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Most grass species do best in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 7. If your soil pH is below 5.5, your grass will not grow well.
Lime is usually used to make soil more alkaline because highly acidic soil cannot absorb nutrients effectively.
Should you apply lime before rain or after?
This article answers your question and explains the best time to use lime and how to do it!
When it comes to lawn care and grass growing, there are many things you need to consider to achieve that perfect lush green lawn everyone dreams of. One is what type of soil is best for the lawn.
Causes of Soil acidity
“Soil acidity” is the term used to express the amount of hydrogen (H) and aluminum (Al) cations (positively charged ions) in soils.
When the hydrogen or aluminum levels are too high and the soil becomes too acidic,the soil’s negatively charged cation exchange capacity becomes “clogged” with the positively charged hydrogen and aluminum, and the nutrients plants need for growth are expelled.
Therefore, root growth and plant development suffer when the soil becomes too acidic.
Soils also acidify over time because of calcium and magnesium leaching, because of hydrogen being added to the soil through the decomposition of plant debris and organic matter, or because of ammonium nitrification (urea, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, anhydrous ammonia), manure or plant residues are added to the soil.
Lime neutralizes this acid by dissolving it, releasing a base into the soil solution that reacts with the acidic components,
Hydrogen and aluminum. Soil pH is an indicator of soil acidity .A pH of 7.0 is defined as neutral. Values below 7.0 are acidic and values greater than 7.0 are basic or basic.
Small changes in numbers indicate large changes in soil acidity. Soil with a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than soil with a pH of 6 and 100 times more acidic than soil with a pH of 7.
Most plants can grow in slightly acidic soil, therefore, the aim of liming is not to increase the pH to neutral (7.0) but to avoid cultivation problems related to excess acidity
Liming directly affects some physical properties of the soil, such as flocculation, aggregates, density and porosity
Read Also: How to Permanently Stop Weeds from Growing
When is the best time to put lime down on your yard?
Growing and maintaining a green, healthy lawn doesn’t have to be a tedious and time-consuming task.
Aside from regular mowing and the occasional fertilizing, lawn maintenance is fairly minimal, and most lawns can thrive with little more than healthy soil, sun, and a little rain.
The best time to apply lime on your yard is 3 days before rain falls. The second best option is a day or 2 after it has rained.
The only time you can use lime before it rains is if the expected rain is not going to be heavy.
Running water washes away the lime and waterlogged soil dilutes it,totally defeating its purpose.
Heavy rainfall that is more than a half inch layer,can wash away both powdered and granular limescale scattered on the lawn.
fThis is because limescale soaks into the soil at a very slow rate, especially when grass is already growing there.
Limescale can only penetrate at a rate of 2 inches per year in poor conditions, so it must be poured in gradually. Excess water will absorb the lime as runoff instead of pulling it into the ground.
It is not advisable to apply lime before rain.
Can you put lime down anytime?
Before adding lime to your garden, make an effort to find out if it needs lime.
You can determine this by performing a soil test. A soil test tells the pH of the soil. Weed thrives when the pH is between 5.0 and 7. If the pH is below 5.0, your soil is acidic and needs lime.
Then the recommended amount of lime is applied to your lawn. Application of excess lime can produce unwanted effects like reducing soil acidity markedly.
This condition is just as bad for your grass as overly acidic soil.
Should lime be applied to wet or dry grass?
Lime should not be used on a soil that has recently become flooded with water from rain or hand-watering. Lime applied to wet grass can wash off, especially if you try to water it.
Wet grass is a sign that the grass is already saturated with water and the soil cannot hold any more moisture. The lime will not be absorbed.
Lime should only be applied to a dry lawn, and never to a lawn that is dormant, wilted, or stressed. Limestone is most effective at changing the soil pH when it is mixed in with the top 5 inches of soil, which means it’s easier to adjust your soil’s pH before planting grass seed or laying sod than it is to add it to an established lawn.
Once you’ve applied lime to correct your soil’s pH, chances are you will not have to re-lime for several years.
Read Also: Does Vinegar Kill Weeds To The Root?
Before adding lime to an established lawn, aerate the lawn with a core aerator to open up space for the lime to move into the soil.
Next, using a drop or rotary spreader (never lay down lime by hand), apply the limestone to your lawn. Apply half while walking over your lawn in one direction, then apply the other half in a direction that is perpendicular to your first.
This will ensure that every part of your lawn is covered with lime.
Lime can take several months after application to break down and change your soil pH. A good time to test your lawn’s pH and adjust it (if needed) is when your soil begins to warm in the spring.
Should you apply lime before rain?
Lime can also be applied in the fall. The benefit of adding lime to your soil in fall is that the abundant rain and snow common during the fall and winter months will help break down the lime and start raising the soil’s pH.
Lime should never be applied to a lawn that is stressed or dormant.