Maintaining a lush, green lawn is desirable for many homeowners. It takes a bit of work, and some know how to keep a lawn in top shape. Among these is ensuring that your soil has all the necessary nutrients and a proper pH balance.
Most lawns will require a neutral pH balance of 7.0, but some grasses do better in slightly acidic soils (pH ~6.0). For soils with extremely low pH, a quick and safe way to increase the pH is through lime applications. This article will explain how to spread lime on lawn, whether you are adding it is as a single application or using it as part-of-a-program.
Let’s dive right in.
- Tips on How to Spread Lime on Lawn
- 1. How Much Lime to Add to Lawn
- 2. Apply Evenly
- 3. Apply at the Right Time
- How to Spread Pelletized Lime
- How to Spread Powdered Lime on Lawn
- How to Spread Lime on Lawn by Hand
- How to Spread Lime on Lawn (FAQs)
- Can you spread too much lime on your lawn?
- When should I apply lime to my lawn?
- Should I lime my lawn before it rains?
- Can I apply lime and fertilizer at the same time?
Tips on How to Spread Lime on Lawn
1. How Much Lime to Add to Lawn
The amount of lime to add will vary by location, soil type, and desired results. The best way to determine how much lime you need is by doing a soil test. This involves taking several samples from your yard and sending them off to the lab for analysis. You can also perform the test yourself with a simple kit from your local garden center.
Based on these results, they may recommend the rate of application for lime or other amendments, such as fertilizer. However, as a general rule of thumb, a rate of 50 lbs of lime per 1000 square feet is sufficient for most soils. Be careful not to add too much lime, which can adversely alter the soil’s pH and kill your grass.
2. Apply Evenly
Liming should be done uniformly throughout the area. This may take some practice, but by using a spreader or drop spreader, you can quickly even out your lime application within a few passes. Keep in mind that as you distribute your lime evenly, it will apply different rates based on the soil type.
Suppose you are spreading lime using a fertilizer spreader. The first pass will be the heaviest, and it will be distributed more evenly as you go over the same area a second time. If you are using a drop spreader, apply your lime as uniformly as possible so that it is not too heavy in one area or through another.
Be sure to rake the area thoroughly once finished. This will help maximize your lime’s potential and ensure that soil is properly mixed with lime particles. A quick pass with a leaf blower or power broom can also help work it into the soil surface (be careful not to damage your grass).
3. Apply at the Right Time
To achieve maximum results from your lime application, you should apply it during the correct season. Lime is most effective when applied in fall and spring. During these seasons, the rain and snow wash away old nutrients and soil buildup. This creates a “clean slate” that allows lime to penetrate your soil better.
Although lime is safe for your lawn when applied in optimal conditions, avoid applying it too early (before the soil thaws) or too late (after the first frost), as this may damage your grass and hinder results.
How to Spread Pelletized Lime
Pelletized lime is an effective way to add lime to your soil. Unlike powdered or granular forms, the pellets are small enough to be spread using a regular fertilizer spreader. This allows for quick and even application and ensures that the lime is worked into your soil properly.
When applying pelletized lime, it is important to work in small sections. Since the pellets are dense, the spreader may not pick them up as easily as other lime forms. A quick pass will allow for good distribution and proper absorption. You can also use a drop spreader or even your hands to spread the pellets.
What’s important is that the pellets are distributed over your area evenly to avoid excessive accumulation in one spot. Afterward, you can apply water to help break down the pellets and distribute them more evenly. Watering also helps wash away excess lime on the grass blades to prevent burning.
How to Spread Powdered Lime on Lawn
Powdered lime is a form of lime that has been processed into powder state for easier application. While it’s commonly used in agriculture, powdered lime can also be applied to lawns.
When using powdered lime, you can either spread the material over your grass with a fertilizer spreader or work it into your soil manually with a rake. If you are using a fertilizer spreader, be sure to work in smaller sections as the powdered lime may load up faster than granular forms.
Applying lime with a spreader is also a great way to evenly distribute your lime and ensure that it gets worked into the soil properly. Although powdered lime is less dense than pelletized lime, it can still be difficult for a spreader to pick up. A pass or two should do the trick, so you may want to try working in small sections and go over them two or three times to fully spread your lime.
While spreading lime using a broadcast spreader is a great way to evenly distribute the product and get it working into your soil, it takes a lot of shaking and hard-driving. This can be immensely helpful in a large area, but a rake and shovel are your best friend for small sections.
How to Spread Lime on Lawn by Hand
Hand spreading lime on your lawn is by far the most labor-intensive method, but it can be effective. However, you’ll want to take care not to apply too much lime in one spot, or else your grass will burn (especially during hot summers).
- Wear protective clothing: First, you’ll want to put on some protective gear. This includes goggles, a dust mask, and some gloves. Limestone is fine to breathe in, and it has dormant mineral shards that can irritate your eyes or skin.
- Rake the lawn: When you’re ready, start by using a rake to break up the soil surface and remove any debris, weeds, or grass. This will help the lime to penetrate and distribute more evenly. It will also help work it into the lawn when adding water.
- Spread the lime using your hands: Start spreading the lime evenly across the lawn to avoid clumping. You’ll want to apply a thin layer of lime over the whole lawn, but avoid applying too much at once. You can set your fingers to about 2cm (1″) apart to estimate how much you’re applying per area and then slowly release it to achieve a sort of “sprinkling” effect.
It might take a while (and be a bit tiring), but try to work in small sections of your lawn at a time. You can always go back and spread more lime if you feel that your lawn has not had enough coverage.
Be sure to add water to your lime upon completion of these steps. This will help break down the particles so that they may be absorbed by the soil better, and it’ll also help evenly distribute them over your lawn.
How to Spread Lime on Lawn (FAQs)
Can you spread too much lime on your lawn?
Excessive lime is something you’ll want to avoid. When too much lime is applied, calcium levels can rise to dangerous levels, and grass can die from “burning.”
Too much lime raises the pH of the soil, which inhibits other nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Ensure you run a pH test to ensure you are applying the correct amount of lime.
When should I apply lime to my lawn?
You should apply lime to your lawn during the fall or spring seasons. During these times, grass has unrestricted access to sunlight, and moisture levels are high, which will help break down the lime particles so that they are absorbed more effectively by turf roots.
Should I lime my lawn before it rains?
You should apply lime to your lawn before a rainfall. However, if you are expecting heavy rain in the next few days, it is best to hold off on applying lime so that the particles do not get washed away or become diluted.
Also, if you are expecting a sweltering summer, it might be wise to hold off on spreading lime as your lawn will need access to more moisture.
Can I apply lime and fertilizer at the same time?
You can apply both lime and fertilizer to your lawn at the same time. It saves time and helps the process go more quickly and evenly. However, you should never apply lime to your lawn with other types of chemicals.
This can be harmful to beneficial bacteria in the soil; a typical fertilizer does not contain chemicals that may harm these colonies, so applying them together is generally safe.
Lime is an effective way to help maintain your lawn, but it’s important that you follow the instructions on how to spread lime on lawn properly. With these steps in mind, you should apply lime most effectively and enjoy a healthy lawn.
Remember to wear protective clothing and water your lime when you’re done to ensure even distribution and proper absorption.