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To keep your lawn in prime condition you need to manage and control the acidic and alkaline levels within the soil, otherwise you could make growing conditions very difficult for your grass and plants. Depending on your type of soil, applying lime can really help keep this control and stability which is why I think it’s one of most important jobs you can carry out during the season, and one that you must keep on top of if you want a great looking lawn.
To make sure you’re carrying this out correctly, within this post I’ll show you how to apply the lime and the best time to do so.
Why Should You Apply
But before we get into that I want to explain why you would need to apply it. By adding lime to your soil you will reduce how acidic it is by increasing the pH level. Soils that are low in pH (or very acidic) make it difficult for the plants to get the nutrients they need and materials like aluminium found within acidic soils can be very damaging to those plants.
When to Apply
To see how see how acidic, or alkaline, you soil is you need to test it’s pH level. You can buy kits to do this yourself in some garden centres but for more accurate results I recommend you get it done by a pro. All you need to do is send them a sample of your soil and they’ll be able to tell you the exact pH level and from that they can determine how much lime you need to add, if any at all.
Too much or too little lime can harm your lawn so to stay on the safe side make sure you get it tested. If you have a pH of above 7.0 then your soil is alkaline, so you don’t need to add lime, and if your pH is below 7.0 then your soil is acidic, so you do need to add lime.
Make sure that you don’t plant any lawn see, plants or trees before you test the pH and apply the lime. If you were to apply the lime to areas with these plants then it could be years before you see any results. Also I would refrain from testing the soil after applying a fertiliser or compost to the lawn as you’ll probably get misleading data.
You want to test the soil when the weather has cooled down a bit, you can do this in spring but it’s probably better to do so in autumn as you give the lime the entire winter penetrate well into the soil. If you want to promote better penetration then aerating before applying the lime is a great way to do that.
How to Apply
If you’re applying more than than 0.5 kg per sq m then dig half of the lime into the soil and sprinkle the rest on top of the surface. But if you’re applying less than 0.5 kg per sq m then just dig in the entire amount of lime, although if digging isn’t practical then you can just spread some on top of the surface.
To make sure you spread the lime evenly I recommend you use a spreader, it makes the process much easier to do properly and ensures you don’t overdo, or under-do, the application. Although if you have a small area of lawn then you should be fine applying with your hand.
The lime will take some time to break down into the soil and neutralise the acidity so just stay patient and don’t be tempted to apply more, this isn’t an overnight process. If you do apply during the autumn then expect results either during the winter or the next spring.
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