Before you know if you need to apply lime to your lawn, you need to know the pH level of your soil. The pH level will indicate whether your lawn soil is too acidic or alkaline. The pH level range from 1.0 to 14.0. A value of 1.0 indicate extreme acidity and a value of 14.0 indicates extreme alkaline. A desirable or balanced pH level is between 6.5 and 7.0. If your lawn soil has a pH level in this range, your grasses will grow healthily and there is less chance of weeds growing. If the pH level of your lawn soil is less than 6.5, it is acidic and you have to add lime to bring it back to balance.
In general, when there is an increase in rainfall, the acidity of your soil will also increase. Other factors that can cause acidity include irrigating with water that has a high acid content and decomposition of organic matter.
You can purchase a soil test kit from your nearest nursery or garden center to test your lawn soil pH. However, the test result will only tell you if your soil is acidic or alkaline. You will not know how much lime is required to bring the soil back to balance. A better alternative is to send a soil sample to a soil test lab for testing. You can look up the yellow pages to find one that is located in your vicinity. Once the soil test is completed by the lab, you will receive a report with an accurate analysis of your soil chemistry and composition. There should be a section in the report indicating the amount of lime you need to apply to your lawn.
There are a few type of lime available in the market. The most common type being pulverized limestone, which is relatively inexpensive. Another type is dolomitic limestone, which contain magnesium. This is used when the soil test indicates that your soil is low in magnesium. The more expensive type of lime is pelletized limestone, which is cleaner and easier to apply. When applying time, you should use a rototiller to work the lime into the soil for best result.
You can apply lime any time during the growing season but not when the grasses are wilted or frost covered. Do not apply fertilizer immediately after a lime application. Give the lime about two weeks to improve the soil before applying fertilizer. If you have a new lawn, you should apply the lime before planting any seed.
A soil test should be done every three to four years. Apply lime to your soil only when the test result indicates such necessity. Too much lime will cause your soil pH to go off balance, which will lead to other lawn problems. As long as you are able to maintain a balanced pH level for your soil, your lawn will have a easier time to grow healthily.