Lime, commonly known as calcium carbonate or limestone, is beneficial to many lawns. Because it neutralizes acidity in the soil, it elevates pH to the ideal level of 6 to 7. Loam soils require roughly 1.2 tons of agricultural limestone to raise the pH one point, yet you would reduce it for regular soil and double it for clay.
In the last decade, gardeners have discovered the benefits of adding lime to their food plots and other crops, including lawns. Lime lowers soil acidity, allowing crops, trees, and plants to absorb nutrients better. A low pH or acidic soil enables plants to absorb nutrients with the proper application of lime better.
You can see an increase in food plot performance using a lime application. However, you need to get the right amount of lime to use and know how to have lime incorporated into your soil. You can learn all you need about how much lime per acre of pasture in our guide.
You’ll learn the limes, and you can work out the appropriate amount of pelletized lime per acre or the lime recommendations for another type of lime to incorporate into your soil. (Read Ironite Vs Milorganite)
How Much Lime Do I Need For 1 Acre?
You can’t just buy lime and follow the recommendations for how much pelletized lime per acre. Soils are different, and you could find your pH levels are fine, and you don’t require any lime at all.
Here’s more about calculating how many bags of lime are needed and more.
It is important to have your soil tested to establish your soil’s exact requirements.
You can send soil samples for testing or use a quick testing kit you can purchase. Once you have results, you can determine the amount of lime you need to add per acre.
To raise and buffer the pH of loam soil by one point, it takes 1.2 tons per acre of agricultural lime. For sandy soil, it’s half that, and for clay soil, it’s nearly twice the number of tons per acre of ag lime.
Typically, how many bags you’ll need is 48 standard 50-pound bags of ground agricultural limestone, which equates to 1.2 tons of lime. It takes this much to raise the pH of loam soil by one point.
The efficiency of liming materials is determined by its (ECCE) effective calcium carbonate equivalent, where the ECCE determines the purity and fineness of the particles. Finely ground lime reacts faster with soil than coarse or bigger size lime particles.
Agricultural lime sources vary in the United States. The ECCE % for your lime source is important to order the correct amount.
Pelletized Lime Vs. Agricultural Lime
You’ll find a highly debated topic, which is best, “pelletized lime versus ag lime.” Many opinions pelletized lime is more effective and requires less than agricultural lime. However, you’ll find these are not true.
The two most popular and available forms of lime are dolomitic lime and calcitic lime, and both decrease total acidity in the soil.
Dolomitic lime comes from calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate deposits, thus containing high levels of magnesium.
They get Calcitic lime from calcium carbonate. Yet, magnesium is an essential mineral, so if your soil mixing contains a high magnesium content but needs a lime application. Then you’ll need calcitic lime to avoid an excess of magnesium.
Pelletized lime has a significant advantage for the food plot farmer because it is easily spread with most spreaders to incorporate lime into the soil surface. Many of the locations where food plots are planted are inaccessible to a huge spreader that applies bulk ag lime.
How Much Does A 50 Pound Bag Of Lime Cover?
Too much lime burns grass. So, never apply over 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet at a time.
To avoid burning the grass, always water after applying lime to wash the blades.
The pH. test determines how much lime to use. For example, if your grass has a low pH, you can apply up to 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet.
How much does a one-acre yard cost? 43,560 square feet per acre. Divide that by 1,000 and add 50 pounds of lime, thus 2178 pounds of lime per acre.
If your lawn requires more than 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet, apply it twice—usually once in the spring and once in the fall. (Learn How Much Roundup Per Gallon)
How Much Does A 40 lb. Bag Of Lime Cover?
A 50-pound bag of lime covers 1,000 square feet of lawn. It should cover roughly 800 square feet.
If the soil pH needs a maximum lime application, 40 pounds of lime can cover 1,000 square feet of mildly acidic soil.
Why Lime Your Soil?
Most grasses require a slightly acidic pH of 5.8 to 7.0. The pH preference of grass species varies.
Such as cool-season grasses prefer an alkaline soil pH like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue. Summer grasses prefer a lower pH. Grass can’t thrive if the soil’s pH is too acidic.
Lime helps raise soil pH and make nutrients available to your lawn.
Test Your Soil pH Level
You can buy DIY soil pH test kits or soil pH meters to see if you need to add lime, but they won’t tell you how much.
Most state or county cooperative extension offices will come out and test your soil pH and recommend how much lime to use to raise it.
You get accurate soil test results, but they also give you recommendations on how much lime to add to your acidic soils. (Find the Best Soil Test Kit)
What Is the Best Time to Add Lime?
Lime takes months to break down and modify the pH of your soil. The greatest time to test your soil is in the spring, as the soil warms. However, you can apply lime now or in the fall.
Seasonal freezing and thawing cycles, rain, and snow characterize the fall and winter months. These occurrences will help break down the lime and raise the soil’s pH.
What Kind of Lime to Buy?
Calcitic lime and dolomitic lime are the two forms of lime. Calcitic lime contains calcium, which is beneficial to plants and healthier for the grass. Calcitic lime comes in a variety of forms, including the following:
- Agricultural ground limestone: Ag Lime is advised for agricultural application rather than gardening. It’s a hard limestone that takes a long time to dissolve. Therefore, agricultural lime is best reserved for wide agricultural areas.
- Pulverized limestone: Limestone is crushed into a powdered form called pulverized limestone. It swiftly decomposes and elevates the pH level. But it’s dusty and hard to transport.
- Pelletized limestone: Pelletized lime can also be enhanced with polymers, organic acids, and micronutrients. Lime pellets are easy to disperse. Therefore, it can help maintain nutrients in the coil if enhanced. However, it is essential to get high-quality pelletized lime.
The pelletized form and pulverized limestone both quickly affect the pH of the soil, but pelletized limestone is the most convenient to use. The soil test findings will determine the number of pounds of pure calcium carbonate to apply.
Look at the bag label to identify the calcium carbonate equivalent of the limestone you buy.
How To Apply Lime
First, only apply lime to a dry lawn. The turf shouldn’t be stressed or dormant. It is easiest to alter the pH of the soil before planting grass seed or sod.
If you can, mix the limestone with the top five inches of soil. This may stop the need to add lime for several years.
- To add lime to an established grass, a core aerator is required. This allows the lime to combine with the soil.
- According to the soil test results, you should add lime, and it is important to do so. If your soil needs more than 50 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet, apply it in two parts: spring and fall.
- After applying the lime, water your lawn to remove any lime residue.
- You must test your soil after a few months. If your soil pH is right, you won’t need to do anything extra, but you may need to apply more lime.
- After you get your soil’s pH level right, you can check it every year or two to ensure it stays there. The most important thing to remember is to test your soil before adding lime.
Liquid Versus Dry Lime
Liquid lime is used in various industrial settings, such as on the sides of roadways or golf courses. It makes it easier to spread over vast areas, but it may not provide the exact amount of lime that the soil needs.
Dry lime may be spread more evenly and is more dependable than liquid lime.
How Do I Calculate How Much Lime I Need?
If your soil pH is below 5.5, add lime. To do the math yourself, first establish your soil type.
- Sandy soil quickly transports water and nutrients. (less lime)
- Loam is a nice mix of particles of assorted sizes.
- Clay soil is heavy; thus, nutrients take longer to infiltrate clay. (more lime)
Then apply 30 pounds of lime to a 1,000 square foot space to raise the pH 1 point. To raise the pH of loam by one point, 80 pounds of lime are needed. To permeate and change dense clay in the same area, use 100 pounds of lime to raise the pH one point up a slightly acidic level.
Never apply over 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet. If your yard needs more lime, apply it in two applications to avoid burning it.
If surface applying lime, apply only two and a half tons per acre per year. If the lime is evenly distributed and worked into the soil, up to four tons per acre can be applied.