Soil pH and Limestone for My North Carolina Lawn: Does it Really Matter?
Soil pH is one of the most important factors of growing a healthy lawn in North Carolina, but too often, homeowners don’t understand the condition of their soil or how to improve it.
Clay soil is prevalent in the Raleigh area, and it tends to be acidic. When soil is in the acidic range, grass plants struggle to absorb the nutrients that are necessary for a healthy lawn. By adding soil amendments, such as lime, you can, over time, raise the soil’s pH to a more favorable level that creates a healthier lawn.
Understanding Soil pH for Lawns in North Carolina
Soil pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Numbers less than 7 indicate acidity while numbers greater than 7 indicate alkalinity.
In North Carolina, soil pH levels typically range anywhere from 3.5 (very acidic) to 8 (alkaline) or higher. Ideally, you’ll want your soil’s pH to be between 6.5 to 7.
You may not think that a single number difference on the pH scale is a big deal, in fact there’s a ten-fold difference between numbers. This means that soil with a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than soil with a pH of 7.
The pH value of soil is one of the many factors that affects plant growth. Soil pH directly affects nutrient availability, and a lack of certain nutrients makes it difficult for plants and grass to grow. In addition, the incorrect soil pH can actually poison your plants.
When to Get a Soil Test
From our experience, most soil in Raleigh and the Triangle area of North Carolina is clay-based, and it tends to be on the acidic side. However, there are some extreme exceptions. Taking samples from the good areas of your lawn separately from the bad portions and comparing the results will give you a good idea of what needs to be done. Your lawn care company can provide you with more information as to whether a soil test is needed before adding amendments to your lawn.
Why Limestone is Important for Clay Soil
The soil amendment limestone, is a naturally occurring mineral that is high in calcium. This material is processed into a granular product that is easily spread. In addition to reducing the soil’s acidity, lime also supplies the soil with calcium.
When you don’t add the needed lime to the soil, the pH will be below the optimum level. The grass will not be able to properly uptake nutrients from the soil. Acidic soils prevent thatch from breaking down due to the lack of microbial activity. This will make it difficult to grow grass, creating a negative impact on the color and density of your lawn.
By not using limestone to correct your soil’s pH, it will remain acidic. This weakens your grass, causing certain weeds to thrive, out competing the turf for water, nutrients and sunlight.
Our Approach to Lawn Care
We recognize that almost all soil in Raleigh is clay-based and acidic, which is why lime is an integral part of a lawn care program at Weed Man. It’s our goal to restore balance to your lawn by carefully adding lime to maintain the soil’s pH at a favorable level.
North Carolina’s clay soil can be a challenge to work with, especially if you’re trying to grow a healthy lawn. Adding lime can help improve soil conditions, by making the soil less acidic and more suitable to grow a thick, green lawn.
At Weed Man, we offer limestone treatments and other lawn care services to improve your lawn in the Cary and Holly Springs, NC area. Learn more about how Weed Man can help you achieve a greener and healthier lawn by requesting a free quote, or call us at 919-552-1515.