A well-tended, healthy looking grass lawn is one of the most distinctive features of your landscaping efforts. Grasses generally do not thrive in soils that have a high acid content. If you live in areas like West Virginia, this may present a very real challenge to you, as soils in this locale are known for their acidity. Learning how to use lime on grass lawns is a useful skill that allows you to replenish the missing alkaline and create a soil that permits the grass to thrive.
Test the acidity of your soil with a soil pH testing kit. Prior to liming your grass lawn, it is important to know the actual level of acidity, as this defines your scope of treatment. Generally speaking, if your soil's pH level falls below 7.0, it is considered acidic; readings above 7.0 denote an alkaline soil. The sweet spot you want to work toward is a pH level that falls between 6.0 and 7.0.
Request a soil sampler kit from your cooperative extension office. Prepare the soil sample according to the office's instructions and send it back. The cooperative extension is part of the United States Department of Agriculture and assists consumers and businesses with gardening and farming questions. While you already know that your soil is acidic, this professional evaluation factors in soil composition and returns a more detailed snapshot of your soil's condition as well as the amount of lime you should apply to neutralize the soil.
Apply pelletized lime with a spreader in October or November. Make sure the weather report does not predict high temperatures for the day. Lime could burn your grass lawn if the temperature is elevated. Opting for a fall date allows the lime sufficient time to break down and release its neutralizing components into the acidic soil. On average, this process takes about six months.
Work the lime into the grass lawn's soil with a core aerator. Aeration extracts soil plugs, which clears the way for lime pellets to reach closer to the roots. Leave the plugs sitting on the lawn and allow watering or rain to dissolve them.