Adding lime to your lawn is very different than the other lawn applications. This causes a lot of confusion. Check out this guide to clear things up.
What Is Lime?
Lime that gets applied to your lawn is literally made up of pelleted, or powdered limestone rock. Pelleted limestone has become preferred over powdered form, mostly because it’s easier to apply.
Limestone naturally contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. These compounds help to amend soil, and neutralize a lawn that is too acidic.
Benefits of Lime for Your Lawn
Most lawns grow best with a soil ph between 6 and 7.
Adding lime to your lawn increases the ph (making it more alkaline), therefore correcting the low ph problem.
How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime
Look for clues that your lawn might need lime:
1. Do fertilizer applications seem to be ineffective? If your soils PH is off then it can’t effectively use the nutrients it absorbs from the fertilizer.
2. Abundance of moss. Moss prefers acidic soil.
3. Abundance of weeds. Many lawn weeds prefer acidic soil.
4. Browning or yellowing of grass.
While these visual cues can be a sign of acidic soil conditions the only real way to know if you have acidic soil is to take a soil test. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive soil analysis that gets sent to a lab.
When Should You Lime Your Lawn?
Fall is the best time to lime your lawn. With the cooler weather and less intense sun you don’t have to worry about lime burning your lawn.
If your lawn is very acidic then 2 applications of lime might be needed. If this is the case then apply once in spring, and again in fall. Avoid the heat of the summer since lime can burn your lawn.
Follow up after your lime application with a soil test to see if the PH problem is getting better. Keep in mind, it takes time.
If you do a lime application in the fall, don’t test the soil until next spring. For spring applications don’t bother testing until the fall.
How Much Lime to Add to Your Lawn
How much lime to add to your lawn depends on 2 factors. Your soils ph, and also the soil type (sand, loam, clay).
*Tip- If you fall into a category of needing more than 100 lbs per 1000 s/f to solve your ph problem it’s recommended you solve the problem over multiple years.
Sticking to 2 applications a year is best with a maximum amount of 50 lbs per 1000 s/f per application. This makes a 100 lb per 1000 s/f a year maximum.
Can You Put Too Much Lime on Your Lawn?
Yes. Adding too much lime to your lawn will cause the same problems as making it to acidic. The lawn will not be able to absorb nutrients.
How to Apply Lime to Lawn
1. Take A Soil Test- No need to spend a lot of money on this. A simple soil test kit is inexpensive and gives you instant results. Your soil test will tell you if your lawns ph is inadequate, and by how much.
2. Purchase Lime- Purchase a quality pelleted lime such as Soil Doctor. This can be purchased at big box stores or garden centers.
3. Figure Out Application Rate- Use chart above to figure how much lime to apply.
4. Set Spreader and Apply- A reliable broadcast spreader is much better then a drop spreader.
If you set your broadcast spreader dial to 2/3 open and apply twice in a checkered pattern, that should disperse at a rate of 50 lbs per 1000 s/f.
This part can get a little confusing since you need to adjust according to how much lime needs to be applied.
For example if you only need to add 25 lbs of lime per 1000 s/f then set your dial to half of 2/3 open, which is 1/3.
For a better understanding of application rates check out: How to Fertilize Your Lawn
5. Water- If you have an irrigation system then irrigate after applying lime. If you can’t water afterwards it’s really not a problem as long as you don’t apply during a stretch of hot temperatures.
Can You Lime, Fertilize, and Seed at the Same Time?
The short answer is yes. Just make sure you avoid mid summer months or if your lawn is showing signs of stress.
Late summer/early fall is the best time to lime, fertilize, and core aerate/overseed at the same time.
If you are really looking to improve your lawn without having to rip it out and start over, consider doing a lawn renovation.
Do Pine Needles Make Lawn Acidic?
Pine trees prefer acidic soil but they don’t create it. If you see bare lawn spots underneath your pine trees it is most likely due to their shallow root systems interfering with your lawns roots.
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