In many parts of the country, adding lime to your lawn is as essential as mowing it. Without lime, lawn grasses may be unable to benefit from the nutrients in your soil, including those you add through fertilizers.
By understanding how lime helps lawns and why you may need lime, you can help your lawn reach its full potential.
If your yellow lawn isn’t responding to fertilizer, it may need to be treated with lime because when the soil becomes too acidic, it limits the availability of nutrients for plants. The addition of lime raises the pH and improves the availability of nutrients.
What Is Lime
Lime is a soil conditioner made from ground limestone that contains calcium carbonate and sometimes magnesium carbonate. Applying lime to lawns increases the pH of the soil, making it less acidic and more alkaline.
What Is Soil pH
The soil in your lawn can be classified as acidic, neutral, or alkaline, which can be described by a pH of 0 to 14. A pH of less than 7.0 is considered acidic, a value of 7.0 is neutral, and a pH above 7.0 is basic.
Why Is Liming Important
If the turf soil becomes too acidic, the overall health of the turf will deteriorate. Adding lime to the garden raises the pH closer to neutral. Most lawns require a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 (although centipedes don’t need a lime treatment unless their pH falls below 5.0).
Very acidic soils with a pH of less than or equal to 5.5 are prone to the following deficiencies: Reduced nutrient uptake. Liming the lawn helps make nutrients more readily available. Increased weed growth. Red weeds can compete with your lawn and take over your yard if you’re not careful.
Reduced effectiveness of some lawn pesticides. Reduction of soil microorganisms that help break down and make available certain nitrogenous fertilizers.
These microorganisms also help break down the straw. Excess straw can cause diseases and pests in the lawn. Increased availability of aluminum and manganese, which can be toxic to lawns.
How To Lime A Lawn
Liming a lawn is very simple and is similar to applying fertilizer. The first step is to conduct a soil test. Once you determine how much lime to apply (if any), spread the lime out with a fertilizer. Spreader
Step 1: Conduct a soil test
While there are do-it-yourself soil test kits, they will not give you any information on how to whitewash your lawn. The results can reveal the pH of your soil, but they do not indicate the correct amount of lime for your specific soil type.
Here’s what you can do instead, Send a soil sample to your local soil testing lab. Several universities and cooperative extensions offer soil testing in the laboratory.
Visit their website for more information on how to prepare and submit a soil sample. Soil test results show how many pounds of chalky material to apply per 1,000 square feet.
Step 2: Calculate How Much Lime You Need
We asked if you paid attention in chemistry class, but did you pay attention in math class too? You may need to do some math to determine how much calcareous material you need because lime varies in purity and the amount of lime you apply will depend on its purity.
Most laboratory soil tests base their recommended amount of lime on a lime material with the same neutralizing potential as pure calcium carbonate. For example, if a soil test recommends 25 pounds of calcareous material per 1,000 square feet, that assumes you are using a calcareous material that will raise the pH by the same amount as 25 pounds of pure calcium carbonate per 1,000 square feet.
The same pH as pure calcium carbonate has a “Calcium Carbonate Equivalent” (CCE) of 100 percent. If your lime product is not 100% SCC, you will need to adjust the amount applied. The CCE is given as a percentage of the lime packaging.
Here is how you would determine the amount of lime to apply: (Recommended soil test pounds per 1,000 SF/percent CCE) x 100 = lime material required.
Here is how you would calculate the amount of lime material needed: (25 pounds per 1,000 square feet / 90 CCE) x 100 = 27.8 pounds per 1,000 square feet of actual lime material. Note: Never apply more than 50 pounds of lime material per 1,000 square feet in a single application. If the soil test recommends more than 50 pounds or your calculated setting is more than 50 pounds, apply half the amount in spring and half in fall.
Step 3: Choose Your Spreader
Now that you know how much lime you need, it’s time to choose an application method. If you are using granulated lime, a drip shaker or shaker can work well. When applying fine-grained lime powder, both drip and spreader spreaders have disadvantages, so you need to find out which one works best for you.
PennState Extension warns that finely ground powdered lime can clog spreader outlets and recommends using a wide spreader if you rotate the hopper frequently. On the other hand, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension recommends spreading powdered lime with a drop shaker rather than a rotary shaker.
The bottom line: drop spreaders and spreaders apply pelleted lime with ease, but powdered lime can take trial and error. Some homeowners may prefer one type of spreader over the other for their powdered lime.
Step 4: Remove and Air
Your lawn will not pick up limescale if a thick layer of straw is blocking the soil or if the soil is too compact. Scarify your lawn with an aerator and loosen compacted soil with an aerator before adding lime.
Cleaning and aerating loosen and expose the soil, making it more accessible to scale. Note that you may need to perform this step at a different station than where you are applying the lime.
Here’s why: The best time to whitewash your lawn is in the fall. air and clean in autumn.
During the warm season, mow and aerate your lawn in late spring and then apply lime OR do chores in late spring and wait until fall to apply lime. Timing is easier with cool-season grass, as fall is the best time to aerate, scarify and whitewash cool-season grass.
Pro tip: Scarify your lawn before aerating.
Step 5: Apply Lime In a Criss-Cross Pattern
Spread the lime-like lawn fertilizer with your drop spreader or trailer spreader. Adjust the spreader to release half of the lime, then sweep across the lawn to form north-south swaths.
Once you have covered the entire lawn in north-south rows, apply the remaining half of the lime in east-west rows. This criss-cross pattern ensures even coverage of the lawn.
Step 6: Water The Lawn
Leaving a limescale on your lawn can burn it. Water the garden so the soil can absorb the lime.
Step 7: How Much Like Should I Apply And What Is The Most Effective Way To Apply It
Soil test results include the amount of lime your lawn needs to be based on soil type and current pH. Follow these recommendations closely, as acceptable amounts can vary significantly depending on soil type.
For example, clay soil requires much more lime than sandy soil to achieve the same results.1,2 Pennington Fast Acting Lime can be easily spread with a regular lawn spreader without the excessive dust and mess of some products.
Water your lawn when you’re done to allow the quick-acting lime to work. Plants like azaleas and blueberries prefer acidic soil, so avoid liming around these acid-loving plants.
By liming your lawn when needed, you will help ensure your lawn receives the nutrients and benefits it needs to grow lush, healthy, and beautiful.
Pennington and the Lawn Line and Pennington Lawn Products are dedicated to helping you take the best care of your lawn so it can grow and be enjoyed to the fullest.
Can You Apply Lime And Fertilizer At The Same Time?
Although you can fertilize your lawn and apply lime to the soil at the same time, it is not recommended. Before liming your lawn, it’s a good idea to test your soil to see which product is needed the most.
A professional lawn or garden contractor can test the soil before treating your lawn, or you can purchase a soil testing kit at a hardware store. Both lime and fertilizer are growth additives, but they have very different properties.
Your fertilizer will help provide your plants and weed with the nutrients they need to thrive. Lime, on the other hand, is used to reduce acidity in the soil, making it easier for nutrients to be absorbed.
Boden will tell you which step to do first.
If you have tested your lawn and found that the soil acidity is too high, your lawn will not be getting the full benefit of the fertilizer.
In this case, it is important to whitewash the lawn first. This prevents the accumulation of unabsorbed nitrates, which can further increase soil acidity.
Once the lime has balanced the pH of the soil, you can apply fertilizer to encourage your lawn to grow.
- Read More: Is Weed And Feed Bad For Your Lawn?
The Benefits Of Liming Your Lawn
The soil beneath your lawn is full of critical macronutrients that help it grow – nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, boron, zinc, and many more. There has to be a perfect balance of these nutrients if you want a lush, green lawn.
When the pH of the soil rises above 6.5 nutrient depletion occurs, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies. If there is a deficiency, not only will your lawn not thrive, but the soil can become toxic and even cause it to die off altogether.
One way to tell if your soil may be acidic is if you notice wilted blades of grass, yellow patches on the grass, grass that is slow in weaving, or a general reduction in grass density. Heartburn can be caused by several external factors.
Too much rain can cause alkali to run off, leading to increased acidity, or it can even be due to over-fertilization.
Whatever the cause, your lawn will benefit from a lime application. By neutralizing acidic soil with lime, your lawn will be healthier, look more attractive and grow much faster. Lime also has a positive effect on the general soil structure.
This improves moisture retention and increases air circulation. Lime is not only good for your lawn, but it can also help improve the soil quality in your garden.
What Happens if I Use Too Much Lime?
Liming your lawn is an effective way to restore soil pH, which in turn results in a healthier lawn. Liming should always be left to professionals, but if you’ve limed your lawn yourself and found a problem, you’re probably overusing it.
leads to a yellowish turf which, moreover, cannot absorb vital moisture and nutrients from the surrounding soil. The best way to correct excessive limescale is to have your soil tested by a professional lawn care company and administer a customized solution.
You can also cover it with fresh organic materials for several weeks to dilute the lime. Or, as a last resort, you can apply horticultural sulfur to your lawn to counteract limescale build-up and bring your soil back to a healthy pH level.
Frequently Asked Lawn Liming Questions
What Is The Best Time To Lime My Lawn?
The best time to lime your lawn depends on the type of lawn you have, the preparation of the soil, and the amount of lime you apply to it. Remember, you shouldn’t apply more than 50 pounds of lime material per 1,000 square feet in a single application.
Divide the required amount in half, and distribute the first half in the spring and the second half in the fall. If you only need to do one lime application, the best time to do it is in the fall.
However, if the fall season is here and your weed is compact and densely stratified during the warm season, you will have to wait until next spring or fall to apply the lime because fall is not a good time to air and remove warm-season grass.
your lawn for the warm season in late spring and then apply lime the following fall. Timing is easier for cool-season grass, as fall is the best time to clean, air, and whitewash grass in cool-season.
What Causes Acid In The Soil?
The soil on your lawn can become acidic for several reasons: • Decomposition of organic matter in the soil • Heavy rain leaches nutrients that reduce soil pHs, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These depleted nutrients are replaced by acidic ions like hydrogen and aluminum.
Fertilizers can increase soil acidity over time, especially fertilizers that contain ammonium, nitrogen, and sulfur. • Acid rain, which contains sulfur dioxide and nitric acid, can lower soil pH.
How Can I Correct Alkaline Soiling?
Apply elemental sulfur, ferrous sulfate, or aluminum sulfate to lower your soil’s pH and increase its acidity. Consult a lab soil test to determine which soil amendment is best for your alkaline lawn. Soil is acidic when its pH falls below 7.
On the other hand, when the pH is above 7, the soil is alkaline. The amount of lime is important because too much lime can make the soil too alkaline.
When Does The Lime Start Working?
Lime can take a year or two to adjust the pH of the soil, so don’t expect instant results after applying lime. Test your soil every year to determine the pH and see how well the lime is working. pH level is reached, you may only need to lime your lawn every few years.
Do I Have To Whitewash My Lawn Every Year?
It depends. After applying lime to your lawn, do a soil test the following year to see if you have reached your desired pH level. It’s still too acidic, you need to do another lime application. Once the ideal pH is reached, you can stop applying lime and resume soil testing every three to five years.
Is The Limescale On My Lawn Safe If I Have Children And Pets?
Yes, keep children and pets off the lawn while applying the lime, and allow the lime to soak into your lawn before resuming activity.
What Causes Fluctuations In Soil pH?
Changes in the pH of a lawn can be caused by several factors, such as B.: Heavy rainfall dissolves nutrients from the soil Decomposing organic matter Animal waste Repeated fertilization over a long period.
Adding lime to the soil maintains the correct pH range for grasses to thrive. When the soil has the optimal pH value, more nutrients are available from the lawn fertilizer, which allows the lawn to grow fuller and denser.
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. Don’t expect the additional application of fertilizer to help as highly acidic soil cannot absorb nutrients effectively.