Many homeowners have heard that they need to put lime on their yards in the spring, but few of them really understand why. Before you head off to the local home improvement superstore for a trunk load of lime, make sure your yard actually needs lime applied and if so, how much. Adding too much lime can actually harm your lawn so make sure you need it before applying lime.
Lime is used to raise the pH of soil. Soil that has a pH of less than 7.0 is said to be acidic. Soil that has a pH of greater than 7.0 is alkaline. The pH of the soil affects the availability of nutrients that the lawn needs to grow and thrive.
The proper pH level for your lawn depends on the type of grass. Each type of grass grows best in soil that is within a certain pH range. For example fescue grows well in soils that are slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. On the other hand, centipede grows best in acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. Centipede lawns rarely need an application of lime.
To see if your yard needs lime applied, take several soil samples from different spots throughout your yard and have them tested by your extension agent. They will be able to tell you the pH of your soil and how much lime to apply, if any, depending on your type of grass.
Another alternative is to contact a local lawn care service. They will be happy to test your soil and apply lime and fertilizers as needed to keep your lawn it top condition.