Homeowners become passionate over the strangest things when it comes to upkeep. One of the weirdest is the best time to lime the lawn. The people with the nicest yards in your neighborhood probably won’t hesitate to go head-to-head with those who have conflicting opinions on this basic bit of advice. Why are they all so sure they are right while opponents are so sure they’re wrong? It likely boils down to a common misconception. Here’s all you need to know about the best times to lime the lawn.
Only lime the lawn when the soil has a low pH balance.
Liming isn’t done every year, and it’s not done by everyone – or rather, it shouldn’t be. Liming has never been a traditional part of routine maintenance. It’s a solution to a problem that’s quite common in Georgia – acidic soil – but it should only be performed when needed. For fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass and other cool-season grasses, this occurs when the pH of your soil falls below 5.5. Ideal pH readings go up to 7.0. Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda grass or Zoysia, can grow well in soil that’s a bit more acidic. Ideal conditions exist between a pH of 6 to 6.5.
If you have a cool-season grass, lime the lawn in the fall.
Let’s say you’ve done the testing, and you’ve discovered your soil does have low pH values. This could explain why the fertilizer treatments you’ve applied haven’t improved the look of your lawn. It can also explain why weeds are taking over, or why your yard is suffering bare patches. Acidity is a killer, so go out and get yourself some high-quality lime. If your test results show normal or low magnesium levels, dolomitic lime should do the trick! If your magnesium levels are out-of-control, select agricultural lime, or aglime, as it is made solely of crushed limestone and won’t add additional magnesium to the soil.
Have warm-season grass? You should also treat the lawn in the fall!
This is where neighbors tend to disagree, and it’s really a simple misunderstanding. Lime conditions the soil to make it easier for your grass – regardless of the variety – to absorb minerals and process waste. When you lime the lawn, it does not place it under stress, as do other maintenance tasks, like aeration. Unfortunately, because so many people lime after aerating their lawns, some homeowners assume the two tasks must be done together. This isn’t the case, so while homeowners with warm-season grasses should only aerate in spring, they should apply lime in the fall like their neighbors.
Need help determining when to lime the lawn – or if it needs to be done at all? Ask our team at Think Green Lawn Care for help. Call (678) 648-2556 for expert advice on when to lime the lawn or a free quote for professional services.