Explaining lime to clients

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,535

    Wondering how you get the point across on the importance of a correct pH. I try to explain as simply as I can. So ething like this....

    Having the correct pH allows the nutrients to be more available for the plant to take up. This will help with a nicer green color and better growth.

    I try not to go into a very deep explanation. Many times they ask if its necessary and my response is... It will be very good for the lawn, but if you are happy the. You can play the wait and see game. If you don't like the color of the lawn the. We can apply it at a later date.


    Most take the approach of ... as long as it is weed free I'm good.
     
  2. ShaneW

    ShaneW LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    Assuming that we really are trying to do what's best for the lawn and not simply sell an extra service, why not include an annual soil test with your program? That way, your customers can see for themselves why you're doing what you do. Plus, they can see the improvement year-over-year. Simply telling your customers that they need to pay you to change the pH when you don't actually know what their soil's pH is could easily create a little suspicion, don't you think?
     
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,052

    At one seminar, the presenter asked if calcium is a nutrient or simply a pH adjuster. Calcium is a nutrient. In acidic soils one will find calcium and sometimes magnesium at low levels. If I say that it is to supplement calcium, people get it.
     
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,535

    Lime is not a standard in my program. For those who want it I tell them we need a soil test to determine how much is needed. If they don't want the soil test I apply lime at a rate that is slightly above the maintenance rate, but with the understanding that it I do 10 lbs it might not do much of in reality the tested needed 100 lbs.
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  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,070

    lots of customers do not understand the meaning of pH.
    If you say, "You have acid soil." They understand. They will go along with a lime application. Say it is to "sweeten" the soil and that it will supply additional calcium for thicker grass and darker green.
    I have heard centipede grass prefers acid soil.
    You probably should not try to correct any soil that is just slightly acid. Around here we seldom try to correct anything above pH 6.
    You local university will have suggestions for fescue and Bermuda: optimum and tolerable pH levels.
     
  6. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I haven’t seen a decent explanation of this topic on this board yet. Sweeten the soil? Does it not taste good to grass? Why not just add sugar? Is the calcium going to make the grass thicker and greener? How many tissue tests have you run that show Ca deficiencies?

    Why not just shoot ‘em straight: tell your customers what is happening, why it’s a problem, and what you’re doing to fix it?

    I think most LCOs don’t understand it, so they can’t explain it to their customers.

    Don’t forget, most of your customers have all this information and more these days right on their iphones. Customers are much better at spotting BS now than they were in the pre-internet days.
     
  7. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,535

    Yeah skip

    You start telling a customer about CEC and micros being binded in the soil .... While that sounds smart it is way over their head.

    I often just tell them it will help make the fertilizer easier to take up and there fore allow your lawn to grow better and have a nice color.

    No lime ever in my experience on centipede! I have applyed some gypsum to send it the other way.
     
  8. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    Way too many people in this area put down lime just because it's always been done that way. We did several soil tests for customers last year that requested lime and wound up not needing it. It's hard to convince people to break bad habits.
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  9. Georgia Lawn

    Georgia Lawn LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ga
    Posts: 98

    I tell clients lime is like an oil change on a car. The more fresh oil that is in your engine the better all the components work,increase gas mileage save money. Same with lime correct pH better performance out of grass grows better in its preferred pH range, increased uptake of key growth nutrients equals more bang for your buck. If they don't understand from there I just tell them or you can always just drive the engine with the old oil until it gives out, either way new oil eventually has to be added, either in new engine or simple oil change. Change it now for cheap or do without for so long that nothing will work except for overhaul.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,575

    It's like that old TV commercial for oil changes, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."
     

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