6 min read
When it comes to your lawn care and the treatments you may need, you need a professional you can trust. The average person doesn’t know much about the chemistry of lawn care and must often put their trust in a lawn care professional’s hands. But knowing who you can trust may be an intimidating decision.
Unfortunately, there are some companies in the lawn care profession who have taken advantage of the situation. Recommendations for more applications than are truly needed or even products that are unnecessary are justified concerns.
Two lawn care products that we get a lot of questions about are lime and gypsum. While lime lawn treatments and gypsum lawn treatments are commonly touted as helpful, the truth is they are rarely needed in our region.
A lot of homeowners will ask us, “Do I need lime for my lawn?” The purpose of a lime lawn treatment is to make acidic soil have a pH closer to neutral (7). It achieves this process by adding calcium and magnesium to the soil, which in theory, should adjust the pH to bring it up to neutral range. The pH level is important for lawns. At an optimum pH level, your lawn will be able to better use the available nutrients in the soil, have improved color, and ultimately thrive better.
While that all sounds well and good, here’s the rub. The truth of the matter is that lawns in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH and Northern Kentucky really don’t have a pH issue to begin with. The majority of our lawns are already well-adjusted to the pH and don’t require any tweaking of their acidity levels.
While many old-school lawn care programs have always just thrown in lime lawn treatment as part of their overall package, the fact is that you’re probably paying for something you don’t need.
In rare cases, if your lawn is showing signs of discoloration, and not responding to several lawn care treatments, we can perform a soil test in order to confirm the pH level. This will determine if it really is where it ought to be rather than just throwing down lime when it’s rarely needed.
Like lime, gypsum is a calcium-based material, though it also contains sulfur. Gypsum is touted as having control over a lawn’s pH balance. Similar to lime, the idea behind using gypsum is that it will act as a soil acid neutralizer.
In addition, gypsum is said to help improve soil structure by acting as a soil conditioner. Gypsum has traditionally been applied to soils that have high levels of sodium as these types of soil can become very compacted when they are dry.
However, the rub in this scenario is the fact that the quantities of gypsum needed to really make an impact are tremendous. The little amount of gypsum that your lawn will receive during a gypsum lawn treatment is not going to make any bit of difference. In fact, even small lawns would need multiple tons of gypsum and in order to have any impact, the recommendation would be to till up the entire lawn and work it into the soil. It’s simply not practical--or necessary.
But don’t despair, because like lime, the truth is that Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky lawns don’t really need gypsum to reach optimal health. According to The Ohio State University, gypsum does not have the impact on pH that it was once thought to have. And in terms of its conditioning abilities, soils that are high in sodium (known as “sodic soils”) are rarely ever seen in Ohio or Northern Kentucky. Applying gypsum to soil that doesn’t have a sodium problem is basically a waste of time and money.
In other words, gypsum, gyps ‘em. If you’re being told you need a gypsum treatment, you’re likely being taken advantage of.
In reality, the best way to improve the soil structure of your lawn is not with a gypsum application, but rather annual core aeration and allowing the soil’s natural biology to do its own work. A lawn care program that promotes soil health by adding back in natural biologicals on a regular basis is key.
While we’ve spent some time talking about what your lawn doesn’t need, let’s talk about what it does. For a lawn to be at its healthiest, it’s important that the proper nutrients are being applied on a timetable that allows your lawn to thrive. This doesn’t mean adding product upon product. It means a customized program that restores soil health.
A focus like this will actually lead to less product use over time. Contrary to popular belief--and what some lawn care companies may tell you--more product does not always equate to better health.
A lawn care program like ours is focused on regularly introducing beneficial microbiological organisms into the soil to allow the lawn to naturally thrive. With this kind of treatment, the biological life will be restored to the soil to help it naturally defend itself against many disease issues. THe lawn will even use natural resources like nutrients and water more efficiently as it becomes less reliant on control products to do the work for it.
What is probably most troubling about the popularity of lime and gypsum treatment programs is the underlying deception. Homeowners, like you, put their trust in their lawn care companies that they are offering truthful recommendations based on sound science. Some lawn care companies will advertise Free Lime and Gypsum applications as a sales tactic, knowing full well that these applications really don’t do their clients any benefit.
While those of us at Oasis Turf & Tree are experts in lawn care, we are homeowners, too. Like you, we often rely on other service companies to assist us in household projects outside the scope of lawn care. As a result, we fully understand the frustration that would accompany being misled.
In lawn care, as in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be leary of false claims about lime and gypsum lawn treatments and shift your attention to what is truly best for your lawn and your budget. Our goal is to get you what you need with a fair price upfront. You can trust that our lawn care recommendations are based on what we know is best for your lawn--not what we think might be a good sales tactic.
If you’d like to find out more about how Oasis Turf & Tree can keep your lawn in Cincinnati, Dayton OH, or Northern Kentucky healthy, request a free estimate or call us at 513-697-9090.
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