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How To Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime – 1 Important Way

How to tell if your lawn needs lime is very important to every farmer. This is because acidic soils are harmful to most fruit and berry crops. They inhibit the development of the root system hence the whole plant. 

To reduce the acidity index, you need lime in the soil. It contributes to the enrichment of the soil with microelements, improves its structure, and increases the activity of beneficial microorganisms. Lime is best applied one to two years before laying the garden. 

It is an important fertilizer for plants, which increases the earth’s fertility and regulates its acidity. You need to know how to properly lime the soil in the garden not to harm vegetable crops.

Lime should not be thoughtlessly applied to the soil despite all the useful properties. If exceeded, this material can harm vegetables. The soil will become too alkaline; as a result, plants will no longer absorb the necessary micro and macro elements.

How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime
via Pxhere

How to tell if your lawn needs lime

Lime is usually tested in the fall as it provides the soil enough time to penetrate the soil. Aerate the lawn before testing the soil to allow the lime to penetrate deeply into the roots.

And do not test freshly fertilized or wet soil. Test the soil pH a few months after applying lime to see whether a second application is required. Once the desired pH is reached, it should take 2-3 years before applying it again.

It is never easier to identify the signs your lawn needs lime. The gardener’s secret to a lush and green lawn is that lime is necessary for every homeowner.

It is a great lawn fertilizer supplement that provides essential nutrients for plants and grass. It will take some weeks before you see the lime benefits in the garden, but the results are worth it.

Types of lime

1.       Lump lime

It is made in a mixture of pieces of different sizes. It consists mainly of oxides of calcium and magnesium. Also, it can include aluminates, silicates, and ferrites of magnesium or calcium, which are formed during firing and calcium carbonate. It does not perform the function of an astringent ingredient.

2.       Ground lime  

It is made by grinding lump lime, so its composition is almost identical. It is used in raw form. This avoids waste and accelerates hardening. Products from it have excellent strength properties; they are water-resistant and high density. 

To speed up the hardening process of the material, calcium chloride is added and to slow down the hardening, sulfuric acid or gypsum is added. 

This prevents the appearance of cracks after drying. Ground lime is transported in sealed containers made of paper or metal. It can store it no more than 10-15 days in dry conditions.

3.       Hydrated lime 

This type of lime is a highly dispersed dry compound formed during lime slaking. It consists of calcium and magnesium hydroxides, calcium carbonate, and other impurities.

4.       Lime paste

When a liquid is added in a volume that is enough for the oxides to turn into hydrates, a plastic mass is formed, which is called lime paste.

How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime 2
Lime spreading at Pullyernan – via Wikimedia

How to properly lime the soil

Most often, the soil is limed to a depth of 20 cm. But if lime is applied in an incomplete volume (for example, ¼ of the full dose), it is covered only to a depth of 4-6 cm. Hydrated lime (fluff) is not always safe for plants because it can burn their roots in high concentrations. 

The same goes for wood ash. Therefore, these fertilizers are recommended to be applied in the fall after digging the soil. At the same time, they must be evenly dispersed over the earth’s surface.

Deep these fertilizers do not close up. Dissolving under the influence of precipitation, they penetrate to the required depth. Other types of lime do not burn the plants, so they can also be used in the spring when planting.

At the same time, it is better to use lime on clay and loamy soils. On sandy soil, where magnesium is usually low, it is recommended to use limestone or dolomite flour.

Chalk, lacustrine lime or marl should be added to calcium-deficient soils since these substances contain calcium carbonate. And on heavy soils, slaked lime turns out to be the most effective due to its ability to enter into high-speed reactions.

Why do you need to add lime to the soil

In too acidic soil (pH up to 6), its biological activity decreases and plants are damaged by root beetle, gray rot, cabbage keel, wireworm, and gum disease in stone fruits.

Of course, you need to add lime to the places where fruit trees are grown because it provides the fruits of cherries and plums with a beautiful color, aroma and increases resistance to diseases and pests.

Here are some recommended soil pH ranges to follow for best yields:

  • pH 6-7 – cucumbers in the open field, onions, tomatoes, peas, cabbage, beans, rutabaga, carrots, leeks, rhubarb, beets, and tulip bulbs
  • pH 6-6.5 – berries, strawberries, fruit trees, potatoes, and ornamental plants.
  • pH 5.5-6.5 – herbs.

What is the dosage?

The amount of lime used is what the soil needs. The soil will need some lime, depending on its pH and consistency. It is best to have a professional lab do a soil analysis to know how much to use. 

The grass can tolerate a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Therefore, for every 10 square meters of area, approximately 25-300 kg of lime is required to correct a lawn with a slightly acidic pH

If you want to raise the pH of 30 square meters of sandy soil, you will need 3 kg, medium loamy soil 4 kg, and heavy clay soil 5 kg. The general dose is 1-2 grams per kilogram of soil once a year. 

But you must do a chemical analysis of the previous soil to determine the exact amount. After you add lime to the soil, you will notice changes, although it may take from half a year to a whole year for complete dissolution. That is, you won’t be able to see the full effect until it dissolves.


Conclusion

Experienced gardeners know that to obtain high yields, the chemical composition of the soil on which certain crops grow is extremely important. In this sense, plants are most suitable for lime soil. This article has given ways on how to tell if your lawn needs lime.