So, you took soil samples and sent them to a lab to ascertain the pH level of your lawn’s soil. The results are in and you discover that the level is less than 6.5. This means that you are going to have to add lime to your lawn’s soil.
There are a couple of things you will need to keep in mind as you decide what to do. They include what type of lime to use and what its formulation should be.
Let’s first tackle the types of lime that are available.
The most common lime products as far as horticulture is concerned are calcitic or dolomitic lime.
Both types of lime raise pH levels. However, calcitic lime also supplies the lawn with calcium and magnesium. If the soil test indicated a deficiency in either or both of these minerals, then select this type of lime. If your lawn is not lacking calcium or magnesium, then either the calcitic or dolomitic lime can be used. However, dolomitic lime is more often less expensive.
There is the additional choice of hydrated lime, aka builder’s lime or slake lime, but using either one raises some issues. According to Penn State Center for Turf Grass, hydrated lime products can burn turf grass and stick to shoes and thus be tracked into your home. Moreover, it is not compatible with organic growing.
As far as the lime’s formulation is concerned. Lime is offered in pulverized, pelleted, granular, and liquid forms. Turf professionals typically use liquid lime. However, they are fortunate enough to have spray equipment, which is necessary to spread it. Dry forms of lime can be spread on the lawn using a drop-spreader. Most homeowners own one because it is the tool they use to spread fertilizer.
It is said that most homeowners favor pelleted or granular lime because it is less dusty then pulverized.
Keep in mind that pellets are slower to deliver the benefits of lime to your lawn. That’s because it can take as long as 100 days for the pelleted lime to dissolve and start to work.
Fast-acting lime is available as a pellet and combines the best characteristics of pulverized and pelleted lime and more. Although it costs more, the substance goes about four times as far and works faster. For example, under situations where you would need 10 bags of conventional lime, only two bags of the fast acting lime will suffice.
The fast-acting lime will increase pH levels of your lawn in about six weeks. Commonly, it could take as many as 12 to 14 months when using conventional lime. It can be spread on the lawn in spring, so you can follow the regular growing season. You can also use a drop-spreader to apply it. This product goes under the name Lightning Lime, Encap, Agway, Pennington’s, and Solu Cal and is found in garden centers and large retail chains.
As soon as the lime becomes wet, adjustment to pH levels of your lawn begins.
Lime can be applied when the soil is not frozen, but the best time of the year is in spring or fall. Some turf professionals split the application into two seasons. So, if the pH test suggests 50 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet of lawn, the pros use 25 pounds in the spring and 25 pounds in the fall.
Acidic soil or soil with low pH levels appear in the east, the Midwest and some areas of the west in North America.