Lawn lime (limestone) is considered a vital element of a green and healthy lawn. Some lawns require lime up to a few times per year to maintain a rich, green appearance. The key factor is the soil pH level, which indicates whether the lawn soil is too acidic or alkaline. A pH value of 1.0 indicates severe acidity, and a value of 14.0 shows intense alkalinity. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 is the ideal level required to grow a healthy, green lawn.
If the lawn soil has a pH level less than 6.0, it is considered acidic, and to maintain the balance, you need to apply lime. Generally speaking, the acidity of the soil will increase with the increase in rainfall. Improper irrigation may also cause a higher level of acidity in soil. Two significant elements that aid in maintaining balance in the soil are calcium and magnesium. In fact, lime is the combination of these two elements.
Lime is not a fertilizer by itself; it should be considered a soil conditioner. Treating lawns with lime is not going to make it green and healthy. However, it will assist other organic elements in doing their job better.
Treating Acidic Soil
Acidic soil is a signal that the calcium and magnesium supplies are short. As a remedy, the grass must be brought into a healthy pH range. It's important to determine exactly what the pH is in order to prescribe the appropriate lime treatment.
As there is no need to give medicine to a healthy person, the same holds true for lawns. It is always advisable to test the soil before applying lime. A professional lawn care company can provide quick analysis. As an alternative, purchase a test kit from a local nursery or garden center to evaluate lawn soil pH level. However, the test results will only inform you whether the soil is acidic or alkaline; it will not reveal how much lime is needed to maintain soil pH balance.
The best lime for the lawn is dolomitic limestone, and it can be applied with a fertilizer spreader. Purchase it from local garden stores and home improvement retailers that have garden departments.
Lime Application Tips
Lime can be applied any time during the growing season. Since lime is a treatment for the soil, and not for the grass, the best time for application is when the grass is at its lowest levels (or before it's planted). Consequently, spring or fall are the ideal seasons for lime application.
Follow the instructions on the package to determine recommended lime dose. Sometimes, a large dosage of lime is necessary split into two applications over two terms. Also, remember not to apply fertilizer immediately after a lime application; rather, wait for two weeks to improve the soil before applying fertilizer. For a new lawn, lime should be applied before planting any seed.