Lime And The Home Lawn
Many homeowners will apply lime to their lawn once a year with the hopes of improving the quality and density of the turfgrass. However, there may not be a complete understanding of why a lime application can be an important aspect of a home lawncare program, how to determine if liming is needed, and how one should go about effectively applying lime to the lawn.
Retention And Deletion Of Data
Benefits Of Liming Your Lawn
Of course, liming your lawn is more than just improving the quality of the soil. There are other benefits to this inorganic mineral that your grass will appreciate in moderate doses. Here are some of these benefits.
- Increase pH levels: As the pH levels drop in your lawn, thats a sign that the soil is getting more acidic or sour for the best interests of the grass. Mixing more lime into the lawn in the right amounts can stop this drop in pH levels and bring the soil structure back to neutral levels.
- Add nutrients: No matter how hardy the grass in your lawn is, it will still benefit from a good shot of calcium and magnesium in the soil. You often have to add these plant food supplements to the lawn when the grass loses its lush green color or shows signs of stress as a result of drought or high temperatures.
- Nourish good bacteria: Even if lime doesnt have all the essential nutrients to improve the growth of the grass, the good bacteria in your soil needs it. Add lime in the fall in combination with compost to encourage the growth of the good bacteria that break down the organic materials in the soil.
- Counter rainfall impact: Its a well-known fact that the soil on the East coast is often more acidic than in the rest of the country. This has to do with the constant rainfall that washes away the alkaline materials in the soil. So adding lime will replenish those essential minerals and make the soil more arable.
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Now Lets Look At Five Reasons You Should Be Liming Your Lawn
Balances the soils pH
Acidic soil can be common here in East Tennessee, especially during this time of year. The problem with acidic soil is that it robs the soil of its necessary nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that help plants and grass thrive. Maintaining the soils pH will keep your lawn looking healthy and lush.
Jazzes up your fertilizers performance
Adding lime to your lawn can help jazz up your fertilizers performance. The lime works by fueling the healthy bacteria in your soil. This, in turn, helps increase the fertilizers performance. For best results, however, correct your soils pH before fertilizing, which is most often recommended during the fall here in East Tennessee.
Helps control weeds
Weeds love acidic conditions. This is why you might be struggling to control the weeds in your lawn, and why your grass seeds arent sprouting. Altering the pH of your soil by adding lime will make growing conditions dim for those pesky weeds, and help create a healthier environment for grass to grow.
Manages moss growth
Just like weeds, moss prefers to grow in acidic conditions. Regularly liming your lawn can help control moss growth. While liming your lawn will not control moss that is currently growing on your lawn, it can help control future moss growth. But, if you have a moss infestation in your lawn, you may need to look into moss control treatments.
Preserves and protects your lawn
When Should You Apply Lime
Early spring is a great time for lime and fertilizer applications. Again, its important to test your soils pH first. If you havent planted grass seed yet, apply lime first to make your soil a better host for the grass seed. Ask your lawn care professional to test your soil and recommend the right products for your turf.
Your soil will probably require regular lime applications for a few years to achieve an optimal pH level. The good news is that once you hit the right pH, maintaining that level often calls for less frequent lime applications.
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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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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.
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How To Apply Lime To Lawn
1. Take A Soil Test- You can learn more about soil testing here: How to Do a Soil Test
2. Purchase Lime- Purchase a quality pelletized lime such as Soil Doctor. This can be purchased at big box stores or garden centers.
3. Figure Out Application Rate- Use chart above to figure how much lime to apply.
4. Set Spreader and Apply- A reliable broadcast spreader is much better then a drop spreader.
If you set your broadcast spreader dial to 2/3 open and apply twice in a checkered pattern, that should disperse at a rate of 50 lbs per 1000 s/f.
This part can get a little confusing since you need to adjust according to how much lime needs to be applied.
For example if you only need to add 25 lbs of lime per 1000 s/f then set your dial to half of 2/3 open, which is 1/3.
For a better understanding of application rates check out: How to Fertilize Your Lawn
5. Water- If you have an irrigation system then irrigate after applying lime. If you cant water afterwards its really not a problem as long as you dont apply during a stretch of hot temperatures.
How Will I Know If Lime Is A Good Option For My Lawn
When your soil becomes too acidic, grasses struggle to grow and stay healthy, while plants and weeds flourish in acidic soil and take over your lawn. Lawn moss signifies that your soil pH has become too low for strong, healthy grass growth. Another warning sign includes increases in common lawn weeds, diseases, and insect pests.
You will know that something is not right with your lawn if it still does not look healthy, even if you are:
- Watering your lawn frequently
- Frequently mowing and mowing at the correct height for your grass
- Recycling grass clippings back onto the lawn
- Fertilizing your lawn as needed and seeing little results
Tee Time Tip: Again, a soil test is the best way to find out if your lawn soil is acidic and needs liming. Make sure to rule out other common lawn problems such as the ones listed above
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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, 85% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 357,917 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.
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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Where Can I Buy Lime For My 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 1889 for a wide range of clients. Baker mines the lime in York County, Pennsylvania and provides service throughout most of the northeastern United States including Delaware, , New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
You can imagine how 126 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. Youll encounter friendly people who know how to listen and have the expertise needed to respond to your needs quickly and efficiently. Let us help you cultivate an ideal lawn! Find and contact your local Baker Lime dealer today.
Types Of Lime For Lawns
Lets get started with what lime is. Its a soil amendment made from ground limestone, which is found in different types around the world. This is a naturally occurringand very richsource of calcium.
For lawn care, there are two types of lime most commonly used. These include dolomitic lime and agricultural lime. Whats the difference? Agricultural lime is made from calcium carbonate, which is a fairly common type of limestone. Dolomitic lime comes from dolomite, which is a rock that is similar to limestone, but contains magnesium in addition to calcium.
In addition to slightly differing ingredients, lime also comes in different forms like liquids, pellets, granular, and powder. Choosing which form to use depends on equipment and application. For instance, if you want to mix lime into loose soil, powder will be the easiest to mix. Liquid can be applied with a sprayer, and pellets and granular lime can be distributed with a spreader.
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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.
How Do You Apply Lime
Use a sprayer for liquid lime, a shaker for powdered lime, or a lawn seeder/spreader for granulated and pelleted lime.
If you have acidic soils, applying lime will help your grass grow thicker, greener and lusher. Perform a soil test to determine how much you need, and if you can, try to apply it in the fall so that your yard is ready to grow in the spring.
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How Often Should I Lime My Lawn
Once the lawn area is limed, you may need to repeat that process every 1-2 years. Sometimes a bit longer, but that decision always begins with a soil pH test.
Lime lawn treatments in Charlotte should always be a proactive measure, meaning you should only decide to lime your lawn once you know what your soil pH is. If you apply lime without checking the initial pH and raise it too high or too low, the lawn will suffer. The general rule of thumb is that 50lbs of lime will dress 1,000 sqft of a lawn. The soil pH will also give you a more precise indication of how much lime you need.
If your lawn needs lime, then follow these rules:
- Generally, only apply 50 lbs of lime or less during the initial application.
- If you need more than 50 lbs of lime to fully treat the soil, then apply the lime in two applications. The first occurs in early spring, and the second in the next fall or winter.
- After lime treatment is complete, repeat every few years if pH soil indicates you need it.
- Check the lawn soil pH every 1-2 years.
- Only add lime when the soil pH test indicates the pH is dropping.