How Do You Fix Too Much Lime In The Soil
So you have added too much lime to your soil and your lawn has really started to deteriorate, should you be panicking or is there actually a way to fix this situation and get that lush green lawn you were planning on creating when you added the lime.
When you add lime to a lawn that is too acidic for optimal grass growth, what it does is raise the pH level to a more neutral level but if you have added too much it may have raised it beyond neutral to a more alkaline level.
The first thing to do is a ph test of your lawn to confirm you have added too much lime and it has raised the pH level too high.
You have two options of how to fix your lawn if you have added too much lime:
- Wait it out for 4-8 weeks whilst mulching organic matter, keeping your lawn watered and pray it gets better.
- Use more chemicals to fix the problems you created by adding too many chemicals.
So you have chosen option two and you want to take some proactive action to try and correct the pH level of your lawn heres what to do, you have to add horticultural sulfur to your lawn as this will lower the pH but you have to be patient as you dont want to make the same mistake you made when you added lime.
Signs Your Lawn Needs Lime
Plants’ ability to absorb absorb nitrogen is especially affected by soil pH 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:
- Weak growth
- Failure to respond after treatment with fertilizer
- Washed-out color
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.
What Type Of Lime To Buy
Limestone can be derived from either calcitic lime or dolomitic lime. Calcitic lime is the preferred type, thanks to the added plant benefits provided by the calcium. There are several types of calcitic lime products available, including agricultural ground limestone, pulverized limestone, and pelletized limestone. While both pulverized and pelletized limestone will change the pH of the soil relatively quickly, pelletized limestone is the easiest to apply.
While the results of your soil test will tell you how many pounds of pure calcium carbonate to apply to your soil to raise the pH, liming materials are not pure calcium carbonate. Look for the “calcium carbonate equivalent” on the bag label, which will vary depending on the liming material.
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How Long Does It Take For Garden Lime To Work
Garden lime can start working to raise pH within a few months. However, it can take 2 to 3 years for lime to completely react with the soil.
Lime will react completely with the soil in two to three years after it has been applied although, benefits from lime may occur within the first few months after application. How long the effects of lime last will depend on the kind of lime used, total soil acidity, amount of organic matter, kind and amount of clay, and cropping and management systems used. A soil test three to four years after lime application will help provide the answer.
This means that the current soil pH and composition will have an effect on how quickly lime works, and how much you needto use .
For more information, check out this article on soil acidity from the Michigan State University Extension.
Can The Ph Level Of Soil Change
Yes, a changing pH level in your soil is not unusual. Rain can wash away the soil’s calcium, causing the pH level to drop and the acidity level to increase. A lack of rain can then increase the alkaline level of the soil as well. And, the application of fertilizers and lime affect pH level as well.
If needed, begin with a soil test. Then consider spring a good time when to apply lime to a lawn in the Northeast. The grounds warming cycle will have started, so the soil will do a better job of absorbing and distributing the lime.
Also, springtime application of lime will allow for the benefits to be visible in a few months while the lawn is growing and thriving during the summer. Fall application of lime can be helpful if required. The rain and snow common in the fall and winter help the soil absorb the lime.
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Does My Lawn Need Lime
Whether or not your lawn needs lime is dependent upon its soil pH which is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity in your soil. In the Lehigh Valley, the ideal soil pH is 6.5. Anything that gets into the 5.5 or lower is an indication that your lawn definitely needs lime. In the Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA area, its common for soil to be acidic, with the pH on the low side. Lime for lawns helps to raise the pH to where it needs to be in that sweet spot of 6.5 to 7.0.
Even if you end up with the correct soil pH range, its a good idea to check this each year as the pH will have a tendency to lower over time.
Heres What To Do If You Applied Too Much Lime:
- First, conduct a ph test to confirm the ph level is too high. This will help you rule out other potential problems so your next steps are sure to work. I use annually to see what my lawn needs . There are cheap pH meters you can buy locally, but if youre seeing lawn problems, this will tell you exactly where you are, and provide a roadmap to get back on track.
- Once youve established there is too much lime in the soil you have several options to correct the problem.
- The first option is to wait a month or two and mulch organic matter with your mower to amend the soil and water the lawn with the hope that the lawn improves.
- The second option is to add horticultural sulfur to the lawn to lower the ph. If you want an immediate correction, youll probably choose this route, but be careful not to add too much sulfur to your lawn. Too much sulfur can make the soil too acidic, and youll have to amend again. Adding sulfur to the soil to correct the ph levels does take time. There will be a significant amount of time that passes before you see a significant drop in the ph level, so be patient.
- The third option is to top-dress your lawn with a thin layer of screened, finished compost. This will help to feed your lawn and improve the pH balance of your soil naturally. And its great for your turf. If your pH is WAY off, consider mixing in a little sulfur with this so that your lawns pH is corrected .
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Too Much Lime Causes Excessive Calcium In Soil
There is another problem with adding too much lime to your garden: you can end up with excessive calcium in your soil.
Calcium is an important nutrient for the health of plants. According to the University of Georgia, calcium helps plants with:
- Building cell walls
- Extending primary roots
- Transporting nutrients
Although calcium is vital for plants, too much of it will cause problems. For example, high levels of calcium in the soil will prevent plants from absorbing magnesium .
Magnesium is the central atom in a molecule of chlorophyll . You can imagine the problems that will occur if a plant is unable to absorb enough magnesium to make chlorophyll!
For more information, check out my article on magnesium deficiency in plants.
How Long Does It Take For Lime To Work On Grass
When you apply lime to your lawn it is not a quick fix and you will not see the effects immediately or possibly anytime soon, it will take time.
Depending on the starting condition of your lawn and the type of lime you apply it can actually take 1-3 years for the full effects of applying lime to fully materialize and improve your lawn. However, you will probably start to see some effects after a few months.
Here are the types of agricultural lime for your lawn that are popular:
- Dolomitic Lime dolomite is a mineral that is found in limestone and it is rich in calcium and magnesium. It is normally sold in pellets or powder that can be easily spread over your lawn. Dolomitic lime is a slow-acting lime but this has the benefit of making it less likely to burn your plants or grass.
- Calcitic Lime calcitic lime it the lime you will see the fastest results from applying it to your lawn. However this lime is so powerful there is a real risk that you will burn your lawn if you use it, this type of lime is probably best left for professional lawn care experts.
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When Should I Lime My Lawn
The best time for a lawn lime application in Charlotte is during the fall or winter. Most landscape professionals will test soil pH in spring and then apply lime in winter or fall. Lime can take several months to break down and change soil pH after being used. Since you add lime during the colder months, it can work into the soil and change the soil pH before the roots become active in spring.
If you add lime during the warmer months of the year, it can damage the lawn. You always want to add lime before the warmer spring weather. In fact, the fall and winter freeze-thaw cycles, as well as the winter wet season, help break down lime so it becomes part of the soil.
If your lawn is already stressed, do not add lime. It will further damage the grass. The same rule applies to a dormant lawn.
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 .
*Tip- If you fall into a category of needing more than 100 lbs per 1000 s/f to solve your ph problem its 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.
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When To Apply Garden Lime
Some experts recommend adding lime to your garden at the end of the growing season to give it enough time to work through the soil. Lime needs time to react with water in order to be beneficial to your garden plants, so at the very least, it needs several weeks or months to adjust the pH and help make more nutrients available to your plants.
If you get your soil tested at the end of the winter, add lime immediately as recommended by the test results. Lime works best when mixed or tilled into the soil at the depth in which your garden will be planted so dont just spread lime on the surface of the vegetable garden and hope it works. Mix it into the soil well before your frost-free date indicates you can plant your vegetables or flowers.
Gardens found in acidic soil areas benefit from annual or bi-annual applications of garden lime. Raised bed gardens may get away with fewer applications. A soil test, however, is the best way to tell whether or not it is time to apply garden lime.
What Are The Benefits Of Putting Lime On Your Lawn
First of all, you should be aware that not all lawns will benefit from putting lime on it and some lawns will never need to be treated with lime to alter the pH level.
If you have tested your soil or have hired a professional to test and apply lime then there are a number of benefits you will see for your lawn, however it wont be immediate and it will more than likely be several months before you start to see any change.
- You should start to notice less weeds growing as weeds normally only take over where the soil is not ideal for grass, making your soil ideal for thriving grass will naturally result in fewer weeds.
- After you have applied lime to your lawn you will see the benefit of fertilizer being highly effective again, this means adding fertilizer will not seem like a waste of time anymore you will see a benefit.
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Your Rights To Your Data
How Much Lime Should I Add To My Yard
Ground limestone, commonly referred to as agricultural lime or simply lime, has long been valued as a readily available yet highly effective soil amendment. Lime supplies calcium, an essential nutrient, but lime’s widely appreciated benefits are attributable primarily to its effect on soil pH. Proper applications of lime will ensure that your lawn grass has an adequate supply of calcium and that the soil pH remains in the optimal range.
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Common Questions Asked About Lime Applications
Can you apply lime and grass seed at the same time?
Lime can be mixed with seed or fertilizer and applied at the same time or they can be applied separately, one after the other.
How much lime is needed on a lawn?
In most cases, 5 to 10 pounds of lime per 1,000 sq. ft. is the standard rate, unless a soil test indicates different amounts need to be applied.
Can the application burn the lawn?
Too much of a good thing is never a good idea, but rates of as high as 50 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. can be applied without damage to the lawn if recommended by a soil test.
Is it harmful to pets?
Lime is considered relatively non-toxic to family pets. They are free to walk across a lawn that has been treated with lime. If it has been applied as a liquid instead of in a granular formulation, it would be best to keep your pets off the lawn until the spray has dried.
The important thing to understand is that one application may be good for one year, but the material will be used up by the soil microbes and will also leach through the soil profile. That is why annual applications may be required, if so indicated by a soil test. To find out more about lime applications, contact your local lawn care professional at Spring-Green or visit our services page to learn more about this treatment.
How To Apply Lime
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 its easier to adjust your soils pH before planting grass seed or laying sod than it is to add it to an established lawn. Once youve applied lime to correct your soils pH, chances are you will not have to re-lime for several years.
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 , 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.
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Understanding Garden Soil Ph
Before learning more about lime and garden lime uses, its important to understand a basic chemistry concept called pH level. The pH scale measures hydrogen ions on a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Youve probably heard the terms acid and alkaline. Those terms refer to the far extremes of the scale, with 0 being a pure acid and 14 being a pure alkaline. The midpoint, 7, is called neutral.
Most living organisms prefer a pH somewhere near the neutral portion of the range, although variations arent uncommon. Among plants, different plants prefer different soil pH, depending on where the species evolved.
Blueberry plants, for instance, evolved in the acidic soils of rocky, cold areas, and so they require a garden soil pH of 4 to 5.5 for best production. Blueberries are an extremely acid-loving plant so you may be looking at how to make garden soil more acidic. On the opposite end of the spectrum are vegetables such as asparagus, which can tolerate an extremely alkaline soil pH of up to 8.0, almost unheard of among vegetables.
When the soil pH isnt within a usable range for a plant species, diseases occur. For example, blossom end rot, a problem in tomatoes, occurs for many reasons, but one important reason is improper soil pH. When soil pH is too low or too high for tomatoes, they cant absorb calcium, an important mineral necessary for good fruit development. Black, flat spots called blossom end rot then develop in the tomatoes.