Everyone is looking for a “leg up” on their neighbors when it comes to the best looking lawn. But sometimes you have to go beyond fertilizer and proper watering to get that lush green turf you want. Turf grass is actually quite sensitive when it comes to soil conditions. There has to be an appropriate balance of organic matter, minerals and pH (acidity). If you are having a high school chemistry back flash don’t panic, we’ll keep it simple! pH is simply the measure of how acidic something is on a scale of 1-14. The lower the number the more acidic, higher the number less acidic (more alkaline). Stomach Acid pH=1, Dill Pickles pH=5, Chocolate Milk pH=7, Antacid Tablets pH=11 … you get the idea.
Turf grasses want a pH between 6 and 7, outside of that range weed control products may not work properly, fertilizer might not be absorbed or used and turf is generally stressed out. There are several things that contribute to an acidic lawn: natural breakdown of leaves and dead grass, some fertilizers and rain water being the prime culprits. But there is no need to panic, there is a straightforward solution for an overly acidic lawn… lime.
Lime is simply ground and processed limestone. Ground limestone comes in several forms, but if you are a DIYer be sure to purchase lime designed for turf grass. It will be in a form most beneficial to soil. Now, before you go dumping bags of lime on your turf you need to know what the pH is and how much lime you should use. All you need is a soil analysis. To get your soil analyzed you just need a sample of your soil (small amounts taken from several different locations around your lawn). You can find labs in your area that test soil or contact your local extension office. Sometimes the reports you get back are a little in-depth, but they should all include the pH and lime recommendations.
If you are still stuck in that high school chemistry flash back, feel free to contact us and we will help you! If you would like a soil analysis or more information about lime, please contact our office, we’ll be happy to help!