Lime that gets applied to your lawn is literally made up of pelleted, or powdered limestone rock. Soil amendments and regular fertilization are the key to a healthy lawn. In a general sense, 100 pounds of lime spread over 1,000 square feet will raise the pH level of your soil by one point. Reduces damaging effects of acidic soil on lawns and gardens. We have a comprehensive guide on soil testing here on Gardener’s Path. They don’t treat plant beds for shrubs or trees or flowering plants. Do you need to lime your lawn grass? Liquid lime is applied with a sprayer but it can be difficult to judge the amount of lime applied. How to Tell if Your Lawn Needs Lime. Buy Your Lime. The finer the grind or mesh size, the more readily it will act to raise soil pH. Read more about understanding the kind of dirt that you may have in your plot. Have you done pH and nutrient testing? You may “sweeten” acidic soil with two types of agricultural limestone: Calcitic lime (calcium carbonate) comes from limestone, chalk, or marlstone. Liming New Lawns. Don’t expect an extra application of fertilizer to help because highly acidic soil can’t absorb nutrients effectively. In dirt with acidity above pH 6.5, there may be deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, or molybdenum. For example, bone meal boosts calcium and phosphorus. Best Time Of Year To Lime Your Lawn. To understand soil nutrients better, I consulted a paper titled Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms by horticulturist Barbara Bromley of the Master Gardeners of Mercer County, an arm of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in New Jersey. Whether you test it yourself or have a garden center or lawn care extension service do it … The best time to apply limestone depends on if you want to seed your lawn and the time of year. If testing indicates the need for either calcitic or dolomitic lime, you may like the following products. To make your lawn less acidic, you can apply lime. Calcitic lime (calcium carbonate) comes from limestone, chalk, or marlstone. Neutral is 7.0. Moss, bare spots and weeds are signs that your soil has low pH (acidic), which means your lawn could need lime. https://goo.gl/SraXXQ ...Click here to buy your lime! Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. When it comes to the best time to aerate lawn, most people think it’s spring. Dirt that can buffer changes in pH is less likely to become too acidic or alkaline. There are several types of agricultural lime used as a soil amendment to correct pH, but the form normally applied to lawns is pulverized, powdered limestone or chalk. A ph that is desirable is between 6.0 and 7.0. Testing reveals not only the pH level, but nutrient deficiencies and excesses as well. Choose a Time Pelletized calcitic limestone by Oldcastle is available from Amazon in 40-pound bags, for 1,000 square feet of application with a broadcast spreader. Both types of lime contain calcium, and dolomite lime also contains magnesium. The two types of lime that gardeners should become familiar with are agricultural lime and dolomite lime. There are several types of lime and your local garden center can help you determine the best type for your grass, soil type and climate. Fall is a good time to apply lime to your lawn or vegetable garden, so it has a chance to work into the dirt before the next growing season. This process is called flocculation. A pH of between 6 and 7 is typically where your lawn will grow best. And thanks for your nice comment about Dad, the greenest thumb in my family. Calcitic lime is usually the best for your lawn, but lime comes in several types. If your dirt is acidic, and the nutrient content is adequate, the calcitic type is the better choice. Dolomitic lime (calcium magnesium carbonate) is comprised of the mineral dolomite. Spring is a great time to test your soil, and you can apply lime between fall and early spring. To summarize, liming isn’t a fall task that all homeowners with lawns should routinely perform. There are numerous natural and chemical applications available to remedy nutrient deficiencies determined by soil testing. The ideal for most turf grass is about 6.0 to 7.0. A spreader is the best tool for applying lime. Conversely, if your dirt is acidic and lacks magnesium, dolomitic lime is the more suitable option. Most plants prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Lawn grasses generally thrive in soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. The calcium carbonate equivalent, or CCE, is factored into calculations to establish the recommended number of pounds per acre. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Different plants prefer different pH levels. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. Adds desirable nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, and increases bacterial activity to improve soil structure. They also contribute calcium and magnesium to soil. Grass that responds well to good care requires neither acid reduction, nor the addition of calcium or magnesium. The plain pulverized version is generally cheaper and breaks down faster. Powdered lime is faster acting but messier to apply than pelletized lime. A note of interest: Nitrogen is so changeable that home test kits generally don’t measure it. Before you begin, a few liming lawn tips should be considered. Is your grass lush, like a thick green carpet, or is it marred by bare patches and weeds? Pelletized dolomitic limestone is available from Tractor Supply Company. This number indicates how many pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet you need to apply. Numbers below 7.0 represent acidity, and those above signify alkalinity. Healthy lawns need proper soil pH to thrive, usually between 6.0 and 7.0. You should also lime the lawn in the fall! For example, cool season grass seed is typically sown in the fall because this turf type cannot tolerate hot summer weather. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project! However, most gardeners find that pellet forms are easier to apply than powders. Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. As you travel west, dirt tends to be more alkaline. Soil has a quality known as buffering capacity, aka reserve acidity, that is greatest in the presence of clay and rich organic matter. This way, your criss-cross pattern ensures the grass is evenly and completely covered. If your garden shrubs and plants are thriving, I would leave the soil alone. Apply half of the recommended amount of lime by walking back and forth horizontally with the spreader, then add the second half by walking vertically. Smart man. If you live in a shaded orange area above, your soil probably requires lime. The grass is blooming, and you want to make sure your soil is getting enough water and nutrients. Pellets tend to be pricier, and they are made with a binding agent that must break down before the lime can work its way into the earth. Have warm-season grass? I think the one-size-does-not-fit-all concept cannot be stressed enough. What were the results and recommendations for improvement? The lower that value, the more of the lime you’ll need to apply, so seek a lawn lime with a neutralizing value greater than 80 percent, such as Baker Lime that starts at 89 percent. If your magnesium levels are out-of-control, select agricultural lime, or aglime, as it is made solely of crushed limestone and won’t add additional magnesium to the soil. Agricultural lime is a conditioning agent that many folks apply to their lawns, vegetable gardens, flower beds, and pastures. The yard was full of acid-lovers including boxwood, cypress, hemlock, and rhododendron shrubs, as well as some weedy crabgrass, dandelion, plantain, and sorrel. Pelletized lime is very similar to ground ag lime, but easier to apply in this pellet form. Old Castle Lawn & Garden 54055009 098962 Jolly Gardner Fast Acting Lime, 5000 sq. Don’t spread lime on a dry, wilted lawn or a soggy, wet lawn. Let’s talk about each. Aglime consists solely of crushed limestone while dolomitic lime also contains magnesium to help … A lawn has, less of a chance of loss of nutrients and thatch is reduced with a decent ph element. If you’re not sure whether it’s right for you, read on! Lime conditions the soil and will improve the growth of turf while making it healthier. Here is more about what we do. If your soil pH is below 5.5, your lawn won’t grow well. If you fertilize regularly, or your grass absorbs runoff from neighboring properties, ammonium and/or an overabundance of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus may increase acidity. Don’t spread lime on a dry, wilted lawn or a soggy, wet lawn. THANKS, The yellow powder that you see each spring is pollen from the trees, and this shouldn’t have an effect on the soil (though it may get your allergies going). If you’ve enjoyed this article, see these guides for more information on lawns and grass: © Ask the Experts, LLC. Here’s a hint that may help you determine if you need lime lawn treatment: If you live in a dry, desert climate, there’s a chance your soil is alkaline and you may not need to lime your lawn grass. Both types of agricultural lime contain traces of additional elements, and it’s the amount of pure calcium carbonate that distinguishes the best products. Do you have problems growing basic leaf lettuce in your veggie patch? Sign up for our newsletter. If your test results show normal or low magnesium levels, dolomitic lime should do the trick! Lime with a high calcium content is referred to as calcitic lime and it has the benefit of adding calcium to the soil. If yours is sandy, it may not be able to buffer properly to avoid becoming acidic. Get the soil professionally tested. Hi William – Thanks for your excellent question. For us to know the best lime to go for, we need to understand what lime is. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Thank you, Willow. Don’t confuse calcitic and dolomitic agricultural limestone with non-agricultural quick lime (calcium oxide), and slaked/hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide), which are used in a variety of applications from cooking and papermaking to construction and water treatment. It also has a positive effect on soil structure, creating more airspace in clay dirt and compacting sandy soil for better airflow and moisture retention. ft. Molybdenum. Tampering with soil pH and nutrients may ruin a healthy lawn and take years to remediate. Granular lime – granular lime is probably the most popular lime for home gardeners as it comes in little pellets which make it easy to spread evenly. Types of lime to apply to a lawn: Agricultural limestone or "Ag lime" is a finely granulated calcitic limestone. 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I just got an email from my lawn care company and they recommended liming the lawn due to the acidity of the soil. The other type of lime sold by gardening centers is often called aglime or agricultural lime. Follow the specific testing guidelines on the product that you purchase. However, because pelletized lime is more processed, it also tends to be more expensive by weight. Tell us about your lawn in the comments section below. You won’t know if your lawn needs lime unless you conduct a soil test. Read more articles about General Lawn Care. Powdered lime is too fine for most spreaders, and generally has to be spread by hand. Water lightly after your lime lawn treatment to help the soil absorb the lime. A pH or nutrient imbalance inhibits this process. Lime by soil test recommendations. Once the proper pH is established, you will probably need to lime only once every few years. Apply it easily with a broadcast spreader. By understanding how lime helps lawns and why you may need lime, you can help your lawn reach its full potential. A soil test can tell you the best type of lime to apply. Knowing this establishes whether we have acidic or alkaline soil. Back in the day, Dad evaluated ours by considering where we lived and what grew there. In the same way, your dad assessed the needs of the lawn based on the plants growing there. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. They can test the soil to determine if it has the proper nutrients and whether it’s alkaline enough. According to the website AllAboutLawns.com, the best time to apply lime to soil is before your lawn is planted. Should I do anything for my beds? With an ample hopper and heavy-duty frame, this multi-purpose spreader adjusts as needed to apply lime, feed, or seed. If your lawn is beautiful, do not add lime. However, if they are failing to thrive, I recommend a soil test to determine the pH, and a review of the plants themselves, to determine their acidity preferences. The Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader is available from Amazon. Be sure to rake these up as they fall, and plant shade-tolerant grass seed of a variety that does well in moderately acidic soil. In general, a lawn’s pH level should be between 6.0 and 7.0. I BELIEVE IT IS ACIDIC. Only a soil test will tell. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Calcitic and domestic lime most commonly used in gardening. The choice is up to you. Dolomitic lime (calcium magnesium carbonate) is comprised of the mineral dolomite. Depending on your soil type and climate, you can determine the right type of lime for your lawn. Lime corrects soil acidity by raising the pH, so if your soil tests below 6, it probably means you need to spread lime. Soil contains primary macronutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; secondary macronutrients calcium, magnesium, and sulfur; and micronutrients manganese, iron, boron, molybdenum, zinc, and copper. Most grasses, even shade-tolerant… Read more ». I do organic gardening and regularly add natural soil amendments based on the pH of the soil and needs of the plants I’m growing. Actually an element called calcium sulfate. By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer. A soil pH test is the best method to determine if your lawn needs lime. Soil Doctor 54050860 Pelletized Calcitic Limestone via Amazon. Poor soil drainage Best Time to Lime a Lawn. But the leaves and acorns that oak trees drop contain tannins, which do contribute to the acidity of the soil. So have tested the pH of your soil and you now want to add lime to your soil as you believe this will improve your lawn and turn it into the lush green grass that you have always wanted. It is used to raise the soil's pH or make the soil more alkaline for grass growth. Neutralizing acidic soil helps to ensure efficient nutrient uptake so grass is healthy and attractive. Pulverized and bound into pellets, this product generates less dust than non-pelletized types. Once you’ve decided on the best type of lawn, refer to the label to determine the proper amount, which will depend largely on your soil pH. Without lime, lawn grasses may be unable to benefit from the nutrients in your soil, including those you add through fertilizers. As it turns out, his pH assessment was an accurate one. TRYING TO GROW GRASS UNDER A HUGE OAK TREE, EVERY SPRING THE TREE HAS THIS YELLOW POWDER THAT COVERS ALL OF MY LAWN. Lime is a soil amendment made from a limestone rock that contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. If your tree casts enough shade, you won’t be able to grow a lush lawn beneath your oak no matter what you do. If you live on the East Coast like I do, there’s enough rainfall to cause alkaline nutrients to leach out of the dirt, thereby increasing its acidity. It sounds like the soil beneath the lawns in your area tends to be acidic. The only way to find out for sure is to take a soil test (Inexpensive tests are available at garden centers.). Product photos via Soil Savvy, Tractor Supply Company, Soil Doctor, and Scotts. Find Lime soil amendments at Lowe's today. In many parts of the country, adding lime to your lawn is as essential as mowing it. A reduction in acidity may take place in the first year, or over several years, depending upon your lawn’s unique conditions. Shop soil amendments and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com. If you live a rainy area where acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons and camellias thrive, your soil is likely acidic and may benefit from lime lawn treatment. Easy-to-spread pelletized limestone for lawns The implications of such deficiencies include things like yellowing from decreased chlorophyll, withering of leaf blades, poor winter tolerance, slow-knitting sod, poor growth, reddish leaf tips, low resistance to disease, and reduction in turf density. See our TOS for more details. Pelletized limestone is a natural mineral which neutralizes acid and toxic elements, improves soil structure, promotes healthy bacteria and enhances nutrient availability and disease resistance. Don’t lime during frosty weather. Lime adds these two essential elements to the soil, but it is more commonly used to correct the soil pH. The Best Way to Lime Large Lawns. 3. Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader. Many gardeners prefer to lime just before the first frost in fall because the soil has all winter to absorb the lime. https://goo.gl/ymS7dV ...Click here to try a liquid form of lime! To determine the pH of earth in your garden, use a product like the Soil Savvy Test Kit available on Amazon, or contact your nearest agricultural extension service for a kit. Love that you are an organic gardener in tune with your plants’ needs. I switch between dolomitic and calcitic depending on mg needs there is a Grassfactor YouTube video in lime and seems research points to proper rates holding pH for 2-3 years. the Soil Savvy Test Kit available on Amazon, your nearest agricultural extension service, Read more about understanding the kind of dirt, effective neutralizing material, ENM, and effective liming material, ELM, Chickens in the Garden: What You Need to Know, 9 Cauliflower Head Disorders and How to Avoid Them, Into the Cloning Vats: Easily Propagating African Violets, Color Your Garden Brightly with Painted Daisy, The Best Sun-Protective Gear for Gardeners, Reel It In! So the selling point may be apply properly this year and check again in 2 years. Would also assume following apps would be low. Liming a lawn that doesn’t need it is a waste of time and money, and liming soil that is already highly alkaline may affect soil health and result in a sickly, yellow lawn. However, garden soil may be different, because various amendments may have been added over the years. A variety of factors influence pH in the earth of your lawn or garden, including nutrient content, rainfall, fertilizer use, and soil type. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! 7 of the Best Garden Hose Reels, How to Battle Colorado Potato Beetles in Your Garden. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. Test every year to be sure you aren’t adding too much lime. The optimal pH for grass is between 6.0 and 7.0. Be sure to read package labels before purchasing lime products. Once the acidity is reduced, nutrient uptake will improve, and so should the appearance of your lawn. If you haven’t planted grass seed yet, apply lime to the soil just before you plant. The pH of soil is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a mixture of dirt plus distilled water. You can inhibit nitrogen deficiency by mowing regularly and letting the grass clippings stay where they fall. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Calcitic lime has plant benefits, so … If your lawn doesn’t improve, test the dirt again. Pelletized lime is finely ground up limestone, according to the University of Kentucky. Thanks for the informative article. The best time to lime, fertilize and seed your lawn is at the beginning of your grass type's growing season. Granular lime pellets are most commonly used in a spreading machine and that’s the reason they are easy to spread evenly. Soil acidity increases with increasing rainfall. Applying lime when your lawn doesn’t need it is a waste of money and a couple hours of your precious time. Lime is also judged by its fineness, as measured by the ability to pass through mesh sieves of different sizes. Warm season grass types are sown in the spring when ground temperatures have warmed up from the winter. A lawn that is patchy, yellow/brown/dead, weedy, mossy, shallow-rooted, or all of the above may or may not need lime. Other categories for ranking include effective neutralizing material, ENM, and effective liming material, ELM, but they are beyond the scope of this article. If your dirt is acidic, and the nutrient content is adequate, the calcitic type is the better choice. These compounds help to amend soil, and neutralize a lawn that is too acidic. Pelleted limestone has become preferred over powdered form, mostly because it’s easier to apply. Pelletized lime is less subject to windy and dry conditions: Pulverized lime is best applied during moist weather, as wind and dry conditions can cause the lime application to blow around and become less evenly applied. If you live in a non-agricultural area, the calcitic lime can be tough to find, so other types may be your only option. In addition, nutrients like aluminum, iron, and magnesium may become toxic in the presence of excess acidity. Most types of lawn grass grows best in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 7. However, it is such a fine powder that the slightest breeze makes it airborne and poses an inhalation risk. I recommend pellets, but there are also pulverized products available that have not been bound into pellets. Limestone can be derived from dolomitic or calcitic lime. Liming was a tradition at my dad’s house, so when caring for the lawn became my job, I intended to do the same – that is, until I learned it’s not a one-size-fits-all application. Originally published February 3, 2019. Allow enough time before planting to do a soil test and apply lime … Although spring is a fine time to aerate, the best time to aerate lawn is actually in the fall. Packages contain 40 pounds, enough to spread over 1,000 square feet. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. Limestone naturally contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Food, 12.5 Lb - Fall Lawn Fertilizer Builds Strong, Deep Grass Roots for a Better Lawn Next Spring - Covers 5,000 Sq Ft 4.6 out of 5 … You may also come across liquid lime (chelated calcium) for spraying directly onto the foliage of calcium-deficient plants. Spring is a great time to test your soil, and you can apply lime between fall and early spring. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Three main types of lime are available: hydrated lime, ground lime and burnt lime, all of which are calcium or calcium and magnesium compounds. You can learn more about lime lawn treatment and the best time to lime a lawn here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/adding-lime-to-soil.htm. The best type of product to use on your lawn is called dolomitic lime. Lime quality varies from place to place, so to gauge it you can ask about its effective neutralizing value. Depending on the type of lime, you can use a drop-style or rotary spreader. Last updated: March 21, 2020 at 2:02 am. Plants like grass require nutrients that are water soluble, so roots can take them up for healthy growth. Sometimes we give our grass too much love and end up at the opposite end of the pH spectrum with too much alkalinity, iron issues, and poor nutrient uptake. 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