Lawns are the best and most serene portion of houses. Your lawn is perhaps where you can sit back and relax the most during the day. Hence, it is necessary to take the best care of your lawn to ensure it never fails to provide you with a green paradise and, of course, make your neighbours jealous.
Well, lawns are mostly about grasses, and if you ensure healthy grass growth in your lawn, you are all done.
It is not always possible to have a well-flourishing lawn with greenery, and there could be many reasons behind it. Varying soil pH is one of the major causes of improper grass growth on a lawn. Hence, maintaining the right pH of the soil must be your top priority.
Now, when it comes to maintaining the pH of the soil, lime is something that can benefit your lawn the most. Want to know how? Then, let us discuss how much lime to add to lawn.
Why Should Lime be Used on Your Lawn?
You need to understand exactly what lime is important. Lime is a compound containing calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, mainly originating from ground limestone rock. Lime can be used as a soil amendment to increase its pH.
The optimum soil pH for most grasses to grow fruitfully is in the range of 5.8 to 7. Moreover, different types of grasses prefer different pH levels. While warm-weather grass prefers a lower pH, cool-weather grass grows well in higher soil pH.
Hence, low pH or highly acidic soil can be a black spot on your lawn, deterring the healthy growth of grasses. It is mainly because grass faces difficulty utilizing the soil nutrients or nutrients from the fertilizers, such as nitrogen, in highly acidic conditions. Hence, due to a lack of nutrients, grass on your lawn shows stunted growth or no growth.
Lime comes to the rescue in acidic soil conditions. It increases the pH of the soil due to its components and makes the soil alkaline, thus promising optimum growth. When the soil in your lawn attains optimum pH, the nutrients become readily available to the grasses, and you get a lush green lawn like never before.
What Causes the Soil pH in Your Lawn to Change?
Now that you know why lime is essential for your lawn, you might wonder what changes the pH of the soil in the first place. Well, a drop in the soil’s pH level is a natural phenomenon, no matter how well you maintain your lawn.
However, rainfall is a significant factor that impacts the soil pH level. Rainwater leaches away the calcium in the soil. The calcium level in the soil also drops the pH level, thus making the soil acidic.
It is why areas with heavy rainfall have acidic soil and hence require lime to optimize the pH. On the other hand, areas with low rainfall have alkaline soil due to insufficient leaching of calcium in the soil.
What Are the Cautionary Indicators When Using Lime?
Now you might question how you would know if your lawn has acidic soil and if it requires lime or not. Well, a pH test for the soil in your lawn can best tell you about its acidic or alkaline nature.
However, you can see various warning signs on your lawn when such an imbalance arises regarding pH. Here are some red flags you can consider for low pH soil.
1. Presence of Excess Weeds
Most weeds prefer acidic soil. Hence, when they start growing excessively, which is more than your lawn has experienced in the past, you must know something is up with the soil pH. Lawn mosses are better indicators of acidic soil.
2. Infestation of Pests
Increasing pest invasion is also a sign of an unhealthy lawn. Moreover, a hike in lawn diseases also indicates poor lawn quality. Hence, if you experience either of the two, you must verify the soil pH on your lawn.
3. No Effect of Fertilizers
As mentioned earlier, a low pH deters the ability of grass to take the nutrients in the soil. The same holds for fertilizers. In the case of acidic soil, your lawn would not green up even if you applied fertilizers, and it might turn dull.
Hence, you must consider these warning signals and conduct a soil inspection to test its pH. If the test shows a low pH, you should wait no more and apply lime.
What Procedures Are Involved in Putting Lime on Lawns?
Now that you know how lime benefits your lawn, you would require the correct method to apply lime. Hence, here are the steps you must follow to apply lime to your lawn.
1. Soil pH Test
The first and most important step is to test your lawn’s pH with a soil pH kit. Establishing how much lime you should give to your grass is a necessary step. Consequently, you may purchase a pH test kit or take a sample of soil to a lab.
2. Lawn Preparation
You must follow some pre-requisites before applying lime to your lawn. It is necessary to aerate the soil before lime application as it helps better blending of the two. Hence, lime can penetrate the soil with aeration and act on the grassroots to ensure better growth.
3. Lime Application
Now comes the main part. You must apply lime to your lawn when it is dry. Your target must be the top 5 inches of soil covering the grass’s root portion.
When applying lime, you must first cover yourself with the necessary protective equipment, such as gloves, a respiratory mask, etc. You can use a drop or rotary spreader to apply lime to your lawn and never use your hands for the same.
Some components of the lime, such as lye, can harm your skin, so you must avoid touching it.
4. Watering the Lawn
After the lime application, you must water your lawn immediately as the leftovers of lime on grass blades can burn them.
What is the Optimum Quantity And Frequency to Apply Lime?
The optimum quantity of lime to apply to your lawn depends entirely on the soil test results. It relies on the soil type in your lawn and the drop in pH level. You can consult a professional landscaper for the amount of lime you should apply based on the pH level or follow a guide.
You must know that applying the right amount of lawn is necessary as your lawn will pay if it is excess or deficient. As the general guidelines, 1,000 square feet of a lawn requires 50 lbs of lime. Hence, you can decide accordingly based on the soil test.
You would require more lime for clay soil than sandy soil. Also, if your lawn requires more than 50 lbs of lime, you must apply it in phases. The first phase of treatment could be early spring, followed by the next in fall or winter.
As for how frequently you should apply it, it is decided by routine soil tests.
Generally, you may be required to repeat the treatment every 1-2 years, depending on the condition of the soil. You must always go for a pH test before applying lime.
When Precisely Should Lime be Applied?
Besides knowing the correct quantity and frequency, you must also know when to apply lime to your lawn. Lime takes several months to break down and show its effects on increasing the pH of the soil.
Hence, you can consider fall or winter as the right time to apply lime. So by the time spring approaches and the grassroots become active, lime would be ready to benefit from their growth.
The rain, snow, and freeze-thaw cycles in fall and winter enhance the breaking of the lime and act on the soil quicker. Hence, cold weather conditions are preferable for lime application on your lawn.
Low pH soil can be a significant threat to the health of your lawn. It can be one of the factors keeping you from achieving a lush green lawn. But you need not worry as lime is the most effective way to green your lawn.
Hence, considering the importance of lime for increasing the soil pH, you can go for a soil test, determine the optimum amount of time required, and apply it to your lawn. The next thing you see is a flourishing green lawn like never before.