When we talk about adding lime to your lawn we’re not talking about that little green fruit, we’re talking about Limestone!
Limestone, or calcium carbonate is a mineral that is used to raise the pH of soil. Measurement of pH is done on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral; below 7 it acidic and above 7 is alkaline.
Many things can affect the pH of a soil but one of the most common things is the parent material or bedrock from which the soil is derived. Here in the North Shore area, our parent material is typically granite. When granite breaks down, it results in an acidic soil.
Other things that can impact the pH include both the clay and organic matter content of your soil, the application of fertilizers, and even the consistent removal of grass clippings from your lawn.
What's So Important About pH?
Plants require certain nutrients in order to be healthy and grow well. The big three are the macronutrients found in most fertilizers – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. There are also many micronutrients that plants require but in much smaller quantities.
The pH of the soil can impact the availability of both the macro- and micro- nutrients. A low pH may make some nutrients less available and other too available. Both conditions are a detriment to plant health. One leads to decreased growth due to lack of nutrition and the other can lead to poor health or death due to toxicity.
Think of it this way, when the soil is at a neutral pH level, the root system has the ability to absorb more water and nutrients that it needs to stay healthy. When the roots don’t get these nutrients, the lawn is less healthy and unable to fight off things like heat stress and disease.
How Often Should I Lime?
The optimal pH for most lawns is between 5.5 and 7.0. Within this range, both macro and micronutrients are readily available to the plant so that growth can be optimized.
Soil testing is a simple way to determine if you need to add lime but being in the Boston area there is very little chance that your lawn has a pH above 7.0 meaning that your soil is probably on the acidic side. Based on these factors it would be beneficial to apply lime to your lawn at least once a season.
Can I Lime My Lawn Myself?
The short answer is, yes! However, there are many lime products out there for all soil types so it’s best to consult a lawn care professional who can determine the type of lime to use, what times to lime, the amount of lime to apply, and if any other soil amendments would benefit your lawn.
Your local lawn care company typically will offer lime as part of a lawn care package. Managing the pH of your lawn is one of the most basic and most important things a lawn care company can do.
Get More Info From The Pros!
Looking for more information on limestone applications or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!