An important factor in plant growth is the soil acidity level. This is measured in terms of a pH scale which is graduated from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Any number below 7.0 is considered acid with 5.0 being more acid than 6.0. Any number above 7.0 is considered basic with 9.0 being more basic than 8.0. Most turfgrasses, with the exception of centipedegrass and carpetgrass, grow best at a pH of 6.0-6.5. Centipedegrass and carpetgrass grown best at a pH of 4.5- 5.5. A pH either too low to too high will reduce the availability of plant nutrients. Therefore, it is very important that a proper pH be maintained.
Turfgrasses need to grow in soil that is slightly acid in order to thrive. In most parts of the state, the soil is more acid than grass prefers. Garden lime neutralizes acidity and should be applied when needed. It is never the wrong time to lime your lawn but how much lime should you apply?
• Forty pounds per 1000 square feet of lawn area is approximately enough but a soil test (contact your county Extension service) will tell you exactly how much you need. Adding too much or too little lime can harm your lawn in the long run. Don’t guess – soil test!
Garden lime can be purchased in bags in two forms: powdered or pelletized.
• Neither form is inherently better.
• Pelletized lime flows through a lawn spreader more easily.
• Powdered lime is slightly less expensive.
Q: Can I put down lime when I spread fertilizer on my lawn?
A: Yes. As long as the turf is dry, the particles of either one will not stick to grass blades. They will simply fall to the ground and will start their good work as soon as it rains.