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Tarheel Turf Tips
Why Do I Need Lime for My Lawn?
It doesn’t matter if you are a DIYer, if you have a professional to take care of your lawn, or if you are considering hiring a professional to take care of it with a lawn care program. You should be asking, do I need Lime for my lawn? Why?
The answer depends on your soil’s pH levels and what minerals are present and lacking in your soil to get the best results out of your grass and plants. If you are wondering how to figure out your soil pH levels, you need a soil test which can be purchased by clicking on the link or hiring a professional to come out and do it for you. When your soil has a high pH level, it can prevent certain essential minerals that your grass and plants need from existing in your soil. Acidic soil can cause your lawn to die and prevent growth as well.
Low pH, high acidity soil is not a one-time application, and your home is free. There are several factors that can affect your soil’s pH level. A few of these factors include rain, leaves, and the composition of your soil. Soils that are mostly clay tend to be more acidic. Lawns with lots of leaves that are not removed will also become more acidic and prevent growth. Also, the rain will raise the acidic level of your soil, and the more it rains, the more it can affect the balance.
What Does Lime do?
Lime is a granular or powder application that lowers the acidity level and raises the pH to give your lawn and plants the best chance for growth.
There are two types of Lime you can use, agricultural Lime, and dolomite lime. Both of them contain calcium, but dolomite lime also contains magnesium. These two minerals are important to the soil, but the primary purpose of Lime is to raise the pH level lowering acidity. Most plants prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If the soil balance moves too far in either direction, 6.5+ (alkaline) or below 5.5 (acidic), it prevents plants from absorbing the nutrients in the soil. This becomes visually evident with pale leaves, stunted growth, and death.
How Much Lime?
That depends on the initial pH and the consistency of the soil. Over time you can figure it out without a soil test using trial and error, but the quickest way to find out your lawn’s pH level is a soil test kit. Keep in mind the soil test kit doesn’t consider the consistency of your soil. The results of your soil test will most likely come back with specific recommendations tailored to your soil and what it needs. It takes approximately between 20 and 50 lbs of Lime per 1000 sq ft to raise the pH level of a mildly acidic lawn to within the acceptable range of 5.5 to 7.5 for most lawns.
When and How?
It can take between 2 and 4 weeks after application to see a measurable difference in the soil’s pH level and much longer for the Lime to fully dissolve into the soil and fully affect the pH balance.
There is no specific time that you must apply Lime to the lawn. Most professionals recommend January giving the Lime a few months to dissolve and improve the soil before your spring growth. If you are going to apply in the fall, it is probably best to blow/remove any leaves giving the Lime a higher yield.
When applying Lime to your lawn, spread it evenly over your lawn using a broadcast spreader. See your spreaders manual for the best settings. If you have the ability to loosen the soil before application, it can improve your results.
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