What is lime and does my yard need it? Lime is to a yard, what oil is to an engine. Without it, the yard can not efficiently run. Lime is calcium and magnesium. We use lime to raise the pH of our soil closer to neutral. By doing this you are allowing your grass to absorb available nutrients that grass could not absorb when the soil was acidic.
Have you ever put down fertilizer and it just didn't seem to work as well as it used to? When was the last time you put down lime? Here in Atlanta where the soil is so acidic, it is recommended that you put down lime in the spring and fall. It can takes lime up to 3 months to adjust the soil pH to proper levels.
Where lime is important to many turf grasses, there are some grasses and plants that thrive is acidic soil. Centipede grass and St. Augustine grasses do not need lime and most shrubs prefer acidic soils. Vegetable gardens however, demand a pH of 6 to 6.8. Tomatoes and many other vegetables can develop a calcium deficiency known as Blossom End Rot if there is not enough lime present.
Holly bushes, Azaleas, Camellias and many other bushes all prefer acidic soil. Holly and azalea fertilizers have sulfur in them to help make the soil more acidic. Here in Atlanta, we put one 40lb bag of lime down per 1000 to 2000 square foot over our Bermuda, Fescue and Zoysia lawns but we do not lime our bushes.
Much of the US does not share the same deficiency that we do in Georgia. A soil test through your county extension service will determine best if lime is even necessary for your lawn.
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I live in northwest Indiana, why would I need lime?
Unfortunately, down here in Atlanta, we have very acidic Georgia clay. Where you live all you have to do is plow and plant, where as we have to amend the soil with lime to fix the pH and add manure to enrich the soil. Almost every state has its issues but fortunately yours is known for its problem free agriculture. You would probably not need lime, for your live in one of the most soil rich regions in the US.