Lime, also called agricultural limestone, Aglime, garden lime, or liming, is a type of soil additive created from underground limestone rock.
It naturally contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. When added to the soil, these two compounds in lime increase the PH of the soil, making it more alkaline and less acidic.
Although lime contains magnesium and calcium, which are important for the healthy growth of plants, it should not be used as a substitute for fertilizer.
This is because the primary function of lime is to alter the PH of the soil by reducing the soil acidity. In return, the availability of the plant’s nutrients is improved.
You can therefore use lime for a couple of roles; to correct soil acidity, enhance your plant’s ability to draw nutrients from the soil, reduce the toxicity of some soil elements, and reduce the spreading of weeds.
What weeds does lime kill?
What weeds does lime kill? Does lime kill weeds in gravel?
First, it is important to understand that lime application does not eradicate weeds. Research by Washington State University shows that applying lime to the soil will not kill weeds.
However, what lime does is that it promotes the healthy growth of grasses and other desired plants, hence preventing the infestation of weeds.
Many weed species grow well in acidic conditions. Therefore, adding lime to your gravel or soil will reduce the soil acidity, making it unfavorable for the growth of weeds.
Can you apply lime and fertilizer at the same time?
You can apply your lime and fertilizer simultaneously. However, it is advisable to fertilize your lawn and utilize lime later.
Allow the water system in your garden to pass through several rotations, and then you can apply lime.
You can also apply fertilizer, wait for it to rain, and then lime your garden afterward. If you opt to fertilize and lime your garden at the same time, consider using granular lime instead of powdered types.
This is because if the soil pH is very acidic, the desired plants will not be able to absorb the fertilizer. Therefore, your soil’s pH should always indicate your next cause of action.
You should aim for the PH levels that the USDA recommends.
Does lime kill grass?
If applied in the correct measure and time, lime will not kill the grass. Instead, applying lime to your lawn increases the soil pH, improving the growing conditions for your grass.
However, if excessive lime is applied to your lawn, it raises the alkalinity of the soil, making it unfavorable for grass growth. For example, most turfgrass varieties thrive in soil pH of around 6.5.
Can you put too much lime on your lawn?
Adding lime to your lawn above the recommended range for the soil pH makes the grass suffer from nutrient deficiency due to soil alkalinity.
In such cases, the grass cannot absorb nutrients like nitrogen into its blades and, therefore, cannot thrive. The grass leaves turn yellow or develop bleached spots, have a mottled look, and then die.
Does garden lime kill plants?
Adding lime to a soil pH that is 6.5 or above can harm your plants.
Very high pH hinders the absorption of nutrients by the plants, causing them to have stunted growth and yellow leaves.
What is the best method to apply lime to the soil?
After choosing whether you will use powdered or granular lime, the next step is how you will apply it.
You can opt to use the rotary spreader or the drop-style method. Using a spreader, though, is the easiest way to apply lime.
Apply half of the approved quantity of lime by moving back and forth vertically using the spreader. Then add the other half by moving horizontally.
This act of crisscrossing with your lime spreader ensures an even and complete distribution of the lime on your lawn.
If you choose the drop-style method, ensure to wear protective gloves. Direct contact with lime is not healthy for your skin.
You can also engage a professional landscaper to assist you in applying your lime for the best results. Water the lawn lightly after you have finished allowing the soil to absorb the lime.
How much lime should you apply to your yard?
The soil test results should guide you on how much lime your yard needs basing on the current pH and the soil type. Adhere to the guidelines because the recommended amounts differ significantly for different soil types.
But, for 1,000 sqft of your yard or less, you will need to apply 50 lbs for the initial application. If you intend to apply above 50 lbs to treat the soil completely, consider applying the lime in two rounds.
The first round is in early spring, and then the second round is in the fall.
When should you apply lime on your lawn?
There is no specific time that you must or must not apply lime on your lawn. However, there are two seasons of the year during which the soil will reap maximum benefits from your lime application.
The best time is during the fall. Your lawn will require the lime to work in the acidic soil and change its pH.
Lime application during fall gives it that much time to get absorbed into the soil and alter the pH before any plants can start growing.
Also, applying lime during the fall allows the product to go through winter’s snow, rain, freezing, and thawing sequences, which facilitates its breakdown.
Applying lime anywhere between fall and spring is also good if need be. But it can take time for the soil to absorb the lime and change its pH.
From the discussion above, it is clear that before applying lime to your lawn, it’s’ important to check your soil’s pH.
Though lime does not kill grass, too much lime can increase soil alkalinity, making your grass suffer from a lack of nutrients.
We saw that you could apply lime and fertilizer simultaneously, but it’s best to apply fertilizer first and then apply lime later.
We also discussed that the time of lime application is important as it determines the breakdown of lime and its absorption in the soil.
Fall is the best time to apply lime, as it gives it the time and conditions required for breakdown, but you can also consider early spring.
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Carla is a student pursuing a B.S in Agricultural Systems Technology. With a passion for landscaping for over 4 years, Carla loves plants. She has previously contributed to several other sites in the space before joining InsightWeeds.