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October 10, 2012

Tim's Tips: Apply lime to your lawn now

All gardeners know how important it is to fertilize. Vegetable plants, perennials, annuals and rose bushes will grow best when they have enough fertilizer.

But, sometimes, even if you keep up with this task, your plants can’t use the fertilizer you are applying to the soil, the reason being that the fertilizer gets bound up in the soil. If your soil is too acidic, the fertilizer becomes water insoluble. This means that the fertilizer doesn’t dissolve into a form that the roots of the plant can take up and ultimately become usable by the plant. To prevent this from happening, you need to offset the acidity in the soil. You need to apply lime.

There are many times when a customer comes into the store to inquire about a lawn problem. The grass does not appear to be growing, but the weeds are growing very well. If I ask if they have recently applied lime to the lawn, the answer is usually no. You see, grass doesn’t grow very well under acidic conditions. Weeds, on the other hand, flourish. Applying the proper amount of lime to your lawn makes it easier for the grass to grow. If the grass is growing fast enough, it can force out many weeds.

As part of your fall cleanup of the lawn and gardens, don’t forget to apply lime if you didn’t do so last spring. Lime takes time to do its job. By applying the lime now, you give it time to work before next spring.

There are certain shrubs that tolerate an acid soil. Most of these are evergreens. And, there are some shrubs that want a soil that is not acidic. Lilacs and rose bushes are two of the more common shrubs that will benefit from an application of lime this fall.

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