You’ll undoubtedly come across many year-round lawn care ideas when planting grass seed for a new lawn or treating an existing one, which can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to this game.
While we all have different tastes in terms of how our lawn should look and feel, we think everyone can agree that a lush, healthy grass makes the rest of the neighborhood envious.
A lime lawn care treatment, which is a method to assist balance the pH levels of your soil, is often overlooked.
A lawn lime treatment is a powdered limestone-based soil amendment that supplies calcium to the soil to battle acidity and balance the pH of your grass.
This is because slightly acidic soils are not ideal for healthy grass growth in some locations. In areas with frequent or severe rainfall, this issue will arise because the rain wipes away nutrients that are difficult to replace.
Applying lime to your grass can help it recover nutrients, change soil pH balance lost to acidity, and possibly heal the damage caused by this.
In our guide, you can learn how to apply lime to lawn without resorting to a professional lawn care company. By the end, you can see all the methods for your lime lawn application that you can get from your local garden center. (Read Is 15-15-15 Fertilizer Good For Lawns)
When Should I Put Lime On My Lawn?
When you look to add extra lime to your lawn, you need to understand a few things about what it does and why you should add it. Soil pH can determine how many nutrients your grass can absorb. Here you can more about what lime is and how you use it to get proper growth in your lawn?
What is Lime?
Lime is a soil amendment derived from ground limestone rock, including calcium and magnesium carbonates. These molecules work to raise the pH of soil when lime is applied, making it less acidic and more alkaline.
Although lime contains calcium and magnesium carbonate, which are vital elements for plant growth, it is not a fertilizer alternative to add essential nutrients. A lime application is made to change soil pH and neutralize acidity, which improves plant nutrient availability.
Why Use Lime?
Lime is required by lawns when the availability of nutrients is hampered by low soil pH. Soil pH preferences can vary by region, yet most grasses like a pH of 5.8 to 7.2, with warm-season grasses tolerating a slightly lower pH and cool-season grasses preferring a slightly higher pH.
The nutrients lawn grasses need the most, such as nitrogen, remain accessible from fertilizer when pH levels are inside the desired ranges. However, even many nutrients are restricted when the pH strays too much in either direction. Lime for lawns restores pH equilibrium for acidic soil.
How Will I Know My Lawn Needs Lime?
Plants that thrive in acidic soil replace lawn grasses when the soil becomes too acidic. For example, lawn moss shows a pH too low for vigorous grass growth. An increase in regular lawn weeds, diseases, and pests are also warning indicators.
Many weeds prefer acidic soil, and low pH can reduce herbicide and insecticide efficacy. When the soil’s pH is too acidic, grasses don’t respond to premium lawn fertilizers or soil nutrients as well as they should.
Why I Need a Soil Test?
A soil test reveals your soil’s pH along with other characteristics showing how much lime or other soil additives you’ll need. It is impossible to judge a lawn’s requirements without soil samples. (Find the Best Soil Test Kit)
Applying lime when it’s not needed or adding lime when it’s not needed can harm lawn grasses. When soil is too acidic, annually test until the levels are restored.
Why do pH Levels Change?
The lime or other items you add to the soil might change the pH. Heavy rainfall naturally leaches calcium from the soil, and soil pH decreases because of calcium loss, making soils acidic.
Because calcium doesn’t wash away from a dry lawn, lawns can become overly alkaline. Also, regular lawn care can naturally decrease soil pH. Regular fertilization, irrigation, and increased beneficial bacteria activity can all contribute to typical pH reductions.
When is the Best Time to Apply Lime?
You ought to lime lawns in the fall or spring. Rain, snow, and freezing and thawing cycles help lime break down and start working in the fall. Traditional lime takes months to alter soil pH and create healthy soil significantly.
How Much and Types of Lime?
The amount of lime your lawn need will depend on the soil type and existing pH. Keep in mind that allowable amounts vary by soil type. For example, clay soil requires far more lime than sandy soil.
Calcitic lime or dolomitic lime is used in the manufacture of lime. Calcitic lime is the favored form because it provides additional plant benefits.
Calcitic lime products include agricultural ground limestone, pulverized limestone, and pelletized limestone.
While both crushed and pelletized lime swiftly adjusts the pH of the soil, lime pellets are the most convenient to use. (Pulverized limestone is a dusty material to add to your lawn)
While the results of your soil test will tell you how much pure calcium carbonate to add to raise the pH of your soil, however, liming products aren’t pure calcium carbonate, and you’ll need to check the bag label; look for the “calcium carbonate equivalent.”
You can also find liquid lime, yet this isn’t used much outside professional services. For pelletized limestone, you need to ensure that pets and young children don’t eat the pellets. Another advantage of pellets is they won’t blow away in the wind or be washed away with heavy rainfall. (Learn How Long Does It Take For Grass Clippings To Decompose)
Can You Put too Much Lime On Your Lawn?
Yellow grass could show that your lawn has been overly limed, but there could be another reason for the problem. Other chemical imbalances in lawn soil, as well as some pests and illnesses, can cause turfgrass to become yellow, so don’t make any assumptions until you’ve done further research.
Understanding the correct method of applied lime is as essential as when you apply fertilizer, as this will follow your lime treatment.
How much lime to your lawn you will add will be based on your soil test results. However, as you add lime following these steps, you’ll see the amount of lawn lime is roughly a set amount for a particular area when you have the ideal soil acidity.
- Lime should only be used on dry grass; and never used on a dormant lawn, wilted, or strained.
- You need to correct low soil pH before planting grass seed or laying sod because limestone is most effective when mixed in the top 5 inches of soil. Once you add lime, it’s unlikely you’ll need to re-lime your soil for several years.
- Before applying lime to existing grass, aerate the lawn using a core aerator so your lime can penetrate the soil and reach the grass roots.
- Apply lime to your grass with a drop or rotary spreader and never spread by hand. Half of the application is made as you walk in one direction, and the other is applied perpendicular to the first.
- Using a broadcast spreader is worth paying a little extra for dolomitic lime as it is easier to spread and adds calcium and magnesium for healthy lawns.
- According to a University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service research. Should your soil pH test results indicate less than 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet is required. You can apply this in a single application in the spring or fall.
- Otherwise, apply half the lime in the spring, followed by the second half in the fall when you require 50 and 100 pounds.
- Should you need over 100 pounds, apply 50 pounds in the spring and 50 pounds in the fall, and evaluate during the next spring before you further lime if required.
- No matter the amount you need based on your soil sample, never apply over 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet.
- To avoid leaf burn, quickly water your lawn after you add lime to rinse any excess lime off the grass blades.
Does Lime Make Grass Greener?
When you have healthy grass and the pH level is ideal, you’ll find the beneficial bacteria help to break down organic matter, thus less thatch after mowing. Besides lawns, you can also add lime to flower beds as well.
- Lime raises the pH of the soil, making it less acidic. Lime can be used to ‘green up’ a lawn. Lime also boosts bacterial activity, which helps to enhance soil structure.
- To effectively prepare the soil for good grass growth, many sources recommend liming your lawn before sowing.
- Lime and gypsum are both used in lawn and garden soil improvement. They do, however, serve quite different objectives.
- Testing your soil’s pH is the best approach to see if it requires liming. Turf grass, for example, has a target pH of 6.2 to 6.5, so if your soil has a lower pH, it will benefit from adding it. Remember that too much can be just as bad for your grass as not enough, so always test the soil before applying.
- Lime is a calcium or magnesium chemical used to mitigate the adverse effects of acidic soil on lawns and gardens. Lime also decreases the toxicity of components in the soil that can harm growth, such as aluminum, manganese, and iron. Lime also boosts bacterial activity, which helps to enhance soil structure.
- To effectively prepare the soil for good grass growth, many sources recommend liming your lawn before sowing. You can sow grass seed and add lime, but because lime takes time to prepare soils, a complete, green lawn may take a season or two to develop.
- Lime has long been available in powder form, but the more current granulated forms are a step forward from the old powder. A drop spreader or a broadcast spreader can apply it.
Adding lime to your lawn does nothing but good things, so long as your soil pH needs the addition. If your soil has an ideal soil pH level, there shouldn’t be any benefit of adding lime to your lawn.