Garden lime plays an important role in professional lawn care. If the pH value gets out of hand, limescale will bring it back into balance. The 10 best tips reveal when the best time is and how to lime the lawn correctly.
Tip 1: Soil analysis provides transparency
Professional lawn care requires a professional soil analysis to be carried out every 2-3 years. To do this, remove some soil from the lawn at 10-12 spots, mix it up and fill it in a labeled plastic bag.
Sent by mail to a special laboratory, you will receive detailed information about the composition of the soil within a few weeks.
The particular advantage of this analysis is that you also receive dedicated recommendations regarding the need for fertilizer and garden lime. This leaves no questions unanswered as to when and how much to properly lime and fertilize your lawn.
Tip 2: Carry out the pH value test yourself and interpret it correctly
If a soil analysis from the laboratory is too time-consuming, you can quickly obtain the desired information about the lime content in the lawn yourself. An uncomplicated pH value test from the hardware store does not require any previous chemical knowledge. This is how it works:
- Take several soil samples from the lawn up to a depth of 10 cm(4 inches)
- Mix in a glass jar and mix with the added distilled water
- Add a test tablet, cap the jar and shake
- Once the tablet has dissolved, a color reaction reveals the pH value
It is cheaper and even easier to determine the acidity in the lawn with a laughing matter test strip.
To do this, fill 100 grams of the mixed soil sample into a mason jar and fill it up with 100 milliliters of distilled water. The litmus strip comes into this mix to show the result after about 10 minutes.
Tip 3: It depends on the right dosage
In order to be able to lime a lawn correctly, the pH value alone is not enough. The exact nature of the soil also influences the dosage of garden lime. The following table should serve as a guide with regard to the timing of maintenance liming and the dosage of garden lime in the event of imminent acidification of the soil:
|Timing and dosage recommendation||Light bottom with plenty of sand||Medium soil with a mix of clay and sand||Heavy soil with loam and clay|
|maintenance liming||every 3 years 125 g/m² (10sf)||every 2-3 years 160 g/m² (10sf)||every 2 years 200 g/m² (10sf)|
|pH below 5||150-200gsm||300-400gsm||350-450gsm|
|pH 5-6||120-180gsm||180-250 gsm||250-350 gsm|
|pH 6-7||do not add lime||do not add lime||do not add lime|
If the pH value exceeds the ideal level of 6-7, alkaline conditions prevail. Applying garden lime at this point is counterproductive. Instead of moss and thatch, you will be confronted with clover and other lime-loving weeds as part of lawn care.
Tip 4: Liming at the best time increases efficiency
If a test shows that the pH value in the lawn is too low, you can in principle apply the required garden lime at any time during the growing season. You can find out here when you should ideally help the lawn to get back on its feet:
- In March/April, when the green has been aerated for lawn care in the spring
- In the summer, after the stressed lawn is prepared for the winter in August/September
At the time itself, the lawn should be dry and the weather should be overcast. Especially in summer, garden lime could cause burns on the sensitive noble grasses under blazing sunshine.
If the lawn takes on a yellowish color after mowing in summer, this deficiency does not necessarily indicate a lack of lime or nutrients. Intensive use of the lawnmower results in a blunt blade, which means that the grass is torn apart instead of being cut cleanly.
Simply sharpen the lawnmower blade or have it sharpened by a specialist and the problem is solved.
Tip 5: Scarifying makes the lawn more receptive
If the lawn is cleaned of moss and thatch in the spring as part of lawn care, this scarifying increases the willingness to absorb garden lime at the same time. If you lime your green business card correctly, you should proceed as follows:
- As an exception, mow the lawn as short as possible
- Go lengthways and across the lawn with the scarifier.
- Thoroughly sweep away and dispose of the combed moss and weeds
- Spread the garden lime in the recommended dosage with the spreader
Ideally, you should blast the lawn extensively immediately afterward so that the garden lime is rained deep into the roots. Until then, children and pets should not walk on the limed lawn.
Tip 6: Aerating the lawn and liming go hand in hand
A green area that is particularly stressed in summer is additionally aerated after scarifying in order to be able to lime it properly.
While a scarifier only scratches the surface of the lawn, the hollow blades of the aerator penetrate up to 10 cm (4 inches) into the sod. In this way, harmful compactions are broken up so that garden lime can work in all regions of the lawn. How to do it:
- Mow the lawn short and scarify thoroughly
- Poke holes in the turf with a mechanical or manual aerator
- Meticulously remove the punched-out cones of earth
- First sand the lawn and then lime it
After airing, apply a thin layer of fine-grained, washed sand to then sprinkle the garden lime. In this way, you can treat even intensively used sports and play turf to an effective revitalization treatment.
Tip 7: Useful in summer – maintenance liming
The function of garden lime is by no means limited to increasing the pH value in the lawn that is too low. At the same time, lime vitalizes soil life, optimizes the crumb structure, stimulates root growth, and strengthens the cell walls in the plant tissue. Since rain easily washes out the material, it should be refreshed regularly.
I, therefore, recommend maintenance liming every 2-3 years in summer, even with a normal pH value of 6-7. In this way, you can prevent a permanent threat of over-acidification in good time. A good time for this measure of professional lawn care is a day in August or September.
Tip 8: These types of lime are good for a lawn
Not every lime is suitable for garden lime. There are definitely differences within the types of lime that should be known at least roughly. In the following we present recommended preparations:
- Algae lime: ideal for the natural garden; Rock flour with a high proportion of carbonated lime
- Dolomite: carbonate of garden lime with plenty of magnesium; perfect for light soil
- Limestone powder: the best garden lime for the fall; rich in natural calcium carbonate
- Thomas flour: contains an additional 15-20 percent phosphorus for a lush green lawn color
In addition, nature provides various rock flours that are suitable for supplying the lawn with lime. As a purely natural product, the material acts somewhat more slowly, since the ingredients must first be broken down by microorganisms.
Tip 9: These indicator plants replace pH value tests
If you don’t want to bother with a time-consuming soil analysis or a pH value test, take a look at the flora in and around the lawn. Various plants act as indicator plants for a lack of lime. These types are:
- rabbit clover
Where, on the other hand, stinging nettles, dandelion, and white clover sprout, there is no need to use garden lime. The addition of lime acts on these weeds as a welcome fertilizer that promotes growth.
Tip 10: Maintain the lawn properly after liming
Experienced hobby gardeners are well aware that optimal lawn care does not end with the addition of garden lime. Rather, liming represents an important aspect of the overall program. All fundamental measures that are relevant after liming are listed below:
- Water the lawn twice a week during dry periods in summer
- Mow regularly from spring until the first frost, no deeper than 3-4 cm (1 inch)
- Scarify at least once a season to remove moss and thatch
- Aerate and sand compacted grass areas manually or mechanically
- Fertilize the lawn with a balanced organic fertilizer every 3-4 weeks after liming
The lawn is in constant competition with moss and weeds. If you lime the green area properly and care for it regularly, you have done everything for a velvety, lush green carpet that will draw many an envious glance over the garden fence.
One of the biggest problems when reseeding the lawn – pecking birds – is solved with a simple trick. New seed mixes consist of green-colored lawn seeds. Green-colored seeds do not fit into the feeding pattern of the birds and are left untouched.