Tuesday, April 19, 2011
We hear talk about limestone application to lawn areas, but why is this a necessary step in proper lawn care? The importance of lime applications will vary based on the area of the country you live in and your local soil conditions.
As a healthy body needs proper nutrition, including ingredients from the food pyramid, soils need a proper balance to grow plants. For optimum growth there needs to be the presence of certain nutrients, minerals, water, air and organic matter.
The soil pH is also another critical factor. What is pH? The pH range defines the relative acidity or alkalinity of soil. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Levels below 7 are acidic and levels above 7 are alkaline. The key to properly balanced soil is a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. If the pH is not in this range, nutrients tend to become insoluble or “tied-up” in the soil. Applications of fertilizers on low or high pH soils are only partially utilized.
If you are not sure of your pH, a Jonathan Green Soil pH Test Kit, available from your local dealer, can be helpful. Your local extension office also can perform soil testing which provides greater detail of your soil quality. Proper pH levels increase soil microbial activity, which aids in thatch reduction. Proper soil pH also improves the effectiveness of weed controls.
If you have determined that your pH is too low; this is where limestone applications come into play. Jonathan Green offers MAG-I-CAL, which is an enhanced palletized calcium fertilizer. Limestone is a source of calcium, which will raise the soil pH. If you have not applied lime in a few years and have been applying fertilizers regularly, your pH value will start to decrease. Also, acid rain can lower soil pH values in an area. Sometimes correcting a very low pH value will take 1-2 years with multiple applications of MAG-I-CAL.
There are several forms of mined limestone available on the market. Pulverized limestone has a consistency like flour. It is very dusty and very difficult to spread in rotary-type spreaders. Do not try to spread pulverized lime on a windy day; it will end up down the street on your neighbors yard! Pulverized lime reacts with the soil quickly since it is ground so finely. Granular lime has a consistency like sugar. This type of lime cuts down on some of the dust, but still proves to be difficult to spread in a rotary-type spreader. Granular lime takes a little longer than pulverized lime to break down and change the soil pH. MAG-I-CAL is a pelletized limestone that is easy to spread and handle since it looks like round fertilizer pellets. The dust factor is almost non-existent making this a desirable way to apply it to your lawn. MAG-I-CAL breaks down right away and starts working in the soil after it gets wet.
Limestone can be used to control moss in turf grass. Moss prefers a pH below 6. The lime will help to raise the pH and this will eventually reduce the moss activity in the area once the pH reaches 6.5 or above.Back