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The Importance of Lime

Updated: Jan 18

Why Lime Is Important

Over time the constant use of fertilize will leach the soil of calcium and magnesium. Other causes are rainfall over time, irrigation and a breakdown in organic material. This results in acidic soil, a weedy lawn, yellow to lime green grass and excessive moss. The lack of calcium in your soil also affects microbial activity which makes nutrients less available to your grass. If your lawn care program is not working as it should, then you likely have acidic soil and/or a deficiency in calcium. Grass thrives when the soil is neutral to slightly acidic. Neutral soil has a PH of 7 while slightly acidic soil has a PH of 6 to 6.5.

Figuring out the PH level in soil is a quick and easy process. You can purchase soil test kits for about $12.00 at your local box store. There are several options available. Below I have two examples of the tests I use on my lawns.

The first soil test is very easy to use. Simply push the stakes into the soil to get a reading. The second requires a soil sample, but it too is fairly easy and takes less than 10 minutes to get a reading. The second test also allows you to measure the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the soil as well.

Once the PH level is diagnosed the next task is to figure out how much Lime to use. Most of the time it will take 25 to 75 lbs of Lime per 1,000 square feet to get the PH level to adjust. The amount will depend on how acidic the soil is. If you do not know the square footage of your lawn then use four times the amount of Lime then you would fertilize. So if your lawn uses one bag of fertilize, use four bags of Lime. Once the lime is applied it takes about two months for the PH levels to change. After two months perform another soil test. If the desired result is not obtained then apply more lime.

When applying lime it is important not to fertilize your lawn for at least a month. Avoid using fast acting limes as they are caustic. Use dolomitic lime. Lime can be purchased at most lawn and garden centers. Use a fertilizer spreader to evenly apply to your lawn. You can apply Lime any time of the year but Fall is the most desirable time.


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