Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars to establish lush, green lawns. Maintaining a lawn, though, requires more than a wad of cash. It also requires knowledge. Part of understanding how to maintain your lawn involves knowing when to add lime, which plays is an important part in managing turf. The lime adds important nutrients to the soil and raises the pH level, which promotes turf growth. Lime can be particularly important for new lawns.
Lime affects the soil pH of your lawn. The pH is a measure of the acidity of your soil. A pH level below 7.0 is considered acidic, and a pH level above 7.0 is alkaline. According to the Master Garden Products website, the desired pH level for your lawn should be 6.2 to 6.5. These levels maximize turf growth.
When to Apply
The best time to apply lime is in the fall. The winter weather helps to break down the lime, which paves the way for maximum spring growth. If a spring or summer soil test indicates the need for a lime application, it’s fine to apply it then, too.
Experts agree that lime should only be applied to your lawn when a soil test indicates that it is needed. Too much lime on a lawn can be harmful. The goal is to establish a balance, and that means targeting a pH level for your lawn that maximizes turf growth. Many soil samples reflect a pH level below 6.0, which indicates the need for a lime application. If a soil sample test for your lawn indicates that it is in the desired range, there is no need to add lime.
To test your soil, purchase a soil test kit from your local garden center or contact your local county extension office, which might be able to perform a soil test or, at the least, indicate where you can go to have your soil tested. A professional soil test will include a determination of whether your lawn needs lime. If it is needed, you likely will see the letter “M” and a number under the “Lime” section of your test. This number indicates how many pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet you need to apply.
Liming New Lawns
According to the website AllAboutLawns.com, the best time to apply lime to soil is before your lawn is planted. Allow enough time before planting to do a soil test and apply lime if necessary.
The University of West Virginia Extension Service says that homeowners should test their soil and determine whether to apply lime before planting occurs. “This applies to the sub-soil as well as the topsoil because lime moves very slowly through the soil,” the extension’s website explains.