Your lawn soil is basically made up of clay, silt, sand, and organic matter. However, that’s putting it a bit simply. Within these ‘ingredients’ are some basic nutrients that are also part of your soil–or should be. It’s not uncommon for soil to lack nutrients, which will then, in turn, affect the health of the lawn or other plants. Calcium is a micronutrient for soils that helps combat soil acidity. Though not one of the big three nutrients–nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium–that are essential for healthy soils, calcium is certainly needed by plants, and to ensure your lawn has enough calcium, you may need a calcium supplement.
What Is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that’s vital to plants. Without it, the result is invariably stunted plant growth. Just as calcium is needed for strong and healthy bones and teeth in humans, it’s needed by plants to strengthen their cell walls and membranes. Without strong cell walls, turf grass, for example, will be more vulnerable to pests and disease. If you notice brown spots on your lawn, it may have a calcium deficiency that leaves it susceptible to common lawn diseases. To ensure a healthy lawn, you’ll need to be sure that the soil Ph is ideal for turf grass, amend the soil if it’s suffering from calcium deficiencies, and take time to understand your soil conditions so that you can improve it where needed to support healthy grass growth.
In the US, many regions contain soil that has a fair amount of calcium, which is why many gardeners ignore that what’s preventing them from achieving a healthier lawn is, in fact, a calcium deficiency. Calcium promotes better nutrient absorption, so more calcium makes it easier for grass to absorb other crucial nutrients like nitrogen. Also, acidic soil isn’t ideal for many types of grass. Applying calcium carbonate, for instance, is a reliable acidic soil treatment that can correct the soil Ph, making it more hospitable for your lawn.
Types of Calcium
When you visit your local garden center or shop online for products designed to help you correct calcium deficiencies in your soil, you’re likely to encounter a number of calcium-related products. Calcium carbonate, liquid lime, gypsum, biodegradable liquid lime treatment, and other products–how do you know what’s best to correct your lawn’s calcium deficiency for improved plant growth? Here, we’ll explore the types of calcium you may want to consider for your lawn and outdoor garden.
Related: What’s the difference between calcitic lime vs dolomite lime?
Calcium carbon is a terrific choice for lawns. Calcium carbonate is typically used in the form of limestone to correct soil Ph for lawns. If you have overly acidic soil, this nutrient will raise soil pH to a more optimum level for growing grass. The best way to apply calcium carbonate, aka lime, to your existing lawn, is simply to apply a liquid lime or granules to the top of the grass. You can also apply granules of this nutrient to improve calcium levels.
Calcium glucoheptonate is a highly water-soluble form of calcium. As liquid calcium, it provides nutrients for grass, making it a good choice if your grass is struggling. Its sugar-chelated calcium supports immediate nutrient uptake.
Calcium nitrate delivers both calcium and nitrogen to the soil. Gardeners often apply calcium nitrate with a fine mist sprayer to promote healthier plants. It’s also used as a foliar spray.
Calcium sulfate, or gypsum, is a great calcium choice if your soil has a high salt content, which can be toxic for plants. Heavy clay soils often contain an abundance of sodium that needs amending.
Choosing a Product
Before choosing a product for your grass types and soil, it’s important to purchase soil testing kits so you can determine if your lawn has a calcium deficiency or is deficient in numerous nutrients. You’ll need to know the pH level of your soil to ensure you apply lime or other calcium products with proper coverage and amounts. Soil kits that measure pH levels are widely available at garden centers and home improvement centers.
I personally like to use calcium hydroxide with summer survival (sea kelp, humic acid, sulfate of potash) in the summertime to help with the stresses of heat, drought, fungus, and insects.
Calcium for Lawns FAQs
When should I add calcium to my lawn?
The best time to apply calcium to your lawn and garden to raise soil pH is in the spring and fall. Many gardeners prefer adding lime in fall to correct soil deficiencies.
What is the fastest way to add calcium to your soil?
While you can add liquid lime or liquid calcium to your soil for quick absorption, you can mist plants with a foliar spray of calcium if they’re suffering from a calcium deficiency. You can purchase liquid lime online or at most garden centers.
What is a good source of calcium for soil?
Many gardeners will add eggshells to their soil for organic calcium, which is great for tomato and zucchini plants as well as other calcium-loving plants. However, applying lime–calcium carbonate–in granule or liquid lime form is a popular option that can benefit all of your turf grass. Most plants need calcium for proper growth.