Actually, we’re talking “soil”, not “dirt”. Dirt is typically dusty, without much nutrient and may be compacted and low in pH. Soil, on the other hand, is rich in nutrients, has plenty of air space between molecules and is “sweet” or has a pH level that many plants thrive in. Although there are plenty of acid-loving plants that thrive in slightly acidic soil like Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias Blueberries, and Broccoli.
One of the best soil amendments for raising soil pH is lime. Lime is made from calcium carbonate (limestone) which is crushed to varying degrees and sometimes processed to allow distribution to soil. Limestone naturally contains calcium and magnesium. These minerals raise soil pH, reduce excess aluminum, iron, and manganese, improve the efficiency of potassium (The “K” or the last number in fertilizer formulations “NPK”) and increase available phosphorus (The middle number in fertilizer formulations) and molybdenum (helpful for microorganisms in making nitrogen available).
How to tell if your lawn needs Lime
Let’s talk lawns.
Some indicators for a lawn that needs some lime (calcium).
- Yellow instead of green leaves
- Weedy- Weeds thrive in acidic soil
- Fertilizer doesn’t seem to be working
- Excess moss
Acidic Lawn Solutions
Once you initially suspect, based upon indicators noted above, that your lawns root system is trying to feed from an acidic soil base, it’s important to do a soil test. You can do this on your own by purchasing an at-home soil test or using a pH meter in various parts of the lawn (it’s common that different areas may have slightly different readings- especially depending upon soil type changes, slope, areas under shrubs or trees, etc.).
A soil test result lower than 6.2 will need amending to get back in balance for best lawn growth, color and health for roots. Many plants, including lawns grow best in soil with a pH between 6.2 and 7.0.
If you’ve decided that your lawn will benefit from a lime application, Wilco recommends using Nature’s Intent Calpril granulated limestone. Calpril is a “prilled” lime which is crushed to a very fine powder (100% pass a 30-mesh screen and 70% passes a 100-mesh screen). The powder is then formed into granules with a water-soluble binding agent and sized for easy spreader use application.
Because Calpril uses such small particles of lime (smaller than traditional ag lime), it has the benefit of reacting and changing soil pH faster- in about 4 weeks.
Apply Calpril to your lawn as needed based upon your soil testing, but in the Northwest, usually February/March and October/November.
Benefits you should see
- Lawn will grow better
- Fewer weeds
- Better green color
- Thicker with less moss
- Better fertilizer uptake
- Increased durability during heat and mowing
Calpril lime is listed with OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute), ODA (Oregon Department of Agriculture and WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) and is a great product to use yearly for vegetable garden beds and raised beds and will not burn plants.