Of all of the applications you make to your lawn; the addition of the correct amount of lime is one of the most important. Without knowledge of the pH of your soil you are not able to supply your lawn with the appropriate nutrition for the lawn. Lime, when use appropriately will slowly decrease the soil acidity and bring the pH to the desirable area of a pH of 6.2-7.0. Soils with a pH below 6.0 are considered acidic while soils with a pH above 7.0 are considered to be base or alkaline. In Maryland the pH for the cool weather tall fescue grasses is best in the 6.2-7.0 range. Any pH below 5.0 is generally too acidic for grasses to grow and thrive. Soils in heavily wooded areas nearly always have a high acid characteristic. Poor pH readings, low or high, will result in wasting of fertilizer as the micro-nutrients will not be utilized.
If your home is built in an area that was once heavily wooded and no new top soil was added you will have a difficult time succeeding in getting a good healthy lawn. The addition of lime when you seed will certainly help in the beginning lawn process. Combining lime and a heavy aeration will definitely help nearly all lawns. The lime and aeration will create an environment that will allow micro-nutrients to be released from the fertilizer and will promote healthy lawn growth. Micro nutrients are essential for a health lawn. The keys for a healthy, thick lawn: aeration, water, and fertilization.
Tips for fall liming, aeration and seeding:
- Apply lime when you apply seed. Lime needs to be applied at a rate of 40 pounds per 1000 square feet. When you start a new lawn, lime will help the process immensely.
- Double aerate, at cross angles. Pull plugs from the turf, 3"-4" in lenght, are best.
- Double aeration will result in nice pattern of new grass. Single aeration result in small tufts of grass.
- Leave the plugs alone as the plug will break apart.
- Do not collect the lawn clippings
- Do not use spiked shoes for aeration. The spike will compact the soil even further
- Seed at the recommended rate.
- Keep the grass seed moist, water daily to keep the grass seed from drying out.
- If you cannot do this yourself: call a lawn care professional. Contact BOG.
Mark Leahy is the President of Blades of Green lawn Care and Pest Control, a family owned lawn care and pest control company. Mark has concentrated his efforts in Central Maryland as well as Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mark has over 20 years experience in the Lawn and Pest Control Industries.