The soil pH determines the availability of most of the essential nutrients. For turfgrass, the ideal pH is 6.5 as this pH allows for high nutrient availability across the board. Soil pH can be affected by a number of factors, such as surrounding vegetation, low quality fertilizers, excessive rainfall and local climate. Typically, the Atlanta area has slightly acidic soil that needs to be raised periodically (every 3 to 5 years) with limestone.
A soil pH of 4.4, like the one in this image, is unusually low. A pH this low may require annual treatments of lime at a rate of 1 ton per acre, for 2 to 3 years to reach the ideal pH of 6.5. A lab sample is often used at this point to determine the buffer pH, which allows our turf manager to determine the exact needs for the turf area.
This is what one ton of dolomitic limestone looks like, which will treat up to one acre of turf.
Most lawn trucks treat 3 acres of turf per day. This is worth noting so that you understand that if "pH balancer", "lime" or "pH adjuster" treatments are part of the program you are on, it is not likely that those treatments are using a rate that would have any significant influence on your soil's pH. The rate per 1,000 ft² should be 35-50 lbs and this should be done as a corrective measure following a pH test, not as part of a recurring service or program. Our programs all include free testing, to make sure that the pH is ideal for optimal turf performance, but treatment is only recommended when when a pH test indicates the necessity.