adds nutrition to the soil.

To make burned wood or leaves light up extra wood and leaves lying in your house, and that’s it.

Method 5: Use of Soil Amendments to Fix Anaerobic Soil

Soil amendments refer to practices used to improve soil quality.

  • In fixing anaerobic soil, use wood, ash, and leaves to allow oxygen to pass through.
  • To execute the method, gather your amendments and mix them in the soil.

You can buy them online or from your local garden shop.

Method 6: Redirecting Water to Fix Anaerobic Soil

This method is for you if you live in an area with a high water table or direct access to water.

  • Redirecting water will allow excess water to go to another water body leaving your soil in optimum condition.
  • Dig a trail; use a shovel to direct water to another body, i.e., a pond or a lake.

Before implementing this method, you must have some gardening skills up your sleeves as it is a technical task.

Person holding yellow trowel—how to fix anaerobic soil
How to fix anaerobic soil? Directing water away from your main soil area can prevent waterlogging—Image via Anaya Katlego.

The Best Method to Fix Anaerobic Soil

Fixing anaerobic soil is crucial; however, the best method depends on your time frame, budget, and gardening skills.

If you are someone who needs a quick fix, then our methods 1, 3, 4, and 5 can be the best for you.

If you have the budget and need a long-term solution, methods 2 and 6 are your best bet.

Always evaluate your demands before making any particular decision.


There is no denying that soil is one of the essential constituents that makes a healthy plant.

It is of utmost importance to examine the soil frequently. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with anaerobic soil, then this guide on how to fix anaerobic soil would be your best friend.

Choose one of the methods listed above, and you will be free of the problem in no time.

If you like this article, then leave a comment below; we would love to get back to you.

Happy planting!