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What is Liming?

Weed Man technician performing soil test

Many soils are naturally acidic or "sour," a situation which is sometimes aggravated by acid rain. The basic soil elements such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are leached from the soil and replaced by hydrogen ions, thereby increasing the acidity of the soil.

Soil pH is a measure of these hydrogen ions present in the soil. A pH of 7 is neutral; anything above is basic or alkaline (like chalk); anything below is acidic (like lemon juice). This situation can be readily corrected by regular and continuous applications of lime. Liming will increase the availability of certain nutrients to plants such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Iron is an important component to the process of photosynthesis. The process the grass uses to create its food. Calcium and magnesium are elements that are essential for plant growth.

Liming will also increase the activity of soil micro-organisms. This will help create better soil conditions and decrease thatch.

Liming materials differ in their chemical composition, neutralizing value and speed of reaction with the soil. Choice of the product should not be made on the basis of cost alone.

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