Lawn care is usually something people either love or hate. Traditionally, we think of mowing, preventing weeds, and possibly fertilizing when caring for our lawn, but what about adding lime? Adding lime to your lawn is important because it is the easiest and most effective way to raise the pH of your soil. Understanding soil pH can be a little tricky, but you only need to know the basics to give your lawn what it needs to thrive.
As you may remember from science class, pH tests the alkalinity of a solution, allowing you to see where your sample falls on a scale of 1 to 14. With “7” being neutral, samples can either be acidic (less than 7), or basic (greater than 7). As a rule of thumb, grasses prefer a pH of between six and seven, meaning neutral or slightly acidic.
With that, you must find out what your soil pH is before adding any lime. There are several options for soil testing including small home test kits, a local garden center, or a professional test from a soil lab. Some tests can only tell you the pH, however, a more comprehensive test from a lab can also determine soil nutrients, which could also be contributing to problems in your lawn.
How much lime to apply?
When it comes to deciding how much lime to apply, you need to know what your current pH is as well as the size of your lawn. It is recommended to apply anywhere from 25-50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet, depending on how acidic your soil is. Lime comes in several forms such as liquid, granular, pulverized, and pelleted. If you have a large lawn, sometimes a liquid application is the most efficient, but for small and medium lawns, pelleted lime will do the job.
When Should I Apply Lime to my Lawn?
Lime can be applied in the spring or fall, or any time when your lawn isn’t under stress. Fall is the best time to apply lime to your lawn, as it will have the moisture and time it needs to become fully available to the soil throughout the winter. The constant freezing and thawing of the soil will draw the lime in and raise the pH before the grass starts growing again in the spring!