In many parts of the country, liming lawns is just as essential as mowing. Without lime, your lawn may not be able to benefit from the nutrients in your soil, including those you add through fertilizers. By understanding how lime helps your lawn and why you may need lime, you can help your lawn reach its full potential.The following questions and answers in this lime for lawns post will help guide you through the process, so you can be confident to get the best results for your lawn:
Lime is a soil amendment made from ground limestone, which naturally contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. When lime is added to the soil, these compounds work to increase the pH of the soil, making the soil less acidic and more alkaline. Although lime contains calcium and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for healthy plant growth, it is not a substitute for fertilizers. Lime’s main function is to alter soil pH and offset soil acidity, which can improve nutrient availability to plants.
Lawns need lime when low soil pH begins to inhibit nutrient availability. Soil pH preferences vary among regional grasses, but most grasses prefer soil pH between 5.8 and 7.2. Warm-season grasses tolerate a slightly lower pH, while cool-season grasses prefer a slightly higher pH. 1.2 When within preferred pH ranges, the nutrients turf grasses need most, including added nitrogen from turf fertilizers, remain available for use. When the pH drifts too far in either direction, even abundant nutrients are restricted. Lime restores balance in soils that are too acidic to return the pH to optimal levels for growth.
When the soil becomes too acidic, lawns struggle and plants that thrive in acid soil take their place. For example, the presence of lawn moss indicates that the soil pH has become too low for strong, healthy grass growth. Other warning signs include increases in common lawn weeds, disease, and insect infestations. Many weeds prefer acidic soil, and low soil pH can inhibit the effectiveness of some herbicides and insecticides. When the soil is too acidic, you’ll also notice that grasses don’t respond to quality lawn fertilizers with the lush, healthy growth you normally expect.
Soil tests provide an accurate measure of your soil’s current pH level and other factors, such as soil type, that affect how much lime or other soil amendments you may need. Without soil samples, you can’t accurately judge the needs of your lawn. Applying lime when it is not necessary or applying too much can damage the lawn instead of helping it. If your soil is too acidic, you should retest every year until the proper balance is restored. Established lawns should be tested every three to four years. You can turn to a university in your region or a soil management company that can help you with information and test kits.
Soil pH changes for many reasons, including lime or other products you add. In areas with heavy rainfall, calcium naturally leaches out as rainwater passes through the soil. Calcium loss means soil pH drops and soils become acidic over time. In these regions, lime is generally a necessity for a healthy lawn. In areas with very little rainfall, the calcium does not leach out and the lawn can become too alkaline. Proper lawn maintenance also naturally lowers soil pH over time. Regular fertilization, adequate watering and increased activity of beneficial soil microorganisms contribute to the gradual and normal drop in soil pH.
Fall and spring are generally the best times to lime your lawn. Fall has an added bonus, like rain, snow, and freeze-thaw cycles help the lime break down and get to work. Traditional lime can take many months to change soil pH significantly. With the added benefit of advanced soil technology, this high-quality, fast-acting lime maximizes nutrient availability to benefit your lawn in any season.
Soil test results will include the amount of lime your lawn needs, based on soil type and current pH. Follow those recommendations closely, as acceptable amounts can vary significantly based on soil type. For example, clay soil needs much more lime than sandy soil to achieve the same results.
Water your lawn when you’re done, so the fast-acting lime can get to work. Plants like azaleas and blueberries prefer acidic soil, so avoid liming near these acid-loving plants.
By liming your lawn when needed, you help ensure your lawn gets the nutrients and benefits it needs for lush, healthy, and beautiful growth.
Hi my name’s Jessica Anderson, blogger, gardener, mom and wife. Discover my world and the love and passion I have for life. Find out what I have discovered and maybe it might just help enrich your life somehow.Click to read on