How to Tell if You Need to Lime
While most people’s lawns and gardens can benefit from liming, not everyone needs to lime. The best way to determine if you need to lime your lawn or garden, is to do a soil pH test, although there are some hints that can be indicators of a low soil pH.
Signs You Need to Lime
One sign of a low soil pH is the presence of excess moss and weeds in your garden or lawn. Moss and weeds are acid loving plants and do best in acidic soil. Though not a guaranteed indicator, an excess of moss and weeds is a good sign that you should raise soil pH. Another sign that you need to raise soil pH is when fertilizer doesn’t seem to be doing its job. Acidic soil prevents fertilizer from functioning properly, so no matter how much fertilizer you apply, you will see little to no results.
Types of Soil
Aside from tell-tale signs of a low pH, knowing what type of soil you have can also help you decide if liming is right for you. Often in coastal areas, soil is much more sandy. Sandy soils don’t “hold” their pH very well, and Calcium leaches out much more easily, leaving soil acidic. Because calcium leaches out so easily, sandy soils typically require a higher frequency of lime applications throughout the year. Conversely, clay soils “hold” their pH longer, resisting change. So in the case of liming a clay soil, it takes a higher quantity of lime to neutralize the soil pH, but once the pH is neutralized, it stays that way longer, requiring less frequent lime applications. In addition to soil type, regional areas that see a lot of rain fall, particularly areas with acid rain, on average have more acidic soils, and should be corrected with regular lime applications.
Lastly, if you haven’t limed your lawn or garden in the past year, chances are you should. Over time, on its own, soil naturally becomes acidic because of rainfall and organic matter decomposing within the soil. This cycle is natural, but leaves soil acidic, and in need of a pH correction.
Do a Soil Test!
While all of the above are good indicators that you should raise soil pH, the best way to tell if you need to raise soil pH is to do a soil test. You can buy an at-home soil pH tester from your local garden supply store, or bring a sample of your soil in to your local garden center and have them test it for you. Most plants prefer a neutral soil, and will do best at a pH between 6.2-7.0. Soil pH lower than this should be corrected with lime.
Once you have determined that your soil pH needs to be raised, you can ask your local garden supply store to point you in the direction of the lime products. Ask for Encap’s Fast Acting Lime for an easy to use, fast acting, high quality lime.