Do you really need lime for healthy, green grass? You asked, I answered! Keep reading to find the answer to every question you have (and maybe a few you hadn’t thought of yet) about lime and your lawn!
Table of Contents
- What is lime?
- Why do you put lime on a lawn?
- How many bags of lime do you need per acre?
- Can you put too much lime on your lawn?
- How much does a 40 lb bag of lime cover?
- How do I calculate how much lime I need?
- How much lime to raise soil ph 1 point?
- How should I apply lime?
- When is the best time to apply lime?
- What type of lime should I buy?
- Final Thoughts
What is lime?
Lime (also known as agricultural lime) has nothing to do with the citrus fruit but is actually a soil amendment made from ground limestone. It contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
Why do you put lime on a lawn?
Agricultural lime will raise the ph level of the soil. This makes soil less acidic and more alkaline. You don’t want soil that is highly acidic or highly alkaline. Lime is excellent for soil that has a lower ph and is more acidic. Your ideal soil ph balance should be slightly acidic, between 5.5 and 7.0.
Climate usually determines whether you have acidic or alkaline soil. Soil tends to be more acidic in areas with a lot of moisture. You can purchase an inexpensive soil ph test kit. Once you’ve determined the ph level of your soil, you can decide if you need to use lime.
How many bags of lime do you need per acre?
How much lime to use all depends on that little ph test. If your lawn has a very low ph balance, you can apply as much as 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet of lawn at a time. Of course, if your soil levels are closer to ideal, you can add less lime.
So, let’s do the math for a one-acre yard. One acre is 43,560 square feet. Divide that by 1,000, then multiply by the 50 pounds of lime. The total amount of lime per acre would be 2,178 pounds.
If your yard needs more than 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet, divide it into two applications. Generally, one application should be done in the spring and the other in the fall.
Can you put too much lime on your lawn?
Absolutely! Too much lime will burn your grass. Never apply more than 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet at a time. To make sure that your lime application does not burn the grass, always water after application to rinse the grass blades.
How much does a 40 lb bag of lime cover?
The general rule is that a 50 pound bag of lime will cover 1,000 square feet of lawn. If that’s the case, a 40 pound bag should cover about 800 square feet. That is if the soil ph requires the maximum amount of lime application. If your soil is only mildly acidic, 40 pounds of lime may be enough for 1,000 square feet.
How do I calculate how much lime I need?
There are several handy lime application rate calculators available online, including this one from Clemson University or this one from the National Gardening Association. Once you know your soil ph, it is simple to plug in the numbers to determine exactly how much lime your soil needs.
How much lime to raise soil ph 1 point?
If your soil ph is below 5.5, then it is time to add lime. If you want to do the math yourself, first, you need to determine your soil type.
- Sandy soil allows water and nutrients to move through it quickly. This means the lime will saturate the soil. Sandy soil will not form into a ball but just fall apart.
- Loam is the kind of soil that has a pretty good mixture of different particles in different sizes. It isn’t too sandy, but it isn’t too dense, either.
- Clay soil is very dense. It can take longer for nutrients to permeate clay. You know you have clay if you can clump the soil into a ball, and it retains its shape.
How does your soil type affect the lime application? Sandy soil may need less lime to make an impact on the soil ph than clay.
For example, if your ph is 5.5, and you have 1,000 square feet of space, you need to apply 30 pounds of lime to raise the ph 1 point. With loam, 80 pounds of lime will be needed to raise the ph one point. To permeate and change that dense clay in the same size area, you should apply 100 pounds of lime to raise the ph one point.
Remember, do not apply more than 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet at once! If your yard requires more lime, divide it into two applications, or it could burn your grass.
How should I apply lime?
A fertilizer spreader is a quick, easy way to ensure your lime is evenly distributed across your whole lawn.
Always apply lime to a dry, healthy lawn. You don’t want the lime to stick to wet blades of grass because it could damage the blades. If your yard is dormant or stressed, do not apply lime.
When is the best time to apply lime?
Test your soil initially in the spring as it warms up. If your ph indicates that you need lime, start with a spring time application. Test the soil again in the fall to see if you need a second application.
Fall is an ideal time for a lime application. Lime takes a while to break down completely. By applying lime in the fall, you allow the lime to break down and permeate the soil all winter. Test the soil again in the spring.
What type of lime should I buy?
When you’re shopping for lime, look for calcitic lime. Calcitic lime contains calcium. This is typically the preferred lime for lawn and soil use. It typically comes in either a pulverized or pelletized form. The pelletized lime is much easier to apply.
A green, healthy lawn requires healthy soil. Test your soil’s ph to determine if you need a lime treatment. Lime is an inexpensive and easy way to boost your yard’s overall health!