How, When, and Why To Apply Lime To Your Lawn

If you’re like most people, you probably think of lime as a food additive or a cleaning product. But what you may not know is that another type of lime – that is, ground up limestone – can also be beneficial to your lawn. Applying lime to your lawn can seem like a daunting task, but it is merely a simple and necessary step in order to keep your lawn healthy and looking great.

When it comes to lime, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions floating around. Some people think that lime is only necessary for acidic soils, while others add lime to their lawns every year regardless of the soil pH. So, what’s the truth about lime? In this blog post, we’ll discuss how, when, and why you should apply lime to your lawn. So, if you’re interested in keeping your lawn healthy and looking great, keep reading to find out how!

What Is Lime?

Lime, also called Agricultural Lime or Ag Lime, is a soil amendment that is made from pulverized, or ground up, limestone or chalk. The main active component in it is calcium carbonate.

Lime also adds calcium and magnesium to the soil. These nutrients are essential for plant growth.

Lime is a soil amendment made from limestone that helps correct acidic soils by raising pH levels.

Benefits of Lime On Your Lawn

So, is it a good thing to add pulverized limestone to the soil of your lawn? What does lime do for lawns?

The first thing to remember is that not every lawn needs lime. You only should utilize it if your lawn’s pH level is excessively acidic, which is less than 6 or 6.2 on the pH scale. You want your grass to be around a pH of 6.5, so how many applications and how strong they are will be determined by how acidic your lawn was to begin with.

When applied to your lawn, lime can help improve the overall health of the grass by providing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The rising pH level also means that the soil is better equipped to store, release, and use these nutrients. It can also improve the structure, aeration, water retention, and drainage of your soil.

Applying lime to your lawn can also help improve its health and appearance, through a process that helps to restore the soil’s pH balance. This is important because it can help your lawn become more resistant to pests and diseases, and make it easier for grass to take in nutrients from the soil. It also adds more healthy microbe activity to your soil, which help to break down thatch, organic waste, and fertilizer.

What Are The Different Types of Lime?

There are several different types of lime available on the market, each with its own set of benefits, so it’s important to understand which one is best for your needs. The most common type of lawn lime is that which uses calcium carbonate as its base material. This is called calcitic limestone.

Other types of limestone application are dolomitic lime as well as hydrated lime. Dolomitic lime may be used to provide similar benefits to your soil as agricultural lime while also providing magnesium. Hydrated lime can be used as a disinfectant, producing a dry and alkaline environment in which bacteria do not thrive. It may also be used as an insect repellent, as it doesn’t harm neither pest or plant.

You can also potentially find rarer lime applications such as burnt lime, quicklime, and slaked lime, but these aren’t necessary to use and don’t feature as a backyard lime solution.

How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime

There are several indicators that your lawn requires an application of lime. If your plants aren’t growing as fast as they should, if you notice patches of dead grass or brown and yellow spots on your lawn, or if the leaves on your plants are curling, it’s time to apply lime. Another indication of a highly acidic lawn requiring lime correction is a large weed infestation.

Additionally, on average sandy soil and clay soil are both naturally acidic, so you can counteract that with a lime application. Regardless of the soil’s makeup, if it is lower than 6.2 after testing it with a pH tester, you should consider lime applications.

How to Apply Lime To Lawn

How do you go about applying lime to your lawn once you’ve decided it need it? One of the first things to consider is how to prepare your grass. You should mow and aerate your yard so that the lime may do its job best.

Soil pH Testing

Make sure to check the soil’s pH with a pH testing kit before applying lime. It measures the soil chemically or electronically and reads out a pH value.

To acquire a fully precise reading, do this in a few different areas of your yard or garden. You’ll know whether you need to apply lime or not depending on its findings, as well as how often and how much.

Check out another of our posts to find a home soil pH testing kit.

When Should You Lime Your Lawn? 

The best time to lime your grass is in the fall. You don’t have to be concerned about your lawn being burnt by the lime, as there’s less sun and generally cooler weather.

If your lawn is excessively acidic, two applications of lime may be required. If this is the case, apply once in the spring and again in the fall. Avoid applying lime during the hot summer months since it can burn your grass.

After you’ve treated your garden with lime, follow up with a soil test to see if the pH problem is alleviating. Keep in mind that this takes time – if you apply lime in the fall, test the next spring, and a spring application means a late summer or early fall pH test. After two to four weeks, you should notice a significant difference in the soil pH, but it may take six to twelve months for the lime to fully dissolve and incorporate.

How Much Lime to Add to Your Lawn

The quantity of lime required by your soil is determined by two things – the starting pH and the soil type and consistency. Lime applications can be a trial-and-error process unless you conduct a thorough soil test. A home pH testing kit can determine the acidity of the soil, but you must also consider the type of soil in question.

Lawn grasses can live in a pH range of 5.5 and 7.5, although the optimum is 6.5 to 7.0. A slightly acidic lawn may be improved with 20 to 50 pounds of ground limestone per 1000 square feet.

Highly acidic or heavy clay soil may need anywhere from 80 to 100 pounds. Soil with sandy loam consistency likely needs around 50 pounds per 1000 square feet, and dirt with a more medium loam composition could need up to 70 pounds of lime.

Lime Application Tips

If you’re using a granular lime product, a rotary spreader would spread out the lime pellets better than a drop spreader. You can also add fertilizer into this mixture if you need to.

Be sure to water your lawn after applying lime. However, you don’t want to apply it when the lawn is too wet, so wait a few days after a rainstorm.

Additionally, as a note of caution – if your lawn’s pH is already neutral or alkaline, adding lime will be a hindrance rather than a help since it will push it even more alkaline and your plants would not be able to obtain the vital macronutrients they require.

Does A New Lawn Need Lime?

Yes, a new lawn could potentially need a liming application. However, the only way to know for sure is to use a soil pH test to determine if your lawn is too acidic for grasses and plants to thrive.

Ending Thoughts

When it comes to your lawn, you may think that all you need to do is water it and mow it. However, you now know that lime is also a vital part of keeping your grass healthy and green. In this post, we’ve discussed what lime is, the benefits of using it on your lawn, how to tell if your lawn needs lime, and how to apply it correctly.

A well-manicured lawn can really boost your home’s curb appeal, so take the time today to check if your lawn needs lime added to it, and get to work if it does! We hope this post has helped you to learn more about lime and the process for how it works. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us today, and if you’re interested in learning how to have a luscious lawn year-round, subscribe to our email list below!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.