How To Tell if your lawn needs lime

how to tell if your lawn needs lime

For most of the people, adding lime to their lawn is as important as mowing it. That’s because, without lime, your lawn may become incapable of benefiting from the nutrients from the soil (including those you add with fertilizers).

If you are wondering how to tell if your lawn needs lime, then keep reading, and at the end of this post, you will be able to answer this question

Table of Contents

What Is Lime?

Lime (for lawn) is a soil amendment, which is made from ground limestone rocks. These rocks are made of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.

When you add lime to the garden, it increases the soil’s pH level, which makes it less acidic.

Overall, this process enhances the vital nutrients available to your lawn.

Benifits Of Lime

Low pH levels can hinder microbial movement, which causes deficiencies in essential nutrients. This results in an unhealthy lawn, which becomes more prone to weeds, heat damage and droughts.

Though the most preferred pH level for grass is between 5.8 and 7.2, it could vary among local lawn grasses.

Lime increases the pH level of the soil, which has several benefits, including:

  • Managing moss problems.
  • Increasing the fertilizer’s effectiveness
  • Preserving and protecting your garden.
  • Assisting the grass in developing a stronger root system.
  • Tackling Weed Problems 

How To Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime

There are many ways to test if your lawn needs lime or not, and the easiest one is soil testing.

Apart from soil testing, there are a few common indicators to tell if your garden requires lime. Some of these include yellow grass, weeds in your lawn.

Let’s have a more in-depth look at all the seven possible ways to verify if your garden needs lime.

Soil pH Testing

Doing pH testing is the most reliable way of identifying if your lawn needs lime. You can know the exact pH level of your soil and, therefore, make your decision.

Without doing soil testing, you may not get accurate results. Applying lime when it is not required could harm your lawn rather than improving it.

pH is defined as a measurement of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. Level seven is neutral, above seven is alkaline and below is acidic.

As discussed earlier, the most preferred pH level for grass is between 5.8 and 7.2. It could vary depending on the type of grass you have.

For the majority of grasses, the ideal pH level is 6.5, and if your grass has a pH level of less than 6.5, the lime application will be beneficial for your lawn.

If you want to know how to test the pH level of the soil, this guide from garden therapy will guide you through.

soil pH testing

Weeds All Over Your Lawn

If your lawn has excessive weeds, that’s not a good sign. When the grass is in a vulnerable state, the weeds tend to grow over the grass.

If you take a closer look at the type of weeds growing in your lawn, you will have a better idea if it needs lime.

Here are some of the common weeds that may hint that your garden needs lime:

  • Stinging nettles
  • Wild strawberries
  • Dockweed
  • Purslane
  • Common mullein
  • Knockweed
  • Hawkweed
  • Broadleaf plantain
weeds all over lawn

Yellow Grass

Having yellow grass is one of the most obvious signs that you can’t ignore.

It means that the soil is overly acidic.

If your garden’s grass is having difficulty recovering from a heatwave or drought, it needs lime treatment.

yellow grass

Fertilizer Aren't Working

If you wind up adding increasingly more manure to perceive a high impact, at that point, your garden could be excessively acidic.

If your lawn is too acidic, it won’t be able to absorb nutrients.

fertilizers aren't working

Rising Moss In Your Lawn

When you start seeing moss in your garden, it is time to note that your lawn is not getting the required nutrients.

Moss grows at a great pace in acidic soil, which indicates that the soil is acidic.

Rising Moss in your lawn

When To Apply Lime

Though you can apply the lime at any time of the year (if the ground is not frozen), the best time to apply it is fall and spring seasons.

Most gardeners prefer the fall season because this matches the overseeding season.

The fall season has an advantage because rain, snow, and cycles of freezing and thawing help the lime break down and enter deep into your soil.

It would be best if you avoided applying lime on an overly wet or dry lawn.

How To Apply Lime

To increase the lime’s effectiveness, it is recommended to apply lime after you’ve aerated your garden. It allows the lime to penetrate deeper into the soil, making it more effective than just spreading it on the surface.

To do this task quickly, you can use a garden spreader. I use the Scotts Company EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader, which works amazingly.

After applying the lime, you should water it down to make sure that it is well combined into the soil and not just held on the grass.

It is not a quick process as lime could take a few months to show its effect, depending on the soil’s pH level.

If the soil’s pH level is very low, you may need to do this more than once.

how to apply lime

Types Of Lime

Basically, there are two types of lime, that are, dolomitic lime and calcitic lime.

Both of the limes will increase your soil’s pH level, but they have different chemical compositions. 

Dolomitic Lime

Dolomitic lime is mainly formed with magnesium and calcium. In some places, it’s also known as ‘dolomite lime.’

The best time to use it is when the soil has insufficient magnesium and suffering from a low pH.

Calcitic Lime

Calcitic lime is mostly made up of calcium carbonate, and therefore, it will enhance your garden in calcium.

Different forms of lime

You can purchase lime in different forms, which includes the following:

  • Pulverized form – This lime acts fast, but its powder may clog spreaders.
  • Hydrated lime – It acts extremely fast but needs to be handled more carefully because by using this form, you are vulnerable to overusing and damaging your lawn.
  • Pelletized and granular forms – As compared to other forms, this one is easy to spread. Its downside is that it takes a longer time to break down.

Final Thoughts

Not every lawn may need a lime treatment, so doing a test before proceeding is the best practice.

Have you tried this guide for liming your lawn?

Let us know in the comments below.

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