slash's picture

CAN YOU OVER-LIME A LAWN ? (post #5443)

I live in North Carolina where we have a great deal of red clay in the soil. I work with an individual who claims you cannot over-lime a lawn, in fact the more lime, the better. He also claims that adding gross amounts of lime eliminates mushrooms and moss. I thought the accepted reason for adding lime was to balance the PH in the soil by adding suggested amounts of lime on the bags by the manufacturer. My question is can you add too much lime? What's the bottom line?

ClevelandEd's picture

(post #5443, reply #1 of 3)

Here's an unscientific answer.  It depends on your soil Ph.  I am not suggesting that you get it tested, just ask around.  If everyone tells you that the local ph levels are 5.0 5.8, you really aren't going to be able to over-lime your lawn.  That is the case for me - we have locally acidic soils here, and overliming is an impossibility except for those who are compulsively obsessed.   See a doctor first? (joking)

KimmSr's picture

(post #5443, reply #2 of 3)

You absolutely can "over lime" your soil. Most grasses, like most plants, grow best with a soil pH of around 6.5 where soil scientist have found most nutrients are most available without too much trouble. If your soil pH were to go over about 7.5 some essential nutirents would no longer be readily available and your grasses would start to show signs and symptoms of pests and diseases again.

Like any other nutrient in the soil the only way to tell for sure whether you need lime is a soil test and the other part is if you add calcitic lime and need to balance the magnesium to the calcium and really need dolomitic limestone all you add will be for naught since you would not be addressing the problem. On the other hand if you add dolomitic limestone to a soil that is already high in magnesium you won't be changing a thing since the additional magnesium will just keep on interfereing with the plants ability to uptake the necessary calcium. You would not need a soil test every year, it takes the lime a long time to make the changes, and its probably because of that people add lime every year, lack of observable results, so once every 3 years would be often enough.   

West central Michigan along the lake shore

A sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, rather it is brown knees.

LIBugGuy's picture

(post #5443, reply #3 of 3)

Here on Long Island, in many places the subsoil is pure sand, and the topspoil thin, so any water soluble nutrients leach away over time. Adding lime yearly becomes a necessity.  Also, fertilizer applications can acidify the soil, so lime is needed to balance that.  Now in a clay based soil, you might have to add more lime to change the pH, but you won't have to reapply yearly.

Gardening in the heart of the suburban sandbar- LI NY, Zone 7ish...

Selling plants from the Orange box, and doing a little garden work on the side.

LI, NY, almost zone 7, but it's been warmer of late :)