One of the worst nightmares of a homeowner is a weedy and patchy, dried up lawn. More often than not, this pervasive problem can be traced back to an imbalance in the pH of your soil. Too much of an acidic content in the soil can lead to this condition.
The primary and easiest method of correcting this problem is to add lime to your lawn. Lime can work wonders on your lawn and completely morph your patchy dried up grass into a vibrant, green, velvety oasis.
Before you head out to shop for lime, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to test your soil to make sure that it indeed is acidic and needs liming, and secondly, the positive effects of adding lime can take some time to show.
With that information in our hand, let us see the steps involved in treating a lawn with lime and the steps that need to be taken.
Begin by checking the pH of your soil
Testing your soil is always a good idea if you are having trouble with your lawn. You can purchase a testing kit from your garden supply store and do the test yourself.
One of the results the test reveals is the pH of your soil. A pH scale assigns a numeric value between 1 to 14 to the acidity or basicity of the soil with 7 being neutral. Numbers between 1 and 7 indicate acidic soil.
Most of the lawn grasses are the happiest when the soil pH is between 6 to 7, which is slightly acidic to neutral. The pH of your soil is governed by several factors such as rainfall, fertilizers, decaying organic matter, pesticides, and of course, pollution. Hence, it is smart to check the pH every once in a while if you are facing any issues.
If your test reveals that your soil has high acidity, liming is a great idea. However, if your soil is already alkaline, then not so much.
What is the best time to lime?
Now that you have established that your soil needs liming, its time to choose when to do it. The best time to lime your lawn is right between late fall and early spring. Adding lime just before the first frost is the best. The soil will have all the winter to absorb the lime.
If you are planning to seed your lawn, add lime to the soil right before you plant.
What type of lime to choose?
The next order of business is to find the right kind of lime. Most commonly, the product used to lime lawns is agricultural ground limestone. There is a whole myriad of lime varieties to choose from. Some are calico, meaning they contain calcium, while the others are dolomitic, containing both calcium as well as magnesium. The best way to choose is based on the relative neutralizing value. Pick one with high relative neutralizing value to ensure that the lime is of high quality.
Also, buy a product that is in a pellet rather than powdered form, it is easier to apply and safer to handle.
What is the amount of lime required?
Another important step before you lime the lawn is to decide how much lime is needed. This will largely depend on the pH results of your soil test. It is always a good idea to check with your county extension office regarding the amount of lime to be used. As a general rule of thumb, apply about 75 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet of your lawn followed by another 75 pounds a couple of years later after you retest the soil.
If you are seeding the lawn, a total of 150 pounds of lime can be applied all at once to the soil worked into the first 4 to 6 inches.
How to apply lime to the lawn?
There are a couple of ways you can add lime to your lawn, depending on what type of lime you chose. If you happen to choose the pellet form, you can use a drop style or a rotary spreader. Although the rotary spreaders don’t work well with the powder form of lime as the fine particles tend to clog the openings.
Alternatively, you can spread the lime directly by hand. Just make sure that you spread the lime in a crisscross pattern to get extensive coverage and always plan liming on a day with calm winds. Gusts of wind can carry lime dust away, which can be very uncomfortable for passers-by.
Also, keep lime away from plants like blueberries and azaleas as they require acidic soil.
Something to take away
Liming can be a boon to a dried-up lawn and can infuse new life in the listless yellow turf. However, liming should be done only after testing your soil and in the correct proportion. We hope that with this information in your arsenal, you are ready to ‘neutralize’ the acidic nemesis in your soil and rejuvenate your lawn to its past glory!