Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:52 pm
Liming your lawn is an important practice to adjust soil pH and create a more favorable environment for grass growth. The ideal time to lime your lawn depends on various factors, including your location, soil type, and the specific needs of your grass. Here are some general guidelines for when to apply lime to your lawn:
1. Spring or Fall:
- In most regions, the best times to apply lime are in the spring or fall when the grass is actively growing, and the weather is mild. These seasons allow the lime to gradually adjust the soil pH without causing stress to the grass.
2. Conduct a Soil Test:
- Before applying lime, it’s essential to conduct a soil test to determine the current pH of your lawn. This will help you assess whether your soil is too acidic or alkaline and calculate the amount of lime needed. Soil tests also provide recommendations for the specific type of lime to use.
3. Time Before Seeding or Fertilizing:
- If you plan to reseed your lawn or apply fertilizer, it’s best to lime several weeks before these activities. Lime can take time to react with the soil and modify the pH. Applying lime well in advance ensures that it has ample time to take effect before you introduce new grass seed or nutrients.
4. Avoid Extreme Weather:
- Try to avoid liming during periods of extreme weather, such as very hot and dry summer months or during frosty winter conditions. Lime is more effective when it can react with the soil and water naturally.
5. No Lime During Drought:
- Do not apply lime during a drought or when the soil is extremely dry. Lime requires moisture to break down and change the soil pH. Wait until the soil is adequately moist for the best results.
6. Follow Local Recommendations:
- Consider your local climate and grass type when determining the timing of lime application. Local agricultural extension offices often provide guidelines specific to your region.
7. Repeat as Necessary:
- Lime is not a one-time application. It may need to be reapplied periodically, especially if your soil becomes acidic over time. A soil test can help you determine when it’s necessary to reapply lime.
8. Use Pelletized Lime for Quick Action:
- If you need a faster response, consider using pelletized lime. This type of lime breaks down more quickly than traditional ground or powdered lime and can be applied closer to seeding or fertilizing.
Remember that the effectiveness of lime depends on the type of lime used, your soil’s current pH, and the targeted pH level. Following soil test recommendations and adjusting your application timing accordingly will help you achieve the best results when liming your lawn.
Moss in the lawn
One weed that spreads in soils that are too acidic is moss. The moss is much more resistant and undemanding than the lawn. The lawn suffers on an acidic soil and barely manages to stand up to the moss. If you notice that the moss is spreading, you can fight it with a moss killer. If you do not get to the bottom of the cause, this measure will only provide short-term success and the moss will return.
If you notice the moss, this is a good time to give the soil a test. Use a simple test kit that will tell you about the soil condition. If the pH is indeed below the recommended target of 7, then it’s time to apply the lawn lime.
If you want a professional way to determine what the soil pH is, you can also send the lawn to a lab. This will perform a soil analysis and accurately determine if the pH is causing problems or if there is some other deficiency.
The lawn liming in the course of scarifying
Spring is a good time to prepare the soil for the coming season. This will ensure that the lawn will find optimal growing conditions and have the robust health.
When the soil wakes up from its “hibernation”, it does not appear in the best condition. There are plenty of remnants of the previous year on the ground and the soil is too hard for the lawn to grow there without problems.
Therefore, dethatching is performed in the spring to remove the old layers above the soil. At the same time, the soil is loosened somewhat so that the lawn seeds are better supplied with oxygen later.
Following the dethatching, it is advisable to lime a slightly acidic soil. The soil is more receptive and the lime can be used more efficiently. Thus, the amount you need to apply decreases and the effect is higher.
It is also appropriate to lime the lawn again at the beginning of September. It is now prepared for the winter and measures such as scarifying and aerifying are carried out again. Therefore, liming the lawn is also recommended at this time.
Ideal weather conditions for liming
You have now obtained a rough time period in which it is worthwhile to limewash the lawn. Can you now start at any time or is there anything else to consider?
Liming should be done after mowing and scarifying. As with fertilizing, it is also advantageous when liming if it is as windless and dry as possible. In this way, the lime is not blown away and remains on the lawn in the desired amount.
If a light rain is forecast for the next few days, this is the perfect time to apply the lime. Due to the irrigation, the lime now penetrates the soil better and raises the pH level there to the desired level.
Refrain from liming when the pH is high
Liming the lawn is not always necessary. While much-used soil will become slightly more acidic over time as plants and the lawn pull nutrients out, this development is not always so dramatic that liming would be necessary.
Therefore, you do not automatically have to reach for lawn lime in the spring, but should first test the soil. If it is still in the green range, then do without liming. Otherwise, the pH could be raised above the desired level, so that there is also an impairment of the lawn.
The perfect time to liming the lawn
If the soil is slightly acidic, the lawn lime will have an alkaline effect and help the soil return to the desired pH of 7. Three times are considered optimal to apply the lawn lime there.
- Moss or other weeds are spreading and testing the soil reveals that the pH is well below 7
- In the spring after scarifying
- During the preparation of the lawn for winter – also after scarifying.
If you follow these recommendations and perform a soil test regularly, you will be on the safe side. If, on the other hand, the test shows that the soil is too alkaline, it is better to use an iron fertilizer, which slightly lowers the pH value. Thus, with the appropriate measures, you will always keep the soil in the optimal pH range and the lawn will be happy about it.