To Lime or Not to Lime, That is the Question
One of the most important reasons to consider adding lime to your lawn is that pH level can help or hinder the soil's aptitude for receiving nutrition. In other words, if your pH is not balanced, you can add fertilizer until the end of time and keep on puzzling at the weak root growth and rotten cool weather hardiness of your grass. Armed with an arsenal of tips and tricks for lime application, you will give both newly established and firmly developed lawn landscapes the perfect mix of sweet and sour, acid and alkaline.
Benefits of Lime Application
- Sweetens your soil by raising pH.
- Preps lawn for absorption of nutrients from fertilizer.
- Encourages greater viability rates in seed germination.
- Builds a healthy system to combat disease, weeds, fungus and insects.
- Helps develop a lush perennial lawn that can withstand cold winter weather.
Sweet vs. Sour / Acidic vs. Alkaline
The true definition of "pH" is widely debated in academic, horticultural and mathematical communities. Fundamentally, pH measures the activity levels of hydrogen ions in a substance; hence, by stabbing a gauge into various calibration points around the perimeter of your lawn, you will be able to determine the general acidity level of your landscape. However, as some of these sophisticated instruments are often heavy on the pocketbook and then left to gather dust in the tool shed, Strange's offers free pH testing in the Garden Center. Simply bring in a full sandwich bag from the areas of your yard that you would like tested and we will measure the levels for free! Our knowledgeable staff of Virginia Certified Horticulturists is also highly qualified to recommend amendments and simple liming techniques that are quick and easy to do all by yourself.
Scratching the Surface
Although the idea of tilling your entire yard might sound like an extremely daunting task, in some severe cases, it is necessary. Especially if your soil is compacted clay or pebbly rock, it is important to break up the top layer to improve successful lime uptake, fertilizer absorption and seed germination. Hiring a green thumb crew to aerate the space prior to beginning your fall lawn care plan will facilitate this process to break down nearly fossilized structures in your soil system and clear a new path for fresh growth. Once you have turned the surface of your new plot, you can use a broadcast spreader to apply lime, then fertilizer and seed.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Lime is easily spread and sticks to clumps of tilled soil when in pellet form; however, it is most quickly absorbed when sprinkled over the soil as a powder. The decision to apply lime in pellet or powder form is yours, but always be aware that over-applying lime can cause your lawn to become too alkaline. An overly sweet system can give an unnecessary steroid boost to immature young growth, which is counterproductive to the ultimate goal of a perennial lush and green lawn. It is ultimately very hard to over-apply lime, unless your front yard ends up looking like the middle of winter after a fresh snowfall. An abundance of any amendment can suffocate the young system before it even has a chance to become established. It is best to remember you can always add more, but it's nearly impossible to remove lime once applied.
Going the Green Distance
The key to unlocking a lush and green lawn is not hidden beneath a compacted surface of orange clay or pebbly stone. Most folks don’t realize the added value of lime application; spreading fertilizer and seed with lime increases the soil's ability to soak in nutrients and absorb grass starter roots. Putting in a little extra cash on a bag of lime is definitely a smart choice, as it encourages the time, money and energy spent on buckets of seed and fertilizer to go farther as well!