When to Use Lime as a Soil Amendment for Your Lawn
The best time to lime your lawn is in the fall. However, if you need to apply more than pounds of lime per 1, square feet, then apply half in the spring and the other half in the fall. You should wait until the soil is dry before you add lime. Use a core aerator (but never spiked shoes) to aerate the soil well in advance. Most types of lime can be applied with a standard lawn spreader. After you've finished liming your lawn, water it thoroughly; this helps the lime reach the soil where it can begin to break down and start working. Lime can be applied to a lawn any time of year that soil isn't frozen, but it is typically done during spring or fall.
Soil pH is a measure of its relative acidity or alkalinity. For most plants to thrive, the pH level needs to be in the range of about 6 to 7, which is just slightly acidic.
A lower pH level, indicative of very acidic soil, is problematic because it prevents plants from absorbing nutrients. In a soil with a very acidic pH of 4. Nitrogen absorption of plants is especially affected by soil pH, and this is why lawns are especially sensitive. Nitrogen is the soil nutrient most responsible for green foliage, and turf lawns are nothing but green foliage. A lawn struggling to grow in acidic soil may show the following signs:.
Some species of lawn grass are more tolerant of acid soils. Kentucky bluegrass, for example, likes soil more on the alkaline side, while fescues and bentgrasses will tolerate more acidity.
While acid soil tends to make itself known by lawn grasses that fail lawb thrive or problems with moss growth, the only way to verify that acid soil is an issue is with a soil pH test. You can buy DIY soil test kits at garden centers and hardware stores, but these tests are often unreliable and the information may not tell you how much lime your lawn needs.
For the same amount of money and a little more time——perhaps two to three weeksyou can have your soil tested at a local extension service. Follow the extension's instructions for gathering the soil sample. It's usually best to gather multiple samples from each large lawn area and mix the samples for each area together before laawn it for testing. Be sure to let the tester know ,awn you want to learn about liming your lawn.
They will likely perform an SMP buffer test on your sample s to indicate how much lime to add. Soil pH is determined mostly by climate and underlying mineral content of what is life with parole area. Geographic areas where the topsoil lies over limestone bedrock, for example, tend to have alkaline soils, while areas that get lots of rain tend to have more acidic soils.
Your local area may have a history of problems with acidic soil and there may be a tp tradition of amending garden and lawn soils to reduce acidity. Consulting any local garden center will tell you if acidic soil is a common problem in your area. There are several types of agricultural lime used as a soil amendment to correct pH, but the form normally applied to lawns is pulverized, powdered limestone or chalk.
A soil test can tell what snakes can you eat the best type of lime to apply.
Lime with a high calcium content is referred to as calcitic lime and it has the benefit of adding calcium to the soil. Some limestone contains a significant amount of magnesium and is referred to as dolomitic lime. Dolomitic lime adds magnesium to the soil and may be recommended if soil tests indicate a magnesium deficiency.
Most types of lime can be applied with a standard lawn spreader. After you've finished liming your lawn, water it thoroughly; this helps the lime reach the soil where it can begin to break down and start working. Lime can be how to play my ipod in my car stereo to a lawn any time of year that soil isn't frozen, but it is typically done during spring or ilme.
It's best to apply lime after aerating the lawn. This aids absorption and allows some of the lime to reach deeper into the soil. Retest your soil each year until its pH level is satisfactory.
After balance has been restored, continue to test your soil every three or four years. Lawm Mineral Aggregates Association. Related Topics. Article Sources. The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our how to lime a lawn process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Feb 23, · How to spread or apply lime to your lawn depends on the size and texture you choose. Most seem to agree that the powdered form of lime is harder to handle but can be applied with something as simple as a coffee can. Or you can use a pelletized lime instead. You should prepare your lawn before you add lime by aerating it is this will open it up and I will make it easier for the lime to reach down into the areas you want it to get to. When you apply lime to your lawn it can take several months for it to work into the soil and change the pH level for this reason after a few months you should check the pH level again to see if it needs another application of lime.
We weed, feed and seed our lawns, sometimes with disappointing results that leave us frustrated with yellow spots and insufficient growth.
What we envision is a lush green grass under our feet throughout the growing season. Nothing beats the look or feel of a well-kept lawn, plus it provides the perfect backdrop for social events and quality family time. Nobody wants to play games on a rough, patchy and discolored lawn, so the endless quest for the perfect green lawn continues for any person who has grass to take care of.
Cultivating a great yard goes deeper than mowing and occasionally pulling or spraying a few weeds. Lime treatment to your grass can make the difference.
The quest for a healthy green lawn is important for many homeowners. We see inviting green blades everywhere and feel envious of it, yet barely have time at home to scatter seeds and hope for the best. Those perfect lawns you admire, and maybe envy, probably undergo a rigorous care schedule that includes regular intervals of the following steps:. The lawn caretaker might dare to fertilize or treat for weeds but usually leave the rest to nature, which may or may not need some help. If you live in the northeastern US like us at Baker Lime , you may already know that acidic soils can be a challenge to grow in our part of the nation.
The knowledge of liming grows as neighbors swap advice or generations pass down practices, but it remains a generally misunderstood and underrepresented practice. Not many people realize that lime can resolve many yard issues, not just for grass but also in your landscaping, garden and flower beds. Lawn lime application corrects the pH balance in soil by neutralizing its acidity and alkalinity. Fertilization of lawns causes the PH of the lawn to become acidic by applying limestone you can bring the PH level back down to a natural balance which allows grass to prosper.
However, PH balance is not the only benefit that lime has on lawns. You never know what Mother Nature will do, especially when the terrain can vary by the mile with woods, mountains, flatlands, rivers and quirky regional weather patterns. Factors affecting the pH balance of your soil include:. How many nutrients leach from the soil — and how often they leach — is a difficult thing to gauge without the help of a test because the conditions are truly different for everyone.
Lime is ground limestone, a rock formed chiefly by accumulation of organic remains such as shells or coral, and it consists mainly of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Nearly all of the lime sold for lawn lime application is ground, dolomite lime for lawns. Dolomite is a mineral found in limestone that is rich in calcium-magnesium carbonate, making dolomitic lime-rich in calcium and magnesium.
The basic mission is to have the carbonates in the lime bind with the particles in the soil. Turfgrass uses many different minerals, and when the pH level of soil drops below about a 6, it inhibits the availability of other necessary nutrients.
Lime quality varies from place to place, so to gauge it you can ask about its effective neutralizing value. Dolomitic lime is usually sold in the form of powder or pellets.
The powder is exactly that, a powder of fine consistency that works into the soil. The pellets are placed on the ground then dissolve and breakdown into the soil when the yard is watered or there is a decent rainfall. Many people swear by pellets because the powder can be difficult to manage, hard to spread, can blow away easily or leave a cloud of messy dust.
Lime for lawn care can actually help reverse the effects of damaging elements found in grass, including aluminum, iron and manganese. The calcium specifically has a sort of regulating effect on other soil nutrients such as copper, phosphorous and zinc, all of which can have damaging effects and inhibit growth. There are several homemade ways of testing soil , but the most reliable and accurate method is through your county extension or land-services office.
If the university system in your state has an agricultural lab, you can often get the tests from there, as well as garden centers. You can also do the test online and through the mail by sending in a sample to determine if you need lime for your lawn. Testing services will usually send you the results directly. An authentic soil test will give you better confidence in your results, as well as give you more power to cultivate the perfect, lush, green lawn you envision.
Lawn grasses in states that have cold winters generally do well with a soil PH level of about 6. A good soil test also tells you levels of calcium and magnesium. This information will better guide you to either the most popular dolomitic lime that contains magnesium, or the more calcium-rich calcitic lime.
Too much lime is definitely possible, which is why an accurate, inexpensive soil test provides an excellent guide. The results will tell you how much lime to apply and your best insurance against unintentional damage.
Applying lime to your lawn fits with everything else you do outdoors to prepare for summer or winter. Many insist fall is the best time to lime lawns because it gives the lime the longest time to work into the soil before the growing season. Experts agree that you can spread lime anytime, but it is ideal during the Spring and Fall seasons and during the morning or evening hours. You may also wonder if you can put down lime and fertilizer together.
So be careful if you are looking to apply lime and fertilizer at the same time. The planting authorities say the ideal temperature for planting grass seed is 65 to 70 degrees F.
Quantities of lime for lawns are normally expressed in a number of pounds per 1, square feet one acre is 43, square feet. For example, a hypothetical-yet-typical application might be 40 pounds of pelletized limestone per 1, square feet of grass area you want to treat. The pH number revealed by your soil test serves as an excellent guide for gauging how much lime your lawn needs. You can also contact your local Baker Lime expert to help interpret the soil-test numbers and order the correct amount of lime for your yard size.
The lime normally comes in or pound bags. Opinions on how often to apply it range from every few months or annually to once every three or five years. So much of when to lime your lawn depends on your individual situation. For example, lime will drain through a sandy soiled lawn and require a more frequent application than a yard with stickier, clay-based soil. You can consider improving the texture of soil by introducing organic matter such as aged manure, finished compost or chopped pine bark.
These things can aid the lime in doing its job and work it into the soil faster. How to spread or apply lime to your lawn depends on the size and texture you choose. Most seem to agree that the powdered form of lime is harder to handle but can be applied with something as simple as a coffee can. Or you can use a pelletized lime instead. A rotary-type spreader probably gives the best and most consistent application without much clogging or clumping.
Some people say a drop-style spreader is less than ideal, but plenty of others make them work. How you apply the lime depends largely on what form of lime you buy and how much grass you have to cover. People commonly use all types of spreaders, home-rigged tools, buckets, cans or sifters to get the lime onto the lawn. You may own a tool or be able to rig a tool that will do the job, but you can also check into renting the right equipment to apply lime or hire a contractor to do it.
Any way you go about it, avoid spreading lime on a windy day and try to use a crisscross pattern as you work it across the yard. Have questions? Contact Us! Some plants in your landscape thrive in an acidic soil of 5.
You can seed and apply lime at the same time, but many people recommend applying the lime first to give it time to work. Remember, however, that lime is not an immediate-gratification application. It will take at least several months for lime to mix well into your soil and create the beneficial balance of nutrients. It may take a growing season or two, or even three, to see significant improvement.
Rest assured that you can achieve continued hardiness with consistent lime treatment for your lawn. If you are wondering where to buy lime for your lawn, we at Baker Lime are limestone suppliers who have been producing quality lime products since for a wide range of clients. Our lime lawn care products include:. Powered Dry AG Limestone. You can imagine how years have enabled us to become lime experts and emerge as an acknowledged industry leader. We have a proven record of helping people reap high-yield fields, grow ideal yards, cultivate fertile gardens, install lush golf courses and create other beautiful spaces.
Along with technical skill and complete industry knowledge, the people of Baker Lime commit to becoming a partner to our clients and not just an institution that sells or supplies product. Let us help you cultivate an ideal lawn! Find and contact your local Baker Lime dealer today.
The Best of all Limestone: Its pellet size provides easy spreading with little dust. It's water-activated, breaking down into finely pulverized limestone to begin to work right away!
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