How To Spread Lime
This article was co-authored by Maggie Moran. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 84% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 355,370 times.
Lime is derived from limestone and is used in agriculture and gardening to balance the acidity level of soil. For home use, it is typically bought in pellets or powder. Lime is spread on lawns that are not growing well to help the soil become more hospitable for grass. Spreading lime is best done after you test the soil to find out the pH level, which measures acidity. The process involves purchasing the right amount of lime, using a spreader, tilling the ground, watering to help the lime take, and checking again after one month and one year to see how the lime has affected the soils pH.
Can You Put Too Much Lime On Your Lawn
Agricultural lime could be a lifeline for anyone looking to spruce up or revive a lawn that has seen better days.
But can you put too much lime on your lawn? Unknown to many who try this trick, you can have too much of a good thing. Too much lime can limit your lawns access to nutrients, damage your grass, inflict high soil alkalinity disorders, and even turn your grass yellow the last of which was probably the reason you decided to lime your grass in the first place.
So, how will you know if you have applied too much lime? What should you do if you have applied too much lime?;Here is your comprehensive guide to the question: can you put too much lime on your lawn?
The Best Way To Apply Lime
First of all, lime should only be applied to a dry lawn. The lawn should not be dormant or stressed. It will be easiest to change the pH of the soil by adjusting it before you plant grass seed or lay the sod.
If that is possible, you will mix the limestone with the top five inches of the soil. If you do this, you may not need to add lime again for several years.
If you are going to add lime to anexisting lawn, you need to aerate the lawn with a core aerator. Thisway, the lime will be able to mix with the soil. Then you can use arotary spreader to apply the limestone to your yard. You should crossthe yard in perpendicular directions to make sure that it is entirelytreated with the lime.
The results of your soil test will tell you how much lime needs to be added and it is very important to follow their guidelines. If your soil needs more than 50 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet, you will need to apply half in the spring and half in the fall.
Once you apply the lime, be sure that you water your lawn to remove any lime from the grass.
After several months, you need to test your soil again. If your soil pH is where it needs to be, you wont have to do anything else but you will find out whether you need to add more lime.
Once you get the pH level of your soil where it should be, you can check it once every year or two to make sure that it is staying where it needs to be. The most important thing to remember is to test your soil before you add lime.
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Signs Your Garden Needs A Lime Application
If you have attempted all sorts of fertilizers, conditioners, or weed killers, without any significant improvement in your garden, the pH level might be the culprit. The pH level might be unbalanced hence the need to fix it by adding lime. Here are some telltale signs that your vegetable garden needs lime application:
All the above are indications that your garden soil is unhealthy and could need a lime application. The definite test to confirm this, however, is by testing to confirm the pH level of the garden. We will explore a DIY garden soil pH test you can try right from home.
Test to Confirm the Soil pH Level;
For your plants and vegetables to be healthy, they need soil with the right nutrient. The measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a compound is the pH level. It is pretty essential as it determines if your plants and vegetables will thrive. Also, it determines if they will absorb the needed nutrient they need to flourish from the soil.
Materials you Need
- Two cups
Method of conducting the pH test;
How To Apply Lime To Your Lawn & Soil
The most common form of lime used for grass is Dolomitic lime. You can contact a professional lawn care specialist to take care of liming your lawn or can do it on your own if you have experience. Lime for lawncare comes in both pellet and powder form. Both are equally effective in stabilizing the pH of the soil. Lime is applied to grass via a tiller or a drop spreader. This ensures that the application is even and that no one area gets too much lime. The more finely ground the lime, the quicker it will react in your soil.
We recommend hiring professionals to take care of liming your lawn. The process can be messy, and lime powder can be harmful if inhaled. Wearing a commercial-grade breathing mask will help limit exposure, but it is important to clean the surrounding surfaces once it has been applied to the lawn. Lime powder will often stick to paves surfaces and can erode plastics if not properly cleaned. Most lawn care companies will use lime pellets to help prevent many of the cleanup and breathing complications that come with the lime application. Another advantage of using lime pellets is that they are formulated for timed release. This will ensure proper coverage for your entire yard.
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Does Lime Need To Be Watered In
Lime must be watered into soil to be effective. Lime works by penetrating the soil, where it introduces calcium and magnesium as it corrects soil pH levels. Water is essential for pulling lime down into the soil so it can benefit plants and make your yard less hospitable for weeds.
- Lime must be watered in to be effective.
- Lime left on the surface will not provide nutrients such as calcium and magnesium.
- Unwatered lime will not reduce soil acidity.
Lime balances soil by penetrating it and mixing with soil particles to change the chemical balance of your yard. This takes time and patience, as lime is relatively slow-acting. Patient watering yields the best results.
Maintaining Your Lawn’s Ph
Allow the lime to work for several months, then have your soil professionally tested again. For example, if you applied lime in the spring, test again in the fall. If your soil is still too acidic, you can apply additional lime based on the recommendations of the soil test. If your soil pH is where it should be, you will not need to do anything else. Going forward, check your soil every 1 to 2 years to see if it is becoming too acidic. Remember: Always test your soil before adding lime.
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How Do You Fix Too Much Lime In Soil
If you add too much lime to your soil and make the pH toohigh, there is a way to fix it.; You canadd sulfur to your soil to lower the pH, making it more acidic.
This can be done with elemental sulfur or ammonium sulfate, but be careful!; If you add too much sulfur, you may end up on the opposite end of the spectrum, with soil that is too acidic.
Finally, remember that sulfur also takes time to workcompletely, just like lime does.; So,there will be a delay between when you add sulfur to the soil and when you seea noticeable drop in pH.
For this reason, it is best to apply sulfur to your soil in the fall, to give it plenty of time to work over the winter and spring.; That way, the pH should be closer to normal when you go to plant the next years garden.
Of course, the best way to avoid pH problems is to get asoil test from an extension office & get advice from them, depending onwhat plants you want to grow.
Can Lime Burn The Lawn
Lime for your lawn is a chemical and there are many different types you could use for your lawn and there are also many different types you should not use for your lawn.
As long as you use a lime that is designed for putting on lawns there is very little risk that you will burn it.
If you apply lime around some other plants it could be harmful but applying it on a grass lawn will not burn it.
Applying lime to your lawn is not something I would recommend unless you really know what you are doing so if you are unsure you should contact an expert lawn care professional to first test the pH to assess if it needs lime and then to actually apply it in the correct dose.
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Tips To Keep In Mind When Applying Lime
The right soil pH is critical for bountiful crop provision. Most beginners often wonder when is the best time to apply lime. While we will answer this question in some sections below, we have these tips that can guide you when using lime.
Lime at Interval: It is essential to lime regularly to prevent the soil pH from getting critically low. The timing will, however, depend on the condition of the soil as determined by the soil pH. Some people only need to lime every 3 to 4 years for their soil to be at optimum capacity.
Plan Ahead: Correction of the soil pH is not a magic process. Even the best quality lime needs some time to react and take effect. Keep in mind that it takes about six months before you get the desired pH level. This is crucial if you are dealing with soil with a pretty low pH level.
Take note of the Soil Condition: The best soil for limestone application is dry soil. You can also apply limestone to the frozen ground to reduce compaction. This shouldnt be a problem, so long the limestone will not be washed off by rain or snow
What Are The Signs Your Lawn Needs Lime
So you suspect that your lawn needs a treatment of lime to change the pH level of your soil and make it better suited for growing grass there are a number of signs you can look out for
- If your grass has lost its green color and is instead a shade of yellow.
- If weeds such as moss and clover start to thrive and take over your lawn.
- When you apply fertilizer to your lawn you see practically no improvement to your grass.
These are signs that your lawn has become too acidic to be ideal for grass to grow healthy and lush green. If you notice these signs on your lawn I wouldnt just go out and apply a ton of lime treatment as these are simply indications.
The only way to properly and accurately check the pH of your lawn is to test it, this could be by using a home test or by calling in professionals to do a test for you.
If you are not sure about applying lime it would probably be a good idea in the interest of preventing a total disaster to call in the professionals because if you get it wrong you could accidentally destroy your lawn.
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Why Lime Is Used
The main reason for using lime is to reduce the acidity of a soil that is acid or, in other words, to sweeten the soil. Few plants will grow well in a very acid soil mainly because their intake of plant foods is reduced; phosphates, in particular, get locked up in acid soils. There is often a shortage of calcium in very acid soils.
Aluminum and manganese, on the other hand, are often released in such large amounts that they can poison many plants. Tomatoes, beans and brassicas are particularly sensitive in this respect.
Test Your Soil Ph Level
You can buy do-it-yourself soil pH test kits or soil pH meters to find out whether you need to add lime but they will not recommend how much to add.
Most state or county cooperative extension agencies actually come out, test your pH, and analyze your soil to recommend how much lime you should apply to raise your soils pH level.
Not only do you receive accuratetest results but it is helpful to have the recommendation from themso that you add the correct amount of lime.
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How To Tell Whether Soil Needs Lime
The presence of spurrey, sheeps sorrel, corn marigold and other weeds that thrive in acid soils often indicates the need for lime, but these weeds are not very reliable indicators since they continue to grow for some time in soils that have been limed. If you see rhododendrons and blue hydrangeas growing really well in nearby gardens it is fairly safe to assume that your soil is naturally acid. But the only reliable method of finding out whether a soil is acid or alkaline is to carry out a soil test for lime. An old-fashioned way of telling whether a soil was limey was by pouring some dilute hydrochloric acid on to the soil to see whether it fizzed but this does not help very much; if a soil is rich in calcium carbonate it will react with the added acid and carbon dioxide gas which causes the fizzing. Lack of fizzing, however, is not a reliable indicator that lime is needed and, of course, this test gives no idea as to the amount of lime required to correct acidity in an acid soil.
How To Conduct Ph Test
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When To Lime Your Lawn
And how much lime to add to lawn and garden.
The measurement of soil acidity is defined by its pH level. The scale of pH runs from 0 to 14 with a pH of 7 as neutral. Anything above a soil pH of 7 is alkaline and below a pH of 7 is an acidic soil.
Most grass seeds will grow fine with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.5, and for the ideal grass pH, most lawns would thrive with a 6.8 to 7. The exception being centipede grass which like a soil pH more on the acid side around the 6.0 area.
How To Apply Hydrated Lime To Lawns
Soils with a pH value of less than 7.0 are considered acidic, and those with a pH value of 7.0 are neutral. Generally, a pH value of 6.5 to 7.0 provides optimum growing conditions for most landscapes, so it is important to amend acidic soils with a liming material. No matter the pH value, hydrated lime may be used to lower it any time of the year, preferably fall, winter or early spring on established landscapes. The amount of hydrated lime required will vary with the current and optimal pH value of the soil. Have the soil tested prior to applying hydrated lime, especially because it is about 1 1/2 times more effective than calcium carbonate pound for pound.
Collect a soil sample to a depth of 4 inches on established lawns or 6 inches prior to seeding using a small shovel or soil probe. Take 12 or more random samples from the area. Mix the soil samples together in a plastic bucket, and gather only 1 1/2 to 2 cups of it to air-dry overnight. Package it in a soil sample box, and send it to a local county extension office for testing.
Put on a pair of gardening gloves. Switch a drop spreader to the “Off” position, and fill the hopper — the big open basket on top of the wheels — on the sidewalk with the hydrated lime. Adjust the setting on the handle to spread the calculated amount of hydrated lime.
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