How to Spread Lime

Lime is a common soil amendment or conditioner; it is not a plant fertilizer. The primary purpose of lime is to stabilize soil acidity. However, it also regulates the level of magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorus and bacteria found in soil.

Be careful with Lime if you have pets, it can be harmful. It can get into the cracks in their paws, and cause pain and bleeding.


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    Test your soil's pH level to determine if lime is needed. A pH test measures the soil's alkalinity or acidity. When the pH is above 7.0, the soil is said to be alkaline; when below 7.0, it is acidic. A pH level of 6 to 7 is ideal for most grasses. If your soil is too acidic, use a lime application.
    • Bring a soil sample to a government or independent soil testing laboratory for the most complete testing results.
    • You can use a self-test kit or pH probe, sold at garden centers, to test your soil. The pH level indicated by these tests may show a need for, but do not often tell you how much lime is needed.
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    Purchase lime. There are several types of lime sold for use on home lawns. Calcitic lime usually renders the best results, but it can be difficult to find if you live in a non-agricultural area. You can also use dolomitized lime, sold in pellet form, and powdered lime, which is available in sacks.
    • Generally speaking, 100 pounds (45 kg) of lime spread over 1,000 square feet (92 square meters) will raise your soil pH level by 1 point.
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    Choose a time for lime application. You can spread lime any time, but you generally get the best results if you do it as you prepare the soil for planting.
    • Lime can be applied to established lawns at any time. The best times are fall, winter and early spring. Do not apply lime when the grass is wilted or covered with frost.
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    Apply the lime using a drop spreader.
    • Set your spreader to apply the lime at the appropriate rate as indicated in the instruction manual for your spreader or on the package of the lime.
    • Walk back and forth across the lawn with the spreader, spreading the lime in horizontal rows until the entire area is covered.
    • Repeat the process, walking in vertical lines to ensure that you cover the ground evenly and don't miss spots between rows. Lime does not travel horizontally, so untreated grass will not turn green like treated spots will.
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    Give the lawn a light watering to help the lime absorb into the soil and ensure that it does not wash away.
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    Repeat the process once a month if necessary, until you reach the desired soil pH level. You should never apply more than 100 pounds (45 kg) per 1,000 square feet (92 square meters) at a time. If the pH level of your soil is extremely acidic, you may need to make 2 to 4 applications.
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    Test the soil again in 3 to 5 years to check the pH level. Once amended with lime, your soil should not need additional lime treatment for several years. Unless you live in an area where the soil is very acidic and yearly treatment is necessary, it is not a good idea to lime the soil annually without testing it first.

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Categories: Lawn Care