Question about lime

moon458(z6 CT)April 26, 2005

Another question. Without having our soil tested I'm assuming it's on the acid side with all the oakes, laurel and moss around. My husband came home with 9 bags of lime to spread on the yard that has no grass but weeds. Doesn't make sense to me.

Could this hurt the laurel and moss that are on the edge of the woods on all three sides. I would rather wait out the season to see whats growing since we moved here when the snow was still on the ground.Thanks again

Donna Mae

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gardener_sandy

Your instincts are right! Without a soil test you have no way of knowing whether you need the lime or not. The previous owner might have limed recently or your soils might be naturally alkaline (but not likely if there's moss growing there!) It's easy to apply too much lime if you don't know what the pH is of your soil and that is just as bad for growing things as not enough lime. (The pH determines in part how easy it is for plants to use the various nutrients that are already in the soil.)

It's always a good idea to wait through one full growing season before doing anything major to a yard you're unfamiliar with. Get the soil test done and identify the shrubs and plants that come up this summer. Find out what weeds you're dealing with in the lawn so you'll know when or if to treat them to a weed-killer cocktail. If it's over 50% weeds the usual recomendation is to start over (kill everything, till, reseed, etc.)

One of the best sources for information for your specific area is your extension office. Most will have available lots of literature and helpful advice for the problems in your yard and it's usually free. Good luck. (Try to talk hubby into storing that lime away for awhile. Then be prepared for his "I told you so" if the soil test comes back recommending lime! "Oh, honey, you're so smart!" LOL)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 8:39AM
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Elaine_NJ6

Since you have so much mountain laurel, it's likely you have acid soil--this is an acid-loving plant. Again, since this is growing naturally it's probably part of a whole acid-loving community (as in oaks and dogwoods, etc.). So it might make sense not to spread a lot of lime around. It doesn't kill weeds, and it's bad for the plants you have. I really makes sense from a ecological point of view to work with what you have than to try to change or fight it! For example, I have alkaline soil, so I don't plant blueberries, even though I would love to grow them. I work with what I have and grow raspberries, etc., instead. Please do some research on what you have in your woods before adding chemicals that are certainly unnecessary and possibly harmful.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 3:36PM
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chinacat_sunflower(7)

a woodland 'yard' isn't going to have grass...and don't call them weeds until you can identify them- there's a fair number of wildflowers out there that it would be a shame to sacrifice to something as unnatural as a lawn...

(people who want lawns should stay in developments, and leave natural settings to people who are willing to deal with nature)

the fact that you have a healthy pre-existing condition (and if your natives weren't doing well, you'd have mentioned that they were sickly looking, yes?) means that 'the best you can do is the least possible'... mother nature's pretty good at keeping the balance all by her self.

your idea about 'wait and see' is just right- don't start ammending anything until you have a better idea of what it is that you have bought...

my folks have neighbors who have spent 20K over the last five years trying to get a lawn to take where a lawn has no place being- the first three times, they sodded- never thinking that you never see a sod farm that's in full shade, eh?

my folks grow moss- well, not true. my parents allow the naturally occurring moss to form nice 'area rugs' under and around the trees.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 3:58PM
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moon458(z6 CT)

Thanks for all your tips and advice. Hubby did start to lime but I think I discouraged him when I asked him to please stay away from the edges of the woods and any mossy areas. He quit shortly after. I enjoy the moss, I want it to stay. I identified some blueberry bushes and maybe a some virbenium,(sp)waiting for others to leaf out. Seems spring is taking forever around here. I need to get a good tree book to see what else is out there.Thanks again
Donna mae

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 9:18PM
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