Lime Lawns – Sweet and Sour

Oh what a sight when you turn a corner and there in front of you is this absolutely beautiful yard. Almost makes you want to smile, then your get to your yard and then you become a little, um, depressed? We all want a beautiful yard and we do the best we can but sometimes overlook the actual health of the soil that hold our lovely blades of grass together. Prior to doing research for my own lawn, I was unaware that it was important to Lime Lawns if necessary. I was surprised to learn how easy it is.

There are 3 different types of lime that are available to apply to your lawn. Burnt Lime which reacts quickly; Hydrated Lime, also called slaked lime, is more effective than Calcium Carbonate and the last is Calcium Carbonate which is easier and less harsh to deal with and is the most widely used throughout the United States.

If you’re not sure if your lawn requires a dose of lime, have your soil checked by either a lawn service, a local nursery or your county extension office. The testing is done to determine the amount of hydrogen contained within the soil. If the outcome number is between 1 and 7 then your soil is considered acidic and 7 and 14 the soil is considered alkaline. Most grasses thrive with a pH between 6.5 & 7.5. The acidic level can very throughout the country; acidic soil is also called “sour” soil. More alkaline soil is considered “sweet”.

The soil, if determined acidic, could be due to the leaching of calcium and magnisum from nitrogen based fertilizers, peat moss or compost. The addition of Lime will create a more balanced soil causing an increased of nutrients, calcium and magnesium. Once the soil is at a favorable pH level of approximately 7, the soil is more apt to give your lawn and other plants that healthy glow you are striving for; A healthy lawn is the best reason to Lime Lawns.

Ultimately, the best time to apply lime is prior to a new lawn. For established yards, the best time to Lime Lawns is in the fall or spring, which is also the best time to apply most other products your soil may need. If this is the case, don’t apply all of the products at one time, allow at least a week between the different applications to allow the soil to absorb what is needed. Lime can be purchased at your local home improvement store in either pellet or powder form. A spreader can be used with the pellets or the powder. It is very important that the lime is evenly distributed on the soil or lawn, especially the powder, as once the lime touches the soil, it will not move.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions as it is easy to over apply the lime. Generally, the rules are 150 pounds per 1,000 square feet. In addition, if more is needed the additional amount should be applied 2 to 3 years later. Prior to this second application, you may want to retest your soil as too much lime can harm your soil.