Lawn Grass Spring Work

Hi,
Would like to access some collective wisdom on lawn work. Spring being around the corner.
Lots of places push "lime service", about now. I have not even asked for a quote, but wonder...
Is it not the purpose of the lime to raise the pH of the soil? And if so, how can someone suggest you lime your lawn, without testing the pH first?
Secondly, if I were to do it myself, what's the best way to spread lime evenly and how much of it? I bought a pH tester kit, while back but have not used it yet. Is there are chart to figure out how much lime/sqft to dump?
I'm sure if the soil is very acidic, you may want to do it in several steps. How much in one dose?
My grass is very poor, has not been maintained well and is in partial shade - to full shade. Maple trees.
Rich
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RichK wrote:

A lot depends where you are located, type of soil, etc. Odds are, you have a good resource from your state's Extension Service. Usually affliated with a State University, they have a lot of good publications, most of them online for free, that can answer your questions on anything from cooking turkey to planting lawns.
Probaby do a google search with -- the name of your state, the words "extension service" lawn lime -- and you will find something like the following:
http://eesc.orst.edu/agcomwebfile/edmat/EC1278.pdf
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Liming is only needed if PH is off, Im full of trees and I mulch the leaves and dont need lime. But your real problem is shade and Maple trees. Ive never seen a good lawn with maples, Most Maples have shallow roots that compete and strangle everything nearby, even large plants and trees. You are fighting a loosing battle depending on the type of Maple you have if you want a good lawn. I had a Silver Maple grow in wild in a area with a great lawn, every year the lawn got worse and kept dying, even new seed did not help. What helped was cutting down the Maple.
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m Ransley wrote:

I agree with all this. Test the soil, then you'll know if you need to lime. Many times the bags of limestone will have info on how much is needed to raise the PH, or you can find it with a web search. Usually, you can put it down all at once, because limestone is slow to act and won't burn the lawn. If it's pellitized, which is easier and less messy, you can use either a broadcast or drop spreader. If it's the powder form, then you need a drop spreader.
Maples tend to have surface roots that suck up moisture and nutrients and can make it impossible to grow grass.
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I think a good part of the problem are the maples. The roots are almost at the surface and in some area above. It was right in from of my face, but I did not make the connection. At least one tree will have to go - shades the naighbor and all I get is leaves in the gutter and roots above ground.
Also appreciate the comment from someone else, about slow absorption of lime.
I did hit google before posting, but very quickly I found several conflicting statements, along with some useful info.
I tired to find a local county extension office a couple of years ago for similar matters, and they do not have a local presence. About 10 years ago it still existed. Tried several garden clubs and preservation societies, but got no help.
Finally bough a pH kit in a small hardware store.
Regards,
Rich
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RichK wrote:

It is easy to ask and if you buy there service, why would they care what your pH is?

This really depends on local soil conditions. I suggest you contact your local county extension office (US). They will give you the best advice based on local conditions and it is free. (note they may want you to have your soil tested for a small fee.

Grass likes sun. The choice of grass the drainage of the soil and many other factors come into play. Again the extension office is likely your best source and they will likely want a soil test for this one.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Also, I've lived in this house for 32 years and had never had a problem with grubs until about 2 years ago. It is all up and down my street. Some lawns are almost totally wiped out. Of course, what's worse, it the rodents (skunk, possum, raccoon, etc.) dig up the tasty morsels. So, you might have to consider insect treatment.
Joseph Meehan wrote:

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Art Todesco wrote:

I would check with the extension office before beginning insect treatment as well. However I would agree that it should be a consideration. Of course there are various approaches.
I have always tried to follow a simple rule. Make my lawn a good place for grass to grow and a poor place for weeds and harmful insects. I seldom have the best lawn around. I have never had the worst. Generally it is one of the best.
I avoid chemical insect control and use minimum fertilizer and only spot weeding chemicals. I have few weeds and lots of insects, but few that are harmful. The only insect control I use is for grubs and that is using nematodes which I apply about every five years.
One thing I have noticed is that grubs tend to do the most damage to the best lawns. Even without the nematodes when the grubs were really bad in the neighborhood, my lawn only suffered little damage.
I would not say my methods are the best for everyone, it works for me, but it might not work for me in another part of the world and it may not fit your lifestyle or your personal needs. But I would suggest that the heavy chemical controls often suggested by the companies selling those products is seldom if ever the best solution.
A local county extension agent will usually offer good advice and a non-labor intensive plan for a good lawn and will do so without a vested interest in selling you something.

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Joseph Meehan

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If anyone suggests using lime without a test, then it's time to get another person.

To make any difference you need to add about 100 pounds of lime per 4,000 square feet of lawn. Do not lime if your pH is above 6.5. Wait 6 months, test, and repeat if necessary. It takes several months for any significant changes to occur. Supposedly, you should wait at least 2 weeks and at least two rainy days from liming to fertilizing.

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