Want a great lawn in the spring? It starts now, in the fall, when caring for the lawn can provide long lasting benefits. As most plant lovers know, proper care including providing supplemental nutrients can turn an average lawn into a brighter green beauty, sure to catch the eyes of the neighborhood. Along with fertilizers, lime is a great benefit to many lawns.
What is Lime?
Lime, in the sense of applying it to a lawn, is pulverized limestone or chalk. Generally speaking, the main component is calcium carbonate. The lesser expensive option for applying lime is by using, pulverized lime. This option can be powdery and messy to apply, often causing lime dust to blow everywhere. Pelletized lime may be more expensive but is made into dust-free pellets which dissolve with subsequent rains or irrigation. This option also allows the person broadcasting to clearly see where the product is being dispersed and have easier control. Both options benefit the lawn and the benefits can be weighed between the need for cost effectiveness and ease of use.
You may need to add lime to your soil if a soil test indicates a pH level below the optimum of 6.0 or 7.0. Soil pH is a measure of a soils alkalinity or acidity. A soil is acidic, or “sour,” if it has a pH below 7.0 (neutral). Soil testing can be done on one’s own or by a professional company. If an individual takes the sample, the samples can be sent to a variety of organizations, from lawn specialty companies to universities or agricultural centers.
Soils can be naturally acidic but can also be acidified over time by natural leaching, the use of some nitrogen based fertilizers, excessive rainfall or irrigation, and acidic water sources. A lot of these environmental factors vary from home to home, and a soil sample test is really the only way to determine the true level of pH of the lawn in question.
A pH below 6.0 causes important plant growth nutrients to become “bound up” in the soil making them unavailable to the plant. As a result, the turf can decline including a loss of color, reduced vigor, and diminished ability to recover from heat and drought stress.
How Much Lime is Necessary?
Soil tests will indicate the amount of pure calcium carbonate to apply in pounds per thousand square feet. Match the needs of the soil test to the amount of pure calcium carbonate indicated on the bag and apply with a lawn spreader. Results of liming are slow to take affect several applications to get the pH to where it needs to be. If doing a lime application on one’s own, always follow manufacturer guidelines provided on the label and read all warning and caution messages carefully.
When Can Lime be Applied?
Lime can be applied to a lawn any time of year. It is often done during spring or fall when lawn stresses are minimal and more time is usually available. Ideally, applying lime this fall would provide faster “green up” in the spring.
Call Aspen Corporation today for a complimentary soil test and recommendation on your lawn’s pH needs this fall. A “greener” spring is just around the corner!