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Adding Lime to Your Lawn

Adding Lime to Your Lawn

It's frustrating when the lawn struggles to grow well - especially after routine mowing, watering and weeding.
The root of the problem is sometimes a result of uncontrollable factors like the weather, while at other times, the issue is something you can proactively control and resolve. In such situations, soil is most likely lacking certain nutrients it needs to create a healthy environment for plant growth. If you're unsure how healthy (or not) your soil is, you can determine its pH levels via a soil test. You can either conduct an at-home soil test, which can be purchased at local home garden centers, or take a sample and send to your local county cooperative extension for a detailed analysis.
If results show your soil is too acidic, it's best to apply lime to your lawn to raise the soil's pH level to help work towards a lush, green lawn.


How Lime Can Help a Lawn

The pH of the soil in your yard directly affects the growth of your lawn turf and other plants. Most types of cool-season turf grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye-grass, bent-grass, and tall and fine fescues grow best in soils with a pH range between 6.0 to 7.2. If the soil is more acidic - with a lower pH - the grass can't establish a deep root system, and the nutrients it needs to thrive can't be absorbed from the soil. Lime is rich in calcium, helping to neutralize excess acid and brings the soil's pH back into balance.

Determining if Your Lawn Needs Lime

As previously noted, you should first conduct a soil test to determine if the soil is too acidic, and whether raising the pH is necessary. Adding lime to soil that already has a pH within the normal range can make it too alkaline and cause a host of other problems; the soil test results will inform you on what is and is not needed to amend your soil.


How to Apply Lime to Your Lawn

Testing your soil in the fall can enable you to apply lime before the first frost so it has ample time to absorb into the soil during the winter, when the grass is dormant. Agricultural lime is the type most often used on lawns; it's available in powder and pelleted forms. Although both kinds work equally well, pellets are less dusty and easy to apply using your fertilizer spreader.