Growise Home - Growise Center Locator - Who We Are - Gifts for Gardeners - Gift Certificates - Garden Guide - Wise Buys - National Gardening Sale - Fall Festival



Turf Tips: Does Your Lawn Need Lime?

by Nellie Neal

Too often nothing works when it comes to lawn care. You water regularly and fertilize in a timely fashion, mow at the right height for your particular turf and use a mulching mower to recycle the clippings, or bag them for the compost heap. Still, it doesn’t look great – maybe it’s pale all over or has dead patches and close examination of the grass blades may reveal green ribs with yellowing edges (called chlorosis). If you can find no indication of fungus diseases or insects like chinchbugs, and there’s little thatch or compaction to cause the stress, your problem may be underground.

How soil works

The natural chemistry that goes on in your soil changes subtly with the seasons as grass clippings decompose, nutrients break down and soil ages. Different kinds of plants need different kinds of soil chemistry to thrive. Soils are classified as acid, neutral or alkaline, depending on their chemical reaction. That reaction determines how much of each nutrient will be available to the plant and is measured by a pH test, a routine part of any soil analysis.

Why lime?

Turfgrasses grow best in a neutral soil and natural processes tend to make it acid over time. Lime applied to the lawn when it is too acid in pH restores the neutral reaction and your grass grows better. Have a soil test done by your county agent or nursery professional or if your favorite childhood toy was a chemistry set, buy a kit and do it yourself. Follow the directions to indicate your ‘crop’ (turf) and provide the soil sample as instructed. About a pint of soil taken from several parts of your lawn will give a good representation of its chemistry. The results will advise you if you need to lime your lawn and how much to apply.

What to do

Read the soil test results to learn how many pounds of lime you need to apply – it usually will be indicated in pounds per square yard. Multiply to know how much to buy. Then visit your Growise Center to purchase lime and borrow a spreader.

Use a walk-behind spreader to apply lime evenly across the lawn. Lime is available as a powdered or pelletized product; the pellets kick up less dust, but wear a dust mask when using either. Choose calcitic lime unless your soil test indicates you also have low levels of magnesium – use dolomitic lime to add both nutrients at once. Water after liming to dissolve it into the turf mat. Never use hydrated limes on your lawn!


Growise Home - Growise Center Locator - Who We Are - Gifts for Gardeners - Gift Certificates - Garden Guide - Wise Buys - National Gardening Sale - Fall Festival