Does Your Lawn & Garden Need Lime?

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
en Español

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Our soils tend to be on the acid side and if the pH is too low, most plants won’t grow well no matter how much fertilizer you add. Most plants grow best when the pH is slightly acidic between 5.5 and 6.5. A pH that is too low or too high can make some nutrients unavailable and others toxic to the plants.

Garden Soil with Rake

Freshly weeded section of garden at the Agroecology Farm.

So how do you know if you need lime and how much you may need? By testing the soil. You need to know what your starting point is and to have a baseline reading before you go out and apply lime. If you don’t, you may not apply enough to be sufficient and will have wasted your time and money, or you may apply too much, wasting your money and possibly raising the pH too high.

Soil sampling kits from N.C. Cooperative Extension are available for pick up at the Union County Ag Center and at all Union County Libraries.

The cost for analysis is free from April 1 – Thanksgiving and $4.00 between December 1 – March 20. Directions for collecting a proper soil sample are included in the packet. You must fill in a code for the crop you are growing. The turn-around time for receiving your soil analysis is about two weeks and is sent to you via email with a link to your report. Your report will include lime and fertilizer recommendations as needed for your site. If you don’t understand your report or have questions about it, you can call me at the Extension Office at 704-283-3729 for help.

By sampling your soil and following the recommendations for lime and fertilizer application you will be on your way to a healthy and beautiful lawn and garden.

Join the Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Union County for their Successful Gardener program on September 6 at 7 p.m. at the Agriculture Center, 3230 Presson Rd, Monroe. The topic will be Creating Bird & Wildlife Habitat with Carol Buie-Jackson.