Lime For Lawns Reduces Soil Acidity
Kelly Burke is a professional turf manager for a manicured corporate campus in New England. He is accredited in organic land care and is a licensed pesticide applicator. He formerly managed the turfgrass as a golf course superintendent and has held several senior management positions at private country clubs overseeing high maintenance lawns.
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Soil pH, an important element in proper plant care, is a measure of its relative acidity or alkalinity. For most plants to thrive, the pH level needs to be in the range of about 6 to 7, which is just slightly acidic. A lower pH level, indicative of very acidic soil, is problematic because it prevents plants from absorbing nutrients. In a soil with a very acidic pH of 4.5, for example, it is estimated that about 70 percent of applied fertilizer is wasted because plants can’t make use of it. If your soil is too acidic, you can add agricultural lime for lawns when applied systematically as a soil amendment, it can work to adjust the overall soil pH away from the acidic side and back toward neutral pH.
Why You Should Lime Your Lawn In Spring
Although it may not feel like it in many parts of our great country, it is, technically, officially spring in Canada. We made it, folks! Lawn care season is just around the corner.
Early spring is an ideal time to lime your lawn, and is a great way to further improve your soil after performing a core aeration on your lawn. If your lawn is wilted or dormant, never apply lime instead, wait for a time when the lawn is actively growing like early spring or fall.
Regular liming can do a wealth of good for your grass. With a number of benefits, calcitic lime is a welcome addition for every home lawn, especially those that need a little TLC.
With baseball starting and Easter coming fast, it’s hard to deny that spring is here. That means it’s time to start mentally preparing for the lawn care season, even if your grass won’t see any action for a few weeks yet.
Here’s why spring is the perfect time to lime your lawn
Balance Soil pH
When soil is acidic, it becomes extremely hard to grow healthy grass. As the soil acidity gets worse, plant essential nutrients become unavailable for the plant to uptake, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – the three macro nutrients required for healthy growth. Neutralizing soil pH effectively frees up these essential nutrients, giving your lawn a better chance to thrive.
Apply Lime In A Criss
With your drop or broadcast spreader in tow, spread the lime as you would your lawn fertilizer. Set the spreader to release half of the lime and then push the spreader across the lawn, creating rows north to south.
Once youve covered the whole lawn with rows going north to south, apply the remaining half of the lime in rows headed east to west. This criss-cross pattern ensures uniform coverage across the entire lawn.
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How To Put Lime On Your Lawn
Liming is a technique used to restore the pH balance in soil. Lime works by neutralizing acidic compounds that are present in the soil. This can be beneficial for lawns as well, as excess acidity can impede root growth, reduce nutrient availability and cause issues with disease and pests.
While it might appear complicated at first glance, applying lime is actually pretty simple once you understand what it does and why you should use it.
How Often Should You Lime Your Lawn
If you are laying a new lawn and you have tested it and it is showing a high acidic pH level it is easiest if you add the lime into the soil straight away as it does take several months before it starts to change the pH level in the soil is applied to it.
When you are going to add lime to an established lawn it is important you prepare it so that it will get the most benefit that youre hoping for. You should prepare your lawn before you add lime by aerating it is this will open it up and I will make it easier for the lime to reach down into the areas you want it to get to.
When you apply lime to your lawn it can take several months for it to work into the soil and change the pH level for this reason after a few months you should check the pH level again to see if it needs another application of lime.
Once you get the pH level of your lawn to the correct level it should stay good for at least 2 or 3 years before you have to worry about adding any more lime to it.
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The Region Receives A Lot Of Rainfall
If your area gets a lot of rainfall in the winter, or if there are storms, it is likely that you have to apply a lot of lime.
Water leaches calcium and magnesium out of the soil, so acidity increases.
If a lot of precipitation has fallen over the past few years, lime must be prepared. This helps reduce acid levels.
Does Your Lawn Need Lime
A lawn that is yellowed, cant recover from drought stress, or is being overgrown by weeds and other invasive plants is generally in need of lime treatment. Liming reduces soil acidity and encourages grass growth. Once youve identified how to tell if your lawn needs lime, be sure to test the soil pH level. If possible, contact a university extension for the best soil testing results.
Once youve identified the problem and know how severe the soil acidity is, and your soil type, you can proceed with a lime application to your lawn to promote better grass growth.
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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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Why Do You Add Lime To Lawns
The reason for adding lime to lawns is because it ‘plays a crucial role in lawn maintenance, balancing the pH and providing the calcium your lawn needs to thrive. Liming your lawn is the most effective and cheapest method of correcting acidic soil. Over time the lime breaks down in the soil causing calcium levels to rise and acidity to be brought into check. The nutrients your grass needs are more readily available in the soil when the PH levels are optimal. Once this process is underway you’ll slowly see your lawn becoming thicker and richer in color, ‘ explains Andrew Porwol, owner of Garden Centre Shopping .
‘Liming also helps soil microbes and worms to thrive, fostering a fertile soil environment rather than a stagnant one,’ adds Chris.
You will soon spot the signs for when to add lime to lawns, as the grass will look less healthy, lose color and will suffer, and other plants, such as moss and weeds, may grow in its place.
You Experience Excessive Rainfall
Whether its an atypically wet winter on the west coast, a barrage of storms in the south, or a boggy spring in the northeast, excessive rainfall can result in the need to add lime to your lawn.
Water naturally pulls calcium and magnesium from the soil, which results in a more acidic pH. If youve had intense weather patterns in recent years or live in a region that experiences heavy precipitation, youll need to add lime to your lawn to combat rising soil acidity.
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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.
Apply The Lime Onto Your Lawn
The best method of applying lime onto your lawn is to first walk the entire perimeter of your backyard, or the area you want to cover. This will provide an outline to help you make turns where necessary. Then, walk straight lines back and forth from one end of the yard to the other, until youve covered the area. For those with awkward or irregular shaped yards, try to ensure you keep each line straight by following the pattern of the previous line.
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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.
Check The Soil Ph Level In A Month
After one month, check the soil pH level to see whether it requires more lime. If you find that your soil is still very acidic, you may need to apply lime more than once. Bear in mind that lime is a slow-acting mineral, so it will take months before it works its way into the soil, and change the pH level. In some cases it could take up to six months to see a significant reading, so patience is key.
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Can Cattle Graze After Lime
Adding poultry litter or nitrogen to toxic fescue pastures grows more grass, but also boosts toxins in the grass. However, a three-year study at the University of Missouri shows liming helps grass but doesn’t increase ergovaline. Ergovaline is a toxin that harms grazing cattle in many ways mostly in lost production.
Benefits Of Working With Metrogreenscape For Lime Lawn Treatment
Lawn care can be tricky, especially when dealing with chemistry and chemical balances in the soil. Lime in particular can be dangerous and requires an abundance of knowledge in order for it to be effective.
There are different forms of lime, like time-release and fast-acting. We will audit your lawn and determine which to use based on your grass type. We also have all of the necessary tools on hand, know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of low soil pH, and how to apply the treatment safely and efficiently. With over 20 years of experience working with Charlotte landscapes, we are able to build the right lawn maintenance plan or lawn care plan for you. To get started, contact us today for a consultation.
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Get Help From The Professionals
When it comes to applying lime on your lawnor any other lawn care taskit can be a little overwhelming, especially for new homeowners. So let the experienced professionals help! Our team of local experts can add lime to your lawn this upcoming winter and prepare it for optimal growth in the next growing season. Learn more about our different lawn care treatment options.
Tips To Lime Your Lawn
Sometimes even the best plans go awry because you forgot a little detail or something happens that is out of your hands. So these tips will help you minimize the risk involved with liming your lawn.
- On average, your lawn needs about 40 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet.
- Your pH level goals should be between 6.5 and 7.0. The grass in your lawn thrives in these levels.
- Wait for a year after applying the lime and retest the soil. If the pH levels are still below 6.2, apply lime again.
- Increase aeration around right angles in your lawn to improve the quality of the grass.
- Spiked shoes tend to compact the soil rather than aerate it. Always use a core aerator.
- Dont apply fertilizers until the pH levels have risen above 6.2. Otherwise, the grass will not absorb the nutrients in the soil.
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How Can You Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime
If your grass is yellowing, dying in patches, or grows weakly despite your lawn care efforts, there is a very good chance you need to add lime. Soils become more acidic over time, due to natural nutrients being pulled from the soil by factors such as water runoff and application of certain fertilizers.
How To Apply Lime To Lawn
1. Take A Soil Test- Take a soil test to determine your lawns ph. Also, observe if your soil is sandy, loamy, or full of clay. You can take the mud shake test to if you cant tell just by looking.
2. Figure Out Application Rate- To figure out how much Lime you need simply measure the square footage of your lawn, and then use the chart above to figure out how much lime you should apply per 1000 s/f.
3. Purchase Lime- Purchase a quality pelletized lime such as Soil Doctor Lawn Lime. This can be purchased at big box stores, garden centers, or online.
4. Set Spreader and Apply- A reliable broadcast spreader is much better than a drop spreader. Most granular lime products will have recommended spreader settings on the bag so you should simply be able to look up the spreader you have and what setting to use. If this information isnt on the bag than youll have to do some experimenting to figure out what setting to use.
5. Water- If you have an irrigation system than 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, dry weather. This could stress your lawn.
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What Type Of Lime Is Best For Lawns
Thanks to the added plant benefits provided by the calcium, the preferred type is calcitic lime. Agricultural ground limestone, pulverized limestone, and crushed limestone are some of the types of calcitic lime products that are available. Calcium carbonate is a naturally occurring mineral that occurs naturally in the earths crust. It is found in a variety of forms, such as calcite, gypsum, limestone and sandstone.
Calcite is used as a mortar and pestle, as well as as an abrasive for grinding and polishing metals and ceramics. The mineral is also used to make concrete, which is why it is commonly used in building construction. In addition to its use in construction, calcites can be used for landscaping and landscape design.
When Is The Best Time To Lime Your Lawn
The best time to add lime to your lawn is fall or early spring. This tends to be the time when it rains, snows, and has freezing and thawing cycles, which helps lime break down and get to work in the soil. In addition, fall gives it several months to dissolve before spring planting. If the weather is dry, it’s advisable to water your lawn straight after applying garden lime or sprinkle it before a rain shower.
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Why Lime The Lawn
First things first, you must have an idea of what makes a healthy, well-balanced lawn. It all starts with the pH of the soil. The pH scale is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. Zero to 14: 7 is neutral while everything under 7 is acidic, and everything over 7 is basic. All life forms have an ideal pH level or a level at which they are happiest and healthiest. In the same way the human body needs a pH of roughly 7.4, different varieties of turf grass have ideal pH levels as well. These are usually slightly acidic, ranging from between 5 and 7.
The reason to add lime to lawn is that most soils are naturally acidic and become more so as alkaline nutrients leach out of them or get used by plants. To keep the soil at the right pH levels, it helps to add alkalizing lime to your grass. Lime offers the following advantages to your lawn.
- It helps it grow healthier and more vibrant.
- Lime keeps acid-loving moss and weeds away.
- It helps fertilizer function, which wont happen on soil that is too acidic.