Skip to Content

Use Lime on Your Lawn: a Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners (2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

use lime in your lawnAs the sun rises in the morning and you gaze upon your lawn, do you wish for something more? Something greener, lusher, that leaves even your envious neighbors wondering how it was done? If so, adding lime to your lawn may be just what you need.

But where does one start with such a task? Well, don’t worry – this guide is here to help! Lime can greatly improve the health of any lawn by adjusting its soil pH level and creating slightly acidic dirt, which creates an optimum environment for lush grass growth.

In this step-by-step guide, we will cover everything from testing soil pH before adding lime to determining the best time to apply it, as well as the potential consequences of overusing it.

Key Takeaways

  • Lime adjusts soil pH, promoting optimal grass growth.
  • Test soil pH before adding lime and choose the appropriate type based on the soil report.
  • Apply lime when the ground is dry and incorporate it into the top 5 inches of soil.
  • Aerate the lawn before applying lime for better coverage and absorption.

Test Soil PH Before Adding Lime

use lime in your lawn 1
Before adding lime to your lawn, it’s important to test the soil pH so that you can determine how much lime is needed and ensure optimal grass growth. This will help balance the soil’s acidity levels for healthy plant development.

It’s best to submit a sample of your soil for testing before applying any lime products. Once you receive results from the lab, use those numbers as a guide when selecting the quality of the product and the amount needed based on the type of grass in your area.

Different types of calcitic limes are available, but look out for the calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE) percentage label on packaging as this indicates its effectiveness in raising the pH level and making nutrients more available within the soil’s structure.

When using spreaders or tillers, be sure never to apply during high heat or frost warnings. Apply instead when the ground is dry, with the top five inches incorporated into the mix evenly across the entire yard.

Choosing the Right Type of Lime

Choosing the Right Type of Lime
To ensure the best results for your lawn, it’s essential to choose the right type of lime based on your soil report. For example, if you have a cool-season grass, then calcitic lime with a higher calcium carbonate equivalent will be more beneficial.

Common types of limes used in lawns include dolomitic and pelletized limestone. The amount of pounds needed per square foot depends largely on the pH level and type of soil tested during routine testing procedures.

Different types of calcitic limes are available, including dry powder or granular forms, each offering varying CCE percentages that make nutrients more accessible within soils’ structures.

For warm-season grasses, use lower acidity products with lower CCE levels. Calcite is also an option for added plant benefits. Dolomite is the most common form but often not as safe to handle due to its fine particles.

When applying either product using tiller or drop spreader methods, always remember never to apply during high heat conditions nor frost warnings! Lime must be applied when the ground is dry so that the top five inches can incorporate into the mix evenly throughout the entire yard before deep waterings afterward increase absorption rates across the surface area completely covered by two directions each time applied according to recommendations set forth from individual property needs determined through prior testing services taken beforehand via local professionals handy just in case!

How to Apply Lime to Your Lawn

How to Apply Lime to Your Lawn
Once you’ve determined the right type of lime for your soil, it’s time to apply it to your lawn. Lime should be applied when the ground is dry and spread over two directions using a rotary or drop spreader.

Make sure you’re following recommended application rates based on soil test results and mix it with the top 5 inches of soil for maximum effectiveness.

Aerating your lawn before applying lime can also help ensure proper coverage and absorption into established turf areas.

  • Test pH levels in the spring as soon as possible when soils warm up.
  • Avoid high heat or frosty conditions during application.
  • Incorporate calcitic limes, which offer higher CCE percentages than dolomite.

Lime helps balance out acidic components within soil structures by replacing them with neutralizing agents such as magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. This can improve nutrient absorption, moisture retention, air flow, and overall health of any desired grass types, whether cool or warm season varieties! It’s important not to over-lime, though, as this could make the soil too alkaline for growing plants.

Best Time to Apply Lime

Best Time to Apply Lime
The best time to put lime on your grass is in the fall, giving it a head start before the spring growing season kicks into gear.

To make sure you’re applying enough and not too much lime for optimal results, it’s important to test soil pH levels first. This will help determine which type of lime — dolomitic or garden — and what spreader type works best given turf density and other factors like established lawns versus newly seeded ones.

A single application should be enough if done correctly using professional-grade equipment such as drop or rotary spreaders that evenly distribute product throughout two directions over top 5 inches of soil mix so nutrients are absorbed properly according to your grass types needs! It’s also a good idea to aerate established lawns before application since this helps ensure even coverage when applied correctly without clumps forming up during dry conditions only–avoiding high heat or frosty days altogether!

So don’t wait until springtime arrives; take advantage now by testing soils’ pH levels then proceeding with proper preparations towards putting in place an effective liming plan tailored specifically towards success within every yardscape situation out there today!

Benefits of Using Lime on Your Lawn

Benefits of Using Lime on Your Lawn
By applying lime to your grass, you can reap the rewards of a lush lawn and get ready for spring growth. Lime helps balance soil pH by neutralizing acidic components with neutral ones such as calcium carbonate, which is found in natural limestone.

This improves nutrient absorption and encourages healthy turf density while avoiding damage that otherwise occurs from overly acidic soils.

Preparing your lawn’s pH by adding lime also enhances growth potential since it increases essential nutrients available for plants like nitrogen and phosphorus. Applying calcitic lime provides additional benefits due to its high calcium content, which contributes towards maintaining an ideal range between 5-7 on the acidity scale per square foot of land area covered! It should be applied before fertilizer if soil acidity is too high, using either a drop or rotary spreader over the top five inches of dry mix – not dormant or stressed areas – then followed up with testing after several months so any adjustments needed may be made accordingly without risking harm from overliming.

Can Lime and Fertilizer Be Applied Together?

Can Lime and Fertilizer Be Applied Together?
You can apply both lime and fertilizer to your lawn, however, it is important to take caution when doing so. A professional lawn care company is the best way to ensure that the proper amount of each will be applied effectively.

With their help, you’ll be able to find out what type of fertilizer works best for your grass and soil balance. You can also determine if a home soil pH test or additional testing from an expert may need to be done first in order to understand ideal pH levels before adding anything else.

Calcitic lime, with its high calcium carbonate content (check the label for equivalent), should always be used in place of regular dolomite. This is because it offers added benefits such as better moisture retention and improved air circulation! Additionally, make sure that whatever product you choose has been mixed properly into dry topsoil – not on dormant or stressed areas.

Then, spread it over two directions evenly using either drop-style equipment like rotary spreaders.

Lastly, don’t forget about re-testing afterwards. Keeping tabs on how much was used relative to recommended application rates based on initial results ensures optimal conditions remain throughout season changes without causing harm due to overliming.

Potential Consequences of Overusing Lime

Potential Consequences of Overusing Lime
When it comes to lawn care, there’s one key factor that can’t be overlooked: soil pH. The ideal soil pH level for a healthy, lush lawn should be slightly acidic, between 5.

Adding calcitic lime can help increase the alkalinity of the soil, but too much can cause damage as well.

  1. Leaf burn – If too much extra lime is added to an already dry lawn following spring/summer heat waves, leaf burn may occur due to increased levels of calcium carbonate in the air and within plant tissue itself.
  2. Soil acidity – Overliming can also lead to a decrease in beneficial nutrients by making them less available for plants and potentially causing root problems due to hazardous levels of nitrogen leaching away from roots into surrounding soils during rain events.
  3. Poor growth – When excess amounts have been applied without proper testing beforehand (or when results weren’t taken into account), poor growth rates will result as turf struggles against overly-alkaline soils with reduced nutrient availability at higher pH values.
  4. Losses in fertility – Long-term usage has shown losses in fertility potential, which often leaves homeowners struggling with brown patches despite regular maintenance efforts like fertilization or aeration treatments.
  5. Nutrient imbalance – While some elements, such as phosphorus, become more bioavailable at higher alkalinity, others, such as iron, are far less so—leading towards yellowed blades and unsightly patches if untreated quickly enough!

With all these risks involved, it’s important that you test your soil regularly before applying any additional amendments or fertilizer products.

Is Lime Harmful to People or Pets?

Is Lime Harmful to People or Pets?
Although it can boost soil pH and encourage grass growth, you should take caution when using lime as it can be harmful to people and pets if not properly incorporated into the soil.

Lime is available in two forms: pulverized limestone or agricultural ground limestone. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service publication suggests wearing a commercial-grade breathing mask when applying powdered lime due to potential dust inhalation risks.

When using pellet form, keep children and pets away from the product during application since accidental consumption could cause irritation in some cases.

Additionally, for pet safety precautions, suggest waiting until after proper incorporation before allowing cats to roam on freshly limed lawns again.

In addition, overliming your lawn is something that needs special attention. Too much lime will lead to poor turf quality due to increased levels of acidity, resulting in yellow patches or reduced turf density among other issues.

To avoid this problem entirely, opt for natural alternatives, such as adding organic matter like compost. This helps loosen up compacted soils without increasing alkalinity and triggering a chemical reaction similar to what happens when you add lime products instead.

Proper Safety Precautions When Working With Lime

Proper Safety Precautions When Working With Lime
Now that you know the potential risks of using lime on your lawn, it’s important to be aware of proper safety precautions. When working with either powdered or pellet limestone, wear a commercial-grade breathing mask and keep children and pets away from the product during application.

Additionally, for pet safety measures, wait until after incorporation before allowing cats to roam again on freshly limed soil areas.

  • Choose a drop or rotary spreader for even distribution.
  • Utilize calcitic lime products with calcium carbonate equivalent labeled on the bag.
  • Apply dry material onto dry lawns only – not dormant nor stressed ones.
  • Mix the top 5 inches of soil thoroughly prior to planting grass seed.

To ensure healthy growth in plants while avoiding overliming issues at all costs, consider natural alternatives such as adding organic matter like compost instead.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I test my soil pH?

Test your soil pH every 1-2 years to ensure optimal grass growth and nutrient absorption. Speak with a professional for personalized advice, as lime application rates depend on the results of your soil sample.

How much lime do I need based on soil test results?

Based on your soil test results, you’ll need to apply the correct amount of lime. Consult a professional or use the recommended application rate for optimal results and balanced pH levels in your lawn.

Is there a difference between calcitic and dolomitic lime?

Yes, there is a difference! Calcitic lime contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, while dolomitic lime adds additional magnesium to the soil. Both can help balance pH levels, but calcitic is especially beneficial for plant growth due to its added nutrients.

Can I apply lime to a dormant or stressed lawn?

No, it is not recommended to apply lime to a dormant or stressed lawn. Instead, opt for aerating and then applying lime when the soil has warmed in springtime.

What type of grass is best for acidic soil?

Cool-season grasses like ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue do better in acidic soil compared to warm-season varieties. For best results, test your soil’s pH before selecting a grass type and applying lime for optimal growth.


Using lime on your lawn is a great way to keep your grass looking lush and healthy. It can help balance the soil pH, improve nutrient absorption, and boost soil structure.

Applying lime is not complicated, but it’s important to take the right steps to ensure proper application. Test your soil pH before you add lime, choose the right type of lime, and apply the lime when the time is right.

When you use lime, it’s important to remember that it can have a major impact on the health of your lawn. Too much lime can make the soil too alkaline for the grass to thrive, so it’s important to follow the recommended application rates and test the soil pH regularly.

With the proper precautions and careful application, you can use lime on your lawn and enjoy a lush, healthy lawn all year round.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.