You may have seen bags of lime stacked next to your favorite fertilizer at your local garden center and wondered if this is something you should be using on your lawn. While lime tends be relatively inexpensive, it is not necessary for every lawn. Let’s take a look at what lime does for grass and if you potentially need it for your lawn.
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What Does Lime Do for Grass?
The average lawn tends to do best at a soil pH of approximately 6 to 7 on a scale of 0 to 14. A lawn that has a pH value below 7 is acidic, at 7 it is neutral, and above 7 it is alkaline.
If you have acidic soil, lime can be spread on the grass to help increase the pH of the soil. It is typically applied via a broadcaster spreader similar to how you would put down traditional lawn fertilizer.
In order to determine the pH of your lawn soil, you will have to conduct a soil test. This might sound complicated but it really is a simple process. For reliable results, we recommend purchasing the Soil Savvy Soil Test Kit. The kit comes with a jar that you fill with lawn soil. You then ship the jar to the manufacturer via a pre-paid postage envelop included with the kit.
Your results are sent to you through an email address that you supply the testing company. The test results will be sent to you within 7-10 days. The results will reflect your lawn’s pH along information on the levels of 14 nutrients. They will guide you on what fertilizers or soil amendments that are recommended to improve the soil and the condition of your lawn.
Problems with Acidic Lawn Soil
According to Penn State University, extremely acidic lawn soil with a pH of 5.5 or less often lacks nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, or phosphorus. Additionally, acidic lawns may promote high levels of manganese and aluminum which can lead to grass toxicity. Applying lime helps alleviate these problems by supplying the much need missing nutrients of magnesium and calcium to the lawn.
When to Apply Lime?
In general, the ideal time to apply lime is in the fall and spring. The typical harsh elements during these seasons help the lime break down and release into the soil. Lime is commonly sold in 30 to 40 pound bags in pellet form that can be applied with a broadcast or rotary spreader. We recommend buying a fast acting lime that will absorb quickly into the lawn to change the pH level in short order.