Like all lawn owners, we know you have spent a considerable amount of energy into seeing that your lawn is kept at its best.
But then you’ve begun to notice brown patches and yellow streaks. Could it be that the summer sun has dealt with your growing turf, or that you’re not watering enough? You begin to wonder if you fertilized correctly or if your lawn is suffering an attack from insect pests and diseases?
This is the story of most lawn owners. But could it be that the problem isn’t with your mowing, watering, weeding or fertilizing? And that perhaps what you need to do is check the pH level of the soil?
Soils with high acidity or pH levels of below six can be problematic. One trusted way towards rectifying this issue and restoring your lawn to its healthy and lush look is by applying lime to your lawn.
Here’s a video I made of me checking my pH levels with two different types of Rapitest pH testers by Luster Leaf:
Now if you find your pH is too low then that’s where Lime comes into play. Let’s go into the details.
What Is Lime
Lime is a soil correction formula derived from ground limestone. Its major composition is calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. These compounds work at ensuring that the soil acidity is reduced.
The primary purpose of the lime application is to reduce soil acidity. And so, as much of its primary compounds are essential to plant nutrients. The application of lime to the soil does not take the place of fertilizers.
Lime is of different types. All of which are hazardous and corrosive. The type of lime we have includes the following to mention but a few, agricultural, calcitic, slaked, dolomitic, etc. Most of the lime sold for application on lawns is dolomite lime.
Types of Soil Amendment Lime
As previously stated, several types of limes exist. Though, what is usually applied to lawns is pulverized and powdered limestone.
Testing your soil will help you detect the deficiency that needs to be corrected in your soil. Lime has a higher calcium content is often referred to as calcitic lime. They are known for increasing the soil’s calcium level.
Lime having a higher proportion of magnesium, is referred to as dolomitic lime. It has the benefit of adding magnesium to the soil. Depending on what your soil lacks, a soil test might just be the way to go.
Reasons Why You Should Apply Lime
Lime serves many purposes to your lawn’s overall health, some of which include:
#1. Correcting The Soil pH
Though pH preferences differ based on region, Normal soil pH ranges from 5.8 – 7.2, which is slightly acidic. Anything less than that is highly acidic and detrimental to your lawn’s health.
Although warm-season grasses can tolerate lower pH levels, cool-season grasses know the other hand thrives better within higher pH levels. Acidic soils inhibit the absorption of fertilizers as well as other necessary nutrients needed for your turf growth.
Applying lime to your lawn alters soil acidity caused by fertilization of the lawn and brings it back to the balance needed for optimum growth.
#2. Increases the Absorption of Herbicides, Essential Nutrients and Fertilizers
Applying fertilizers to the soil increases its acidity, and when the soil pH is acidic, plants find it hard to absorb both the fertilizer as well as the essential nutrients needed for their growth.
#3. Lime Removes Toxins from the Soil
Yellow streaks, dull-colored grasses, brown patches at times can signify that your soil needs correction. Adding lime to the soil helps to remove toxins from the soil. It also contributes necessary plant nutrients such as calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
The effect this has on your lawn is that regular turf grass issues end up being resolved, leading to a healthier lawn consequently.
#4. Provides Essential Nutrients Needed For Growth
As have been previously stated, lime is composed of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
These compounds keep your grasses growing and ensure they are resilient enough to withstand atmospheric changes such as excessive rainfall or snow. These compounds also help the grass turf pull through drought and extreme temperatures.
#5. Helps in Thatch Decomposition
Excess thatch build-up can be problematic to the growth of your turf grass. As such, you need to ensure that thatch remains within the acceptable range.
Applying lime to the soil helps in decomposing old roots and clippings that make up thatch. This invariably leads to the absorption of nutrients and fertilizers and, eventually, a beautiful verdant lawn.
#6. Sparse Grass Growth
Sparseness in your lawn can result from a lack of nutrients. An acidic pH level and a slow-acting fertilizer might not produce the immediate results you desire.
Applying lime to your lawn can help reduce the high acidity level while at the same time help grow a vigorously growing and dense field.
How to Know When Your Lawn Needs Lime
This might seem a little too obvious, but you’ll need to add lime to your soil when you need to restore an overly acidic pH level.
One way to identify this is when you begin to notice insect pests or the growth of lawn weeds in your yard, as most weeds thrive better on acidic soils. Also, if you notice lawn moss in your yard, this could be an indicator that your soil pH level has dropped.
Another sign indicating that you might need to apply lime to your soil is when you begin to notice that the effectiveness after applying fertilizers have dropped. When this happens, your turf grasses don’t respond the way they normally would after fertilization.
You might also need to lime your soil when you notice discoloration, patches, or poor growth. All these and more are reasons to consider applying lime to your soil.
The best way though to determine if lime should be added to the soil is not to assume the pH level based on these signs. It’s always better to test the soil for a more accurate result.
What Causes Changes In pH level
Soil pH level changes for several reasons. One of such is the application of lime. Also, in places with heavy rainfall, calcium loss usually occurs as a result of leaching. Over time, this leads to an increase in soil acidity.
The reverse is the case for areas with little rainfall since leaching doesn’t occur; the soil alkalinity tends to rise over time. Locations with heavy rainfall will need regular lime applications.
Routine lawn maintenance procedures also reduce soil pH levels. Activities such as fertilization and irrigation cause soil to become more acidic over time.
What Season Is Best For Lime Application
You can decide to apply lime at any time you wish. But as we know, summer and winter are not very favorable for most farming operations. That makes spring and fall the ideal season for liming your lawn. It’s also best to lime your soil after aeration; this allows for deeper reach.
When next you notice brown patches or yellow steaks, make sure you test your soil. Although liming your lawn shouldn’t be a regular lawn maintenance procedure, you should probably consider adding lime to your soil if you keep getting less than your desired result. That can make all the difference once done rightly.