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Too much lime, or something else

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by HazyDavy, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    Back in early July I had my soil tested. I tested both sides of my lawn and the front. The right side came back with a PH of 5.7, front was 5.1, and the other side was 4.2. Right after I got the results I put down 100 pounds of lime(my lawn is roughly 1500 square feet). The recommendation was 50/lbs per 1000 square feet. Early in september I had my lawn aerated and I put down another 100 pounds of lime. I wanted to get the lime down into the soil. I then seeded and fertilized(I used Espoma Organic) at the recommended rate. I topdressed with Black Cow Composted manure. The seed germinated within 4-5 days and was doing fine, but now it appears in some sections(mainly the top of the front lawn) the grass growth is stunted. This area does get a lot of sun and it has been consistently in the 80's, but I've been watering a lot. Any idea what it could be. I overseeded with Pennington's Plantation fescue.

    PS - The soils here are a heavy red clay and I've been told you can't put too much lime down. I also have one of the soil probes and if it's accurate, my PH is around 6.7-6.8.

    Thanks if advance for your responses.
  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    It sounds like the ph is fine, and it looks like you're doing everything fine. I would just be patient with the fescue...Also, too much lime can be not so good, and I pulled this off of a website:

    <<Generally, applications of lime should only be made every three to five years. Soil tests will aid the homeowner in determining the exact applications to be made. Single applications of over 150 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet (three tons per acre) are not recommended. If over 150 pounds per 1,000 square feet are needed, apply half one year and the remaining half two to three years later, after rechecking the soil pH.

    It should be remembered that too much lime can be as damaging to lawn grasses as the lack of lime. Also, lime is not a cure-all to all lawn maladies but an ingredient which can correct soil acidity, thus creating favorable conditions for other factors to occur which develop favorable conditions in soil for lawn grasses.>>
  3. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    Thanks for the reply. One thing I did forget to mention, I did put a LOT of seed down in that area. I just wonder if I put too much down and the roots don't have enough room to spread out. I guess I'll just be patient and see what happens. Cooler weather is coming and hopefully the grass will do much better.
  4. Did you apply calicitic lime or dolomitic lime?

    Too much seed is bad
  5. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    I applied Dolomitic lime. What's wrong with too much seed? It's Pennington seed so it should cause a fungus problem.
  6. AlpineNaturescapes

    AlpineNaturescapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Do not go past the recommended seed dosage of 5 lbs for an overseed or 10 lbs for a new seed job. Do not worry about the apparent stunting unless the color is off -- it should be a deep dark green. Tall fescue are somewhat difficult to germinate, and I have found it has growth spurts.

    Too much seed will cause some of the seed to die out. This is a grass that won't do well with overcrowding. If you did that, you wasted your money, and the lawn will not grow in evenly - some places will look stunted -- perhaps that is what you are seeing. Nothing really to do about it now - let natural selection take its course.
  7. Too much germinated seed cause too much competitition, and you loose alot of grass, usually end up with sparse turfgrass!

    A soil test will tell you your ph, if you need sulfur, lime, what kind of lime, and much to apply. the type of lime depends on the amount od mg in the soil.

    If you didn't do a soil test, wait three - 4 months since applying the lime, and do a soil test again. If you want help on soil test, use a & L eastern labs in chesterfield , va, I'll help you.
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    You said you used 100lbs of dolomitic lime twice for a total of 200lbs. Dolomitic lime is the recommended lime for most of NC so you are probably correct in your lime choice. Just how much area did this 200lbs of lime cover? Soil test limeing recommendations are usually meant for incoroporation into the soil to a depth of 6 inches. You most likely didnt get that much incorporation with areation. Using a soil test prope for checking ph is only accurate if you 1. Have a good test probe, and 2. you push the probe to sufficent depth to get accurate results. The lime that you applied to the top layer of the soil might be all that you really tested and most likely the test results are acurate for that part of the soil. Problem is the roots of the cool season grass should be 4 or 5 inches below the surface. If simply broadcasting the lime on top of the surface, reduce the soil test recommendations to no more than 15% of the recommended amount and reapply those amounts over a period of every 6 months until you have the required amount added to the soil. Lime works its way down thru the soil very slowly and adding large amounts of lime to the soil surface will result in an alkaline Ph at the surface of the soil and an acid Ph at the soil roots. Retest the soil every two years to determine if the amounts you are addding are to little or to much.
  9. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    Thanks for the input everyone. Sounds like my problem is too much seed and overcrowding. My lawn is roughly 1500 square feet and I did have a soil test done in early July. My ph varied from 4.2 to 5.7 depending on which part of my lawn(I tested each side and the front. I don't have grass in the back)I tested.

    I will probably have another soil test done in the spring to see what my PH is.
  10. AlpineNaturescapes

    AlpineNaturescapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    You said you overseeded, but if it was a new lawn seeding you should have used 15 lbs of seed for 1500 sf. If considerably more was used, this is your problem - not the lime. Water it once a week - this will help with the natural selection.

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