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Should I Add Lime to My Lawn?

While the Garden State's moniker suggests blossoming beds of color and lush, verdant lawns, we can't celebrate our flowery pride without a little effort and some attention to detail in our lawn maintenance. One of those key details is the low pH level that is commonly associated with soil in the Northeast.

Adding lime to balance the pH is one of the best remedies a homeowner can employ with regard to lawn care. Stabilizing the acidity/alkalinity with lime--when done right--can restore a lawn's vitality and create savings in water application and fertilization.

A simple visual inspection of a lawn is often the first step toward deciding if a lime application is necessary. Discoloration, patches, poor growth, and weeds may all be indicators of a lawn that might need lime treatment. But the best way of knowing that it's time to lime a yard is to perform a soil analysis to determine the soil's pH level.

The pH balance of our yard is one of the easily overlooked facets to maintaining a healthy matrix not only for lawn care but other garden plants as well. A whole host of environmental factors from pollution to pesticides and type of dirt affect the pH balance of yard soil. While most lawns in New Jersey are naturally acidic, lawn care professionals recommend performing a soil analysis before committing to a lime treatment. Most home improvement stores and nurseries sell the kits or even offer the service. Contacting your local agricultural extension service can also be a source for finding an analysis option before adding lime haphazardly to a yard.

If a soil analysis shows your lawn to be below the recommended 6.5 to 7 pH level, then it's time to lime your lawn or hire a professional lawn care company who has the tools and experience to properly apply the product.

Lime is simply ground limestone. It is the end result of millions of years of organic remains such as mollusks and coral forming into sedimentary rock. By applying eons of organic decay to our yards, we introduce a bounty of nutrients that help lawn grass and other plants absorb such as calcium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, molybdenum, and sulfur.

While it's hard to over-lime a yard, adding too little lime will not get the job done. It's still advisable to consult with an ag service or a professional landscaper to determine how many pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet is recommended. Following simple lawn care recommendations from the Internet works too. There are abundant videos and posts detailing lime application as it pertains to lawn maintenance.

Regardless, the rule of thumb dosage is to apply 40 - 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet using a broadcast spreader or whatever means you have available. However, different soil types require varying amounts of amendment. Sandy soil requires much less lime than dense clay. Plus, mildly acidic soil (like 5.5 pH) will not need as much lime as a soil testing at a 4.5 pH or even lower.

You will not see immediate results from liming. It takes a few months for the lime to integrate into the lawn soil and become a blend of well-balanced nutrients. You may not even see results in the first growing season. Be patient with this.

Likewise, a single treatment is not a cure. Consistent and measured lime application throughout a lawn's lifetime will ensure a healthy and vibrant outdoor space for years to enjoy and will also lessen the urge to add unneeded fertilizer which can runoff into nearby water sources.

If you are looking for help maintaining your lawn in Somerset, NJ, feel free to call Got A Guy at 732-505-8077.

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