A lush, green lawn enhances curb appeal and gives a professional first impression for any commercial property, apartment community, HOA, or business park. It is often a common belief that fertilizer equals a green landscape. Typically, an annual landscape maintenance contract has 2-3 fertilizer applications. Yet, this does not ensure a lush, inviting landscape. Even with these applications, you may need additional services like liming. Here are some of the benefits of lime for commercial landscapes in Northern Virginia.
With all of those supplemental nutrients, it’s hard to imagine a lawn could still turn out thin and riddled with weeds. If despite your best efforts, your property’s turf is in an overall state of decline, you may need to do a little digging to get to the root of the issue—seriously, look below the surface! It may be time to lime.
Lime application is a widely overlooked service in annual maintenance contracts but could be the answer to all of your lawn’s problems. So what does lime do and why is it important?
To really answer that question, we have to lay the foundation by talking about basic soil chemistry. Nutrient availability is largely determined by the pH of the soil. pH is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance—in this case, the soil in the root zone of the turf.
Here are Some Landscape Soil pH Basics:
- pH ranges from 1-14 with 1 being extremely acidic, 14 being extremely alkaline, and 7 being neutral
- When pH strays to one extreme or the other, nutrients cannot be absorbed because they are being tightly held by the soil thereby being unavailable to the turf root mass
- Lawns prefer a relatively neutral soil (pH 6.5 – 7.2)
- pH changes as a result of fertilizer applications and rain and tends to become more acidic with time
- Adding lime to soil raises the pH back to a more neutral range and frees up tightly held nutrients for root absorption
Signs Your Commercial Landscape Needs Lime
Weeds prefer more acidic soils and will thrive in a lower pH. If your lawn’s pH levels become acidic, you could be unintentionally inviting unwanted moss and turf weeds.
As weeds grow stronger, the turf starts to shows signs of stress.
When this happens, the turf eventually becomes discolored and thin from lack of available nutrients. Adding lime to your commercial landscape will help relieve that stress and weakness for the plant.
What is Lawn Lime?
Lime is a soil conditioner made from limestone, which is high in Calcium. It is typically ground into a powder or pellet consistency and applied to the surface of a lawn. Lime is an additive that raises the pH of the soil. This makes essential nutrients available to turf roots.
Even when nutrients are plentiful in the soil, they cannot be absorbed if the pH is not in the optimal range (6.5-7.2). Lime helps to remedy this issue by restoring the pH balance and therefore makes the applied fertilizer seasonally useful again.
How Much Lime Do You Need?
This question can only be answered with a soil test. Soil tests show the current state of the soil including pH levels, nutrient content, texture, and more. When a soil test is performed by a reputable lab, it explains the soil’s current state.
The soil test also makes recommendations on how to bring the soil back into optimal range, avoiding high levels in the future. This is a great tool in helping build the right turf care program for your landscape. Since soil pH can change over time, it is recommended that your landscape contractor tests the soil every 3 years.
When Should You Apply Lime?
Lime can be applied at any time of the year. However, a good practice is to apply lime in conjunction with aeration and overseeding in the fall. Aeration is the process of loosening the soil by removing small “plugs.”
When lime is applied at the same time as these other services, there is a greater surface area of soil exposed. Which, in return, helps to accelerate the effectiveness of the lime. Fall rains and winter snows also help the lime settle into the soil and break down.
See the benefits of lime for your commercial landscape—contact Complete Landscaping Services to establish a lawn care plan today! Be the hero of your property and save your turf!