Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Liming your lawn promotes proper rooting, growth and diminishes the spreading of moss and fungi. Lime regulates the soil's acidity rate by bringing the pH back to neutral, a level that is favorable for successful fertilisation. We'll take you through all the steps, from spreading to preparation of the soil, to the choice of lime. Let's get started!
- Soil pH
What is liming and why lime grass?
Under the influence of climate and repeated crops, soils naturally acidify over time.
A lawn does not support a highly acidic soil level, which results in four consequences:
- The roots are no longer able to properly assimilate the nutrients present in the soil;
- Lawn growth is greatly reduced or even halted;
- The lawn is no longer uniform and has visible holes;
- Moss and mushrooms start to appear.
Adding lime to the soil makes it possible to correct these problems.
Liming is an operation that consists of adding calcium, or lime, to the soil to correct its acidity level (pH).
By rebalancing the pH of the soil, liming makes it possible to:
- Increase the efficiency of the fertilizers;
- Help the grass take route;
- Favor the development of micro-organisms in the soil;
- Limit the appearance of weeds.
Liming the lawn in three steps
Step 1: Measure pH of soil
The first step in liming is to determine the soil's pH. This will establish how much limestone needs to be added to the soil. There are two techniques for verifying the acidity of soil.
The first technique is home-made, but not very precise. However, it provides a free means of running a preliminary test of the soil's pH before investing in a specialized kit.
To check if a soil is acidic, proceed as follows:
- Take a sample of soil from anywhere between 5 and 10 centimeters below the surface ;
- Place the sample in a container;
- Add a small amout of water to slightly wet the sample;
- Sprinkle the mixture with baking soda;
- Observe: if the baking soda begins to bubble, the soil is acidic. Liming is required.
Another technique is to use a specially designed meter to accurately determine soil pH. To measure the pH using this method, there are five steps are to follow:
- Take a soil sample, taking care not to make skin contact with the sample. This would have an impact on the test results;
- Place the sample in the container provided by the kit and cover with a neutral pH water;
- Close the container and shake well;
- Allow time for the sedimentation to take place: the grains of soil will fall to the bottom of the container and the other particles will gradually move to form different layers;
- The water will turn a specific color: compare the color to the color chart provided with the kit.
The water's end color accurately indicates the soil's pH. The ideal pH is 6.0 to 7.0. It must be neutral or slightly basic.
Second step: scarifying the grass
Before liming, it is necessary to scarify the grass.
Scarification is an operation that removes dead tufts of grass and moss at a ground level. It helps to aerate the soil and, therefore, to facilitate the liming.
Three tips for successful scarification:
- Monitor the weather and choose a hot and humid day, as heat is more conducive to soil regeneration. The moss will also be drier, so easier to remove;
- Before scarification, mow the grass to a height of 2 cm;
- The soil should not be too dry or soggy.
Scarification should be scheduled according to the weather: a hot and humid day is required, as it is more favorable to the regeneration of the soil. The encroaching moss will also be drier, so easier to extract.
Third step: lime the grass
Once the soil's pH has been determined and the scarification of the grass is done, you can start liming. Fall is the best season for this operation.
Liming consists in spreading lime in order to provide the soil with the additional calcium essential for the proper absorption of fertilizers and natural nutrients.
The recommended dose is 1 to 1.5 kg of lime for an area of 10 m². The spreading should be uniform and even in order to avoid overloading one area, which can actually burn the lawn.
It can be done by hand, but using a spreaderis the ideal solution for the best results.
The type of lime should be selected according to the nature of the soil. There are three different types of lime:
- Agricultural lime. Its rapid action makes it the ideal ally of clay-humic soil;
- Magnesian lime or dolomitic lime. It is also used for clay soil;
- Ground limestone. Its slow action is suitable for sandy soils.
Lime is an irritating and corrosive substance. During liming, appropriate safety equipment should be worn to avoid any accidents.
For Do-It-Yourselfers who are curious and want more know-how on the perfect lawn, follow the links below to find more resources, advice and guides:
- How to prepare you lawn for spring?
- How to sow your lawn from seed?
- How to maintain your lawn?
- How to prepare your seedings?
- When to prepare your seedlings?
- When to sow your grass and plant your trees?
- How to choose your synthetic grass?
- How to choose your fertilizer?
- How to choose your lawn mower?
- How to maintain your lawn mower?
- How to choose your wheelbarrow?
- How to choose your watering can or sprinkler?
- How to choose your soil?
- How to choose your weed killer?
- How to choose your scarifier?
Want other options to spruce up your exterior? Check out these ideas:
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 31 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.