Adjust soil pH now for a better lawn next summer (12-11-2006)
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If you have not taken a soil sample from your lawn in the past couple of years, it would be prudent to take one now. Now is the time to start correcting soil that has a pH too low for good turf growth.
Most lawns of warm season turf species have finally received a good frost and have gone dormant for the winter in much of Mississippi. Once we have done a final mowing and raked the leaves we, just like the turf, are probably ready to take a couple months off from our lawn maintenance activities. However, liming sources (calcitic lime and dolomitic lime) take months to alter the pH, so putting lime out now will give you a head start for next spring.
The winter rains during these idle months will help get the lime reacting in the soil. No more than 50 pounds of a liming material per 1,000 square feet should be applied at any single application. Therefore, if the pH is very low it may take a couple of tons of lime per acre to actually get the soil within the range you need for good turf growth. You may have to apply lime several times over the course of the year.
Not only does proper soil pH have an effect on the availability of necessary nutrients needed by the turf plants, but it also is important in the activity of microbes that help decompose thatch.
Published December 11, 2006
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org