To keep your lawn in prime condition you need to manage and control the acidic and alkaline levels within the soil, otherwise you could make growing conditions very difficult for your grass and plants. Depending on your type of soil, applying lime can be highly beneficial as it reduces the acidity of your soil. This ensures that your soil is at the right level and your grass / plants get enough nutrients to thrive. Testing your soils is very easy and inexpensive, if you want to find out more about this process, best home soil tests available click on my article – Lawn Soil Testing Advice.
I think applying lime, if required, is one of the most important jobs you can carry out during the season, and one that you must keep on top of if you want a great looking lawn.
To make sure you are applying lime correctly, within this post I will show you how and when to carry it out.
Why Should You Apply
Before we speak about when and how to apply lime to your lawn, I want to explain the reason why you need to apply it. By adding lime to your soil you will reduce how acidic it is, by increasing the pH level. Soils that are low in pH (or very acidic) make it difficult for plants to get the nutrients they need, and materials like aluminium found within acidic soils can be very damaging to those plants. The pH chart below provides more information about the varying pH levels (pH value 7 is neutral).
When to Apply
To see how acidic or alkaline, your soil is you need to test its pH level. You can buy kits to do this yourself on line or in some garden centres but for more accurate results you can have it done by a professional. All you need to do is send a sample of your soil and they will be able to tell you the exact pH level and determine how much lime you need to add, if any at all.
Many gardeners have never tested their soil, however the vast majority of them are wondering why their neighbour has success with their lawn and/or plans, whilst they do not. Good news, you do not have to worry about this any more. Below I have included the best Soil Testers sold on Amazon. They are easy to use and inexpensive.
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Too much or too little lime can harm your lawn so to stay on the safe side make sure you get it tested. If you have a pH of above 7.0 then your soil is alkaline, so you don’t need to add lime, and if your pH is below 7.0 then your soil is acidic, so you do need to add lime.
Make sure that you don’t plant any lawn seed, plants or trees before you test the pH level and apply lime, if needed. If you were to apply lime to certain areas, when not required, it could be damaging or would take these plants years before they establish and you see any results. Also I would refrain from testing the soil after applying a fertiliser or compost to the lawn as you will probably get misleading data.
You want to test the soil when the weather has cooled down a bit, you can do this in spring but it is probably better to do so in autumn as you give the lime the entire winter to penetrate well into the soil. If you want to promote better penetration then aerating before applying the lime is a great way to do that. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of lawn aeration and the best type of lawn aerators I have tested, click on my article – Best Type of Lawn Aerators.
How to Apply
If you are applying more than than 0.5 kg per square metre, then dig half of the lime into the soil (if possible and practical) and sprinkle the rest on top of the surface. If you are applying less than 0.5 kg per square metre, then you can just spread it on top of the surface.
To make sure you spread the lime evenly, I recommend you use a lawn spreader as it makes the process much easier and ensures proper and even distribution. Spreading the lime by hand if much harder to do, and you need to ensure that you don’t over-do, or under-do the application. Although if you have a small area of lawn then you should be fine applying with your hand. Remember, that spreaders can be used not only for spreading lime but also for sand, grass seed and fertiliser. It is something that should be used as part of your lawn maintenance on a regular basis. If you want to learn more about the types of lawn spreaders and my best selection, click on my article Best Lawn Spreaders.
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The lime will take some time to break down into the soil and neutralise the acidity so be patient and don’t be tempted to apply more, this isn’t an overnight process. If you do apply during the autumn then expect results either during the winter or the next spring.
If done correctly, for sure you will enjoy your beautiful and healthy looking lawn.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with our readers, please use the comment’s box below, I will be happy to respond.
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