Best Lime Treatment for Lawn | Benefits | How to Apply | When to Apply

When planting a green yard or reshaping the existing one, you may come across a dozen lawn care tips, including lime treatment for lawn. If you’re new to the lawn care game, it can be overwhelming.  While you may have different preferences about how your lawn should look or feel, every homeowner longs for a lush, green yard.

The quickest and easy way to get a thick and healthy lawn is to take the best care of it.  Remember that the more you take care of your lawn, the more scenic it will look.  However, many people look for different solutions when the grass in their yard has retreated, and there is nothing left but bare spots of weed.

In this regard, lime application is a proven yard care treatment that many lawn owners often overlook.   Although lime treatment often flies under the radar; it is ideal for fixing low PH issues in your lawn. It is one of the effective ways that help you balance the PH level of lawn soil.

Introduction to Liming

Lime typically serves as a soil amendment that enhances the health of your lawn. It comprises the properties of limestone, which adds calcium to the lawn soil, reducing acidity. Keep in mind that the soil of your lawn becomes acidic over time.

In some areas, the soil is naturally acidic, and it is not optimal or healthy for grass to grow in some environments. It is especially true if you live in an area that receives heavy rainfall. You may come across this issue round the year. The rain often washes away essential nutrients from the soil that are hard to restore.

Using lime treatment, however, helps your home turf recover the lost nutrient due to the acidity.

But which is the best lawn treatment or how do you apply it?

Continue reading to find out everything you need to about applying the best lime treatment for lawn.

What is Lime?

Lime treatment for lawn

As mentioned above, lime comes from limestone rock. This soil amendment naturally contains an adequate quantity of magnesium and calcium carbonate. When you add lime to the soil, the natural compounds work together and improve the soil’s PH level.  That makes the soil more alkaline and less acidic.

It is worth mentioning that the magnesium and calcium in lime are essential nutrients. Even though they are essential for plants’ healthy growth, you can’t use them as a substitute for fertilizers. The primary role of lime is to alter the PH of the soil and offset its acidity. It improves the availability of nutrients for plants.

Lime that you apply to your lawn has powdered or pelleted limestone rock. Many lawn owners prefer pelleted limestone over powdered form as it is much easier to use or apply. The constituents in lime help amend the soil and are an effective way to neutralize acidic grass.   

Best Lime Treatment for Lawn

You should only apply lime treatment to a dry lawn. Liming a lawn that is stressed, dormant, and wilted never gives you the same result. Moreover, limestone becomes most effective at maintaining the PH of soil when mixed in with the first five inches of soil.

That means adjusting soil’s PH before you plant grass seeds or lay sods is easier than adding it to an established lawn. Once you apply lime treatment to correct the PH of soil, you no longer need to re-lime it for many years.

Best Products for Lawn Treatment

Dolomite Lime
Dolomite Lime - Pure Dolomitic / Calcitic Garden Lime (5 Pounds)
Soil pH Meter
SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green)
Bonide Chemical Hydrated Lime
Bonide Chemical 979 97980 Hydrated Lime for Soil, 10 lb
  • Good for regulating and improving  PH levels
  • Works best with; Dry soils that needs rich nutrients such as magnesium and calcium.
  • Calcitic garden lime cures blossom end rot in tomatoes and prevents it from developing
  • Good for finding essential information about your lawn soil.
  • Works best when; you want to know whether the soil needs light adjustment, more watering, or lime to improve pH levels.
  • The high-quality soil tester saves you a great deal of time, helping you maintain the soil. The product is convenient and doesn't require any batteries to work. All you need is to plug in the switch and get a precise reading.
  • Good for raising the pH level of soil quickly and neutralizing acidity.
  • Works best when; You want to improve soil structure and provide sufficient calcium to the lawn.
  • It strengthens the soil so it can easily absorb the nutrients from the soil.
Dolomite Lime
Dolomite Lime - Pure Dolomitic / Calcitic Garden Lime (5 Pounds)
  • Good for regulating and improving  PH levels
  • Works best with; Dry soils that needs rich nutrients such as magnesium and calcium.
  • Calcitic garden lime cures blossom end rot in tomatoes and prevents it from developing
Soil pH Meter
SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green)
  • Good for finding essential information about your lawn soil.
  • Works best when; you want to know whether the soil needs light adjustment, more watering, or lime to improve pH levels.
  • The high-quality soil tester saves you a great deal of time, helping you maintain the soil. The product is convenient and doesn't require any batteries to work. All you need is to plug in the switch and get a precise reading.
Bonide Chemical Hydrated Lime
Bonide Chemical 979 97980 Hydrated Lime for Soil, 10 lb
  • Good for raising the pH level of soil quickly and neutralizing acidity.
  • Works best when; You want to improve soil structure and provide sufficient calcium to the lawn.
  • It strengthens the soil so it can easily absorb the nutrients from the soil.

·         Dolomite Lime – Calcitic Garden Limes

If you’re looking to enrich your lawn’s soil with nutrients, Dolomite lime is your product. The product comes with rich nutrients such as magnesium and calcium, which regulates and improves PH levels. This Calcitic garden lime cures blossom end rot in tomatoes and prevents it from developing. The product is excellent for depleted soil as it can micronize it for fast results. It is easy-to-use and affordable.

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·         Soil pH Meter

 A soil pH meter test kit is undoubtedly a must-have for the best results of lime treatment. The gardening tool is a plant/grass care soil tester to help you find essential information about your lawn soil.

With this kit, you can know whether the soil needs light adjustment, more watering, or lime to improve pH levels. The high-quality soil tester saves you a great deal of time, helping you maintain the soil. The product is convenient and doesn’t require any batteries to work. All you need is to plug in the switch and get a precise reading.

·         Bonide Chemical Hydrated Lime

Bonide chemical is a versatile formula designed for potted plants, gardens, and lawns. A high –quality product can raise the pH level of soil quickly and neutralize acidity. Plus, it can improve soil structure and provide sufficient calcium to the lawn. It strengthens the soil so it can easily absorb the nutrients from the soil.

How to Apply Lime Treatment for Lawn

Before you add lime to a lawn, make sure you aerate the yard with core aerators to open pours for Calcitic lime to penetrate the soil. Once you aerate the lawn, the next step is to apply the lime to the lawn.  

Always use a rotary spreader or a dropper for application (never use your hands for laying down lime).  Apply lime while moving on your yard in one direction and then use the other half in a perpendicular direction. This is a smart way to ensure that you have covered all parts of the lawn with lime.

According to Arkansas University’s publication, if the soil test of your lawn calls for less than fifty pounds of limestone per 1000 sq. ft, it is better to apply it in a single application. Choose between spring and fall for application.

Furthermore, if you’re applying fifty and a hundred pounds of lime, applying half quantity in the spring and the rest in the fall is beneficial. In case you want to add more than a hundred pounds of lime, apply fifty pounds in the spring and fifty pounds in autumn.

Retest the soil in the following spring, and apply more lime to reach the optimal level of soil PH. You may add up to fifty pounds of lime in a single application per 1000 sq. ft. Immediately water the yard after applying lime. It is necessary to wash extra lime off the turf to prevent burn.

Benefits of Lime Treatment for Lawn

Lime Treatment for Lawn

Calcitic lime is a primary lawn care supplement and improves the acidity of the soil. As its name suggests, lime contains a sufficient amount of calcium. In essence, Calcitic lime is four times more effective and faster than dolomitic lime.

Dolomitic lime contains a high amount of magnesium, and its application may take up to 5 years to start working. That is why it is not the right choice for residential turf.

Regular liming, however, does a wealth of good to your lawn. Still unsure why Calcitic lime is the right addition for your lawn?  Here are some benefits you shouldn’t ignore.

·         Balance Soil pH 

Acidic soil PH is not an uncommon condition, particularly in areas near the seashore. When soil becomes acidic, growing healthy grass is tough. It happens because the acidic soil reduces the availability of several essential nutrients for the grass to uptake.

These may include macronutrients like potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen. Neutralizing PH levels of soil effectively can free up the essential nutrients. As a result, it gives your yard a better chance to grow into a gorgeous and healthy lawn.

·         Reduce Moss Problems

Did you know acidic soil is a breeding ground for moss?

Moss thrives in soil with high acidity. In fact, moss infestation is widespread in damp, moist, and shady environment and coastal regions with high acidic soil PH.  The grass finds it challenging to grow in such conditions.  

Using Calcitic lime not only neutralizes soil PH but also gives the turf a chance at preventing moss. It may reduce the likelihood of moss infestation. However, it is essential to know that lime treatment doesn’t kill moss.  

Although treating your lawn with lime every year is a beneficial and healthy cultural practice, you need a proper moss control to eliminate the infestation.

·         Manage Weed Issues

Weed is another pest you may encounter when planting or treating your existing lawn. Like moss, it also thrives in soil with high acidity. To give your turf an optimal condition to grow, you must get rid of weeds.

·         Improve Fertilizer’s Performance

Liming your lawn can improve the performance and efficiency of fertilizing effort. The lime treatment helps nourish the beneficial bacteria in the soil.  This enhances fertiliser performance as lime optimizes the PH level of soil, allowing essential nutrients to reach the turf.

Many lawn treatment experts recommend correcting undesirable PH conditions of soil during application of fertilizers.

·         Protects Lawn

While the key benefits of using lime treatment in your lawn include optimizing soil pH, Calcitic lime may add a vital nutrient to your grass- such as calcium.

Calcium is mandatory to maintain the strength and color of your lawn. It further protects the yard from the stress that may include drought, heavy foot traffic, and heat.

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Signs That You Need Lime Treatment for Lawn

Since you know how liming your lawn can promote its health, let’s determine the signs that indicate your turf needs lime treatment.

Soil testing, in this regard, is the easiest and best ways to understand when your lawn requires a lime treatment. Plus, there are several visual clues one can look for to find if the lawn needs liming.  Note that physical signs generally indicate the poor health of your lawn.

That is to say, spotting physical signs like weeds or moss growth doesn’t mean that your lawn has acidic soil. If your turf shows multiple signs or symptoms or your region has naturally acidic soil, the chances of soil suffering from a low PH are higher.

However, there are ways to spot if a lawn needs lime treatment.

·         PH Testing (Lower than 6.5)

There is no denying that soil testing is one of the most definitive ways of determining if a lime treatment can benefit a lawn or not.  We say this because soil test tells you the pH level of your soil or if it requires a lime application or not.

pH typically measures the acidity and alkalinity of the soil. Precisely, “7” pH indicates neutrality. pH below 7 shows the acidic level and above 7 is alkaline.  However, the soil’s ideal PH level varies depending on the type of turf or grass your lawn has.  The ideal level should be between 5.9 -7, which is slightly acidic.

The cool-season turf is better at the lower range, while hot-season turf prefers the higher end. 6.5 can be an ideal PH for most types of grasses. That means if your soil test shows a PH result below 6.5, it may benefit from the lime treatment.

·         Lawn Grass is Overrun with Wild Plants or Weeds

Excessive growth of weed or wild plants can be a sign of a poor and unhealthy lawn. Weed grows when grass or soil is in a weakened state. You must pay close attention to the type of wild plants growing in your lawn.  This is one way to understand the problem or reason that is causing them.

Take a look at the list on the common weeds that indicate your lawn may need lime treatment:

  • Sorrel
  • Hawkweed
  • Broadleaf plantain
  • Common mullein
  • Dockweed
  • Dandelions
  • Knotweed
  • Oxeye daisies
  • Stinging nettles
  • Wild strawberries

Most of these weeds thrive in soil with high acidity.  If you find these weeds in the lawn, there is a high chance it needs lime treatment.

·         Yellow and Lifeless Grass

Lifeless and yellow grass is another noticeable sign of low PH balance of lawn. In most of these cases, the grass doesn’t seem to grow and looks in bad condition. Also, if the grass in your lawn is taking time to bounce back from a heat wave or drought, it might be a telltale that the soil needs a lime treatment.

It occurs because acidic lawns often suffer from nutrient deficiency. That is why the recovery process slows down, and the grass ends up patchy, thin, and dead looking.  

·         Fertilizers Don’t Work

If you feel the need to add more fertilizer to affect the grass growth, it is a sign your lawn is too acidic. The more acidic your lawn is, the more difficult it will be for soil to absorb nutrients. Even if you throw an excessive amount of nitrogen, it will not make a difference. The situation often leads many people to over-fertilizing.

·         Moss is Thriving in the Lawn

Moss thriving in your lawn could be a visual clue that your lawn has a nutrient deficiency. One reason that combats nutrient uptake is a low level of PH.  Moss grows well in soil with high acidity, and it is a sign that it might need a lime treatment.

·         Your Region Is Susceptible To Acidic Soil

Most of the Northwest and Southern regions of the USA have naturally acidic soil. Residing in these areas means your lawn needs a regular lime treatment. The areas receive a higher amount of rainfall and have more acidic and organic decaying matter.

·         Hydrangeas – Natural PH Indicators

This might sound bizarre to you, but flowers like Hydrangeas are fantastic visual indicators of the soil’s PH level.  The flowers naturally change their color depending on the soil’s PH they have grown in. They turn in blue in alkaline soil and pink in high acidic soil.

What May Cause an Acidic Lawn

Many outside influences may offset the PH balance of your soil. Having complete knowledge of the reasons will help you understand when your grass needs lime treatment.  Here is a rundown that may contribute to an acidic soil

·         Nitrogen Fertilizers

Nitrogen fertilizer contains ammonium and discharges acidic hydrogen into the soil as it works. Over time, it decreases the soil’s PH level to a point where it needs a quick lime treatment. You may use compost and urea instead of nitrogen as it is less acidifying than nitrogen fertilizers.

·         Heavy Watering and Irrigation

Both excessive irrigation and rain can raise the rate at which base elements such as calcium and potassium strain the soil. This, as a result, may create a more acidic condition.

·         Gradual Acidification  

You might not have heard this before, but even a healthy lawn can acidify the soil gradually. Healthy grass uses alkaline nutrients to grow. It absorbs them from the soil and eventually depletes them to the levels that need lime treatment. That means even if you don’t use fertilizers or water the lawn excessively, it has a natural process of acidification.

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Moreover, the improved microbial activity can also create an acidic environment.

Detecting Soil PH – Soil Testing

Cultivating a lush green and healthy lawn begins from the ground. As mentioned above, PH tells you how acidic or basic something is. That makes PH one of the vital considerations when it comes to liming your lawn. It simply determines the amount of nutrients grass in your lawn will be able to take from the soil.

The higher the percentage of acid in the soil, the lower its nutrient absorbance will be. Thus, it provides the environment for turf or grass to weaken and moss to thrive. Ideally, the PH falls between 6.0 – 7.0 offers optimal growth conditions.

 Fortunately, there are methods you can use for testing the PH level of your soil. They may include:

  • Using a home testing kit
  • Taking a soil sample and sending it to local extension for testing
  • Conducting a DIY PH test

If you opt for the DIY test, follow the given steps

What You Will Need

  • Vinegar
  • Two plastic containers
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Measuring cup

Conducting a pH Test

  • Collect soil in one cup from your lawn and pour it into the two containers.
  • Add half cup of white vinegar to one soil container. If it starts sizzling, it is more basic soil. 
  • If the first container’s soil doesn’t sizzle, add two tablespoons of water to the second container. Keep adding water until it is muddy.
  • Add half cup of baking soda in the muddy container; if it starts sizzling, the soil is acidic.
  • If both containers of soil don’t react to either baking soda or vinegar, the soil has perfect PH, and it is neutral 

When Is the Right Time to Lime Your Lawn

Knowing the right time to apply the lime treatment to your lawn is also an important aspect to achieve the desired results. As applying lime may burn the grass, it is better to apply lime treatment in the cool weather. Fall typically is the best time to apply the lime treatment. Because winter months are less intense, there is no need to worry about burns.

If your turf is very acidic, you might need two applications of the lime treatments. In such a case, you can apply the treatment twice, one in spring and other in fall.  Remember that, the liming lawn in summer heat increases the chances of burn.

Moreover, you must follow up with soil testing after lime application to check the PH level or improve it.  Lime treatment is not an overnight process. Keep in mind it may take weeks, sometimes months.

What Lime Type You Should Buy

You can use lime sourced from dolomitic lime and Calcitic lime. Many lawn owners prefer using Calcitic lime as it comes with some added plants for plant growth.

Mainly, Calcitic lime has a large quality of calcium which is essential for plant growth. There is a vast range of Calcitic lime products, including pelletized limestone, agricultural ground limestone, and pulverized limestone.

The limestone products like pelletized and pulverized tend to change soil’s PH level relatively quick.  However, pelletized is easier to apply and pulverized is dustier. 

While the soil test result tells you the amount of pure calcium you need to improve the PH, all lime products don’t contain pure calcium carbonate. That is why you must look for the calcium equivalent on the label. It may vary depending on the lime material a product has.

Maintaining Your Lawn’s pH Level

This is a critical step when you use lime treatment for your lawn. You must allow the lime to penetrate and work on the soil for a couple of months before resting it again professionally. For instance, if you apply lime treatment in the spring, wait for at least two to three months and retest in the fall.

If the soil still tests too acidic, use additional lime as per the soil PH level recommendation. Once you achieve the desired level of the PH of your soil, there is no need to apply more lime. All you need is to keep checking your soil every six months or one to two years for its acidic level.  Remember that testing is a crucial step before applying lime at any stage.

Summing Up: Do You Need Lime Treatment for Lawn?

In a nutshell, lime treatment is the best way to keep your lawn looking green, thick and gorgeous all year round. However, you must determine the PH level before liming the grass as it may directly impact the growth.  

The best time to treat your lawn with lime is between spring and fall. You must wait for at least one season to see the results. Remember that lime may take months to improve the pH levels of soil. You may use products like pH testing tools and the best lime formula to ensure your lawn gets the essential nutrients it needs for health, lush and beautiful growth.

Thus, the article includes useful tips and details about the best lime treatment for lawn.

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