Lime and Soil Health
You’ve probably heard about lime being applied to a lawn and wonder why you would need it and what lime is.
What Exactly is Lime?
Lime is available in a variety of forms from liquid to oyster shells to agricultural limestone applied as a soil amendment.
Agricultural limestone comes in two varieties:
- Dolomitic Limestone
- Calcitic Limestone
Dolomitic contains magnesium and calcium carbonate, two beneficial nutrients. Calcitic does not contain magnesium which is helpful if your ground is already high in magnesium.
A Background on Soil Toxicity
Lime also reduces soil toxicity while boosting the management of nutrients such as zinc, copper, and especially phosphorous. Your soil pH should be kept in range for optimal turf growth.
PH measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity and it is measured on a scale of 0-14. The optimal pH for your Pittsburgh lawn is 6.5 to 7 which is in the middle or just a little on the acidic side.
Lime is added to soil if it is too acidic and the pH needs to be raised. The more clay and organic material in your soil the more lime you will need to increase you pH. Soil with a high concentration of sand will require less lime.
Why Do Lawns Require Lime?
Soil becomes acidic naturally and from human interaction. The pH of most soils is controlled by the amount of rainfall. In humid areas, such as the northeastern United States, rainfall works through the soil, filtering ions such as calcium and magnesium which prevent the soil from becoming more acidic and replacing them with acidic ions such as hydrogen and aluminum. Nature also creates processes that increase soil acidity including root growth and decay of organic matter by soil microorganisms.
People also initiate activities that increase soil acidity including fertilization with ammonium-containing fertilizers and pollution of industrial by-products such as sulfur dioxide and nitric acid which enter the soil from acid rain. Most of the time these changes people cause occur very slowly, whether they are caused by natural processes or human activities. This is the result of the amazing buffering capacity of most mineral soils!
Our Soil pH and Lime Treatment Process
When necessary, Dream Greener’s service professionals will recommend the application of lime to adjust the pH level of your soil.
Adding lime improves the quality of the soil and helps nutrients become available to the plant. A neutral PH allows worms and microbes to thrive, organic matter to breakdown and fosters a healthy soil environment.
Beneficial soil microorganisms don’t thrive in high acid soils. Some of these microorganisms break-down specific nitrogen fertilizers, which releases the nitrogen for use by the grass. Fertilizers containing nitrogen from urea-form, sulfur-coated urea, or natural organic sources are not effective unless certain microorganisms are present in acceptable quantities.
Soil microorganisms also help with the decomposition of thatch and grass clippings. Thatch is that dense accumulation of organic material on the soil surface beneath the grass. Thatch prevents movement of air, water, nutrients, and pesticides into the soil. Soil pH in the correct range of 6.0 to 7.0 increases microbial activity and helps reduce thatch.
When PH balance is achieved your lawn improves its ability to absorb the nutrients which promote a healthy lawn. It’s our pleasure to monitor and maintain your turf health.