If you're looking for a greener, healthier lawn, an application of lime could be the answer. By applying lime to your lawn, you'll improve your soil, make more nutrients available to your grass and increase the effectiveness of a fertilizer treatment in the fall.
Your soil's pH level is very important to the health of your lawn. pH is a measurement of the acidic or alkaline level of the soil and a level between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal for turf grass.
Lawns will naturally leach base nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium from the soil over time. The loss of these nutrients will cause the soil's pH level to drop as it becomes more acidic. In seasons of heavy rainfall, this problem becomes even more severe.
Another reason your lawn's pH level may be too low is due to nitrogen based fertilizers. While lawn fertilizers provide many important nutrients to your lawn, they often contain high levels of nitrogen which will make your soil more acidic.
When your soil's pH drops below 6.0 (making it acidic), fewer nutrients become available to your lawn. This can adversely affect your lawn's color, vigor and ability to recover from heat, drought and heavy traffic. By adding an application of lime, you can raise the pH level of your soil and increase the availability of these nutrients.
The only way to determine if your lawn would benefit from liming is through a soil test. Estabrook's offers several different at-home kits that will provide you with a general idea of your pH levels. For more accurate results, a state or commercial soil testing facility can be used. These detailed reports will break down exactly home much lime should be applied for optimal soil conditions.
While a detailed soil report will tell you exactly how lime to apply, a good rule of thumb is one bag for every 1,000 square feet.
Applications of lime should only be done when a soil test necessitates it. While a pH level under 6.0 can do damage to your lawn, a pH level over 7.0 (creating alkaline soil) can also cause damage. Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron will become less available and your grass will become less vigorous.
A careful balance between treatments of fertilizer and lime will go a long way towards a fantastic lawn.