How to Start a New Lawn by Seed with Compost Lime


Lime is an important soil amendment for lawns when the natural soil is acidic. Lime, applied in one of several different forms, counteracts the acidity in the soil, making it more alkaline and therefore a better growing medium for lawn grass. Compost lime, slaked lime, burnt lime and hydrated lime are all forms of granular or powdered lime used in planting beds before seeding or sodding a lawn and they are also applied over established lawns as topdressings.

Step 1

Prepare your planting bed for the lime and seed by tilling the soil loose to a depth of 6 inches and amending the soil with generous amounts of aged manure and compost. Rake the soil level and relatively smooth before laying down a granular lawn starter fertilizer evenly over the surface according to product label directions.

Step 2

Compare your soil pH with the table on the reverse of the lime package to determine the amount recommended. Refrain from exceeding 150 pounds of lime for every 1,000 square feet to prevent stress and damage to the young grass plants.

Step 3

Fill the hopper of a drop spreader. Set the drop spreader rate dial to coincide with the recommendations on the lime product label.

Step 4

Walk the spreader along one edge of the planting bed in a straight line. Working from one end to the other. Disengage the hopper as you turn to start the next row to prevent excess lime from being deposited. Overlap each row by an inch or so.

Step 5

Rake the lime and starter fertilizer into the top two to three inches of soil and level the soil once again with the back of the rake. Repeat similar lime applications only every three years to five years after the initial application at planting.

Step 6

Sow your grass seed of choice by hand casting or by mechanical spreader. Follow the label guidance on the grass seed bag and set the spread rate accordingly. Rake the seed and top two inches of soil to nestle the seed in but not completely bury it.

Step 7

Water deeply with a light mist or rain setting so as not to disturb the seed in the soil. Keep very moist with twice to thrice daily light watering for a period of several weeks until green shoot have sprouted.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Aged manure
  • Lawn starter fertilizer
  • Lime soil amendment product of choice
  • Drop spreader
  • Rake
  • Shovel or tiller
  • Grass seed of choice
  • Water w/ adjustable hose sprayer
  • Soil pH test kit


  • West Virginia University: Liming the Lawn
  • University of Minnesota: Seeding A Lawn
Keywords: adding lime to the lawn when seeding, sowing grass seed and lime, preparing soil with lime

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.