Whether you intend to use lime for Bermuda grass, apply lime on Bermuda grass, or carry out a typical lawn lime application, it is crucial to know that lime application for lawns comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Nonetheless, you want to focus on the positive effects of applying lime on the lawn; thus, I have spent my time researching how to tell if your lawn needs lime.
You will tell your lawn needs lime if the soil in your yard is clay or sandy, you are applying fertilizer, but it doesn’t seem to work, weeds continue to grow, the grass is turning yellow, or the soil pH is below 6.2. Having acidic soil or growing grass variety that is too sensitive to drought are additional signs your lawn needs lime, including acidic soil.
Before we look at signs that tell your lawn needs lime, we must define what lime is.
What is Lime?
Lime refers to a type of soil amendment derived from pulverized limestone. The main ingredient in lime is calcium carbonate, which, when it mixes with the soil, releases calcium that reduces acidity in the soil.
Limestone derived from the ground is non-toxic to the soil and has many agricultural uses. Because of its many benefits to your lawn, you have no option but to use it occasionally.
Generally, there are two main lime types for lawns in the market, namely:
- Dolomite lime – has a higher magnesium level.
- Calcite lime – has a higher calcium level; thus, it is commonly used to reduce soil acidity.
Although calcite lime is more common than dolomite, they are both effective in reducing soil acid levels.
Now, let’s have an in-depth discussion on individual signs that your lawn needs lime.
How Do You Know If Your Lawn Needs Lime?
A lawn that is hungry for lime is very telling. It is easy to conclude that your grass needs lime because of the low pH lawn symptoms. But you must do a soil test to know the alkalinity and acidity of the soil.
Look at these signs that show your lawn needs lime:
1. Your Lawn Grows on Clay or Sandy Soil
If you live in the twelve-state region of central USA, you know that the soil is sandy. The soil in large parts of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and sounding states is majorly sandy.
So, if the soil is clay or sandy, the possibility of your lawn feeding from acidic soil is inevitable. Note that the two types of soils contribute differently to soil acidity.
For instance, the elastic nature of clay soil makes it possible for water and other nutrients to lodge in an area for a long time, thus increasing soil acidity.
On the other hand, Sandy soil encourages surface run-off, which removes vital nutrients from the soil, leaving the lawn acidic.
To balance things and make your grass look thicker and fuller, apply lime, especially calcite lime, at least every 2-3 years.
2. You Apply Fertilizer, But the Lawn Doesn’t Seem to Change
Of all low pH lawn symptoms, the lack of realizing positive results after applying different fertilizers to your lawn is very discouraging.
You may have tried different fertilizer formulae, such as 30-0-17, 10-0-10, or even 30-2-20, but none gives a positive impact. At this point, you cannot run away from the evident acidic lawn signs.
And it will be so sad to continue watching your lawn look sickly and deteriorate daily. However, it is also important to note that overfertilizing can burn your grass. So, it is a delicate situation you find yourself in.
Ultimately, you will discover that if the best fertilizers are not working, your only option is applying lime to the lawn.
3. There Are Weeds on the Lawn
Weeds on your lawn is a prime sign that you need to apply lime for grass. It is important to note that you may not get rid of weeds in lawn completely because they tend to thrive where the soil is acidic.
For instance, dandelions, one of the most notorious weeds, is a common occurrence in acidic soils. Therefore, an influx of weeds in your yard is a clear indicator that the soil is acidic, thus requires a neutralizer like lime on Bermuda grass or any other grass variety you may have in your lawn.
4. The Grass is Turning Yellow
Although there are various reasons why your grass turns yellow, one of the reasons is your lawn is acidic. In most cases, when grass turns yellow, even after fertilizing, it is a sign of a lot of nitrogen in the soil.
Whatever the reason, the soil is acidic, thus you need to reduce the acid by applying lime. For grass to thrive, the soil pH should range from 5.8 – 7.0. if the soil pH is low, the acid level will be high.
Applying lime on grass that is turning yellow, has brown patches and is showing signs of dryness, will help reduce the acid level and the grass will start to turn greener and healthier yet again.
5. Soil pH is Below 5.8
Many say that gras cannot grow healthy if the soil pH is below 6.2. In my opinion, grass can thrive in soil with a 6.2 pH. However, if the pH is below 5.8, chances are the grass will be extremely unhealthy, weak, and you will not like anyone to associate you with the lawn because it looks pathetic.
You must do a soil test to know the pH. If upon carrying out a soil test, you find out that the pH is below 5.8, then you know it is time to add some lime for lawn. However, quality it may be, lime does not boost soil pH immediately. You need to give your grass some time to realize the full effect of the lime.
6. There’s Moss in the Lawn
Moss in the lawn is another sign your grass needs lime. Lime their friends, weeds, mosses do well in acidic soils. In my view, you may want to try to apply peat moss on the lawn below using lime. Apart from killing moss, peat moss acts like manure in your lawn.
Only after it has failed to work, then you can try lime. Otherwise, it should work.
7. Your Lawn is Sensitive to Drought
Not all grass varieties do well in dry areas. Some cannot even pass the initial months when then need to show strength due to nice soil preparation. You will know your lawn is sensitive to drought if upon a slight change in high temperatures, the grass starts to change color.
In most cases, gras that shows high acidic level turns from a dense and rich green color to brown. It may even start to wilt if the temperatures continue to sour.
“That is what all grasses do!” You may argue. But it is not usually the case. Some drought-tolerant grasses take long to dry up or do not at all even in the face of extremely high temperatures.
You can also try to water your grass regularly and generously but ultimately; you need to apply lime to salvage your lawn. Continue watering your lawn after sweetening your grass with lime.
How to Tell If Your Lawn Needs Lime FAQs
Q: When should I put lime on my lawn?
A: Generally, fall and spring are the right seasons to put lime on your lawn.
Q: How do you know if your lawn is acidic?
A: You will know your lawn is acidic if it has yellow spots, has stunt growth even after applying fertilizer, is wilting, presence of weeds and moss, and has leaf blight grass disease among other signs.
Q: What does acidic grass look like?
A: In most cases, grass that is growing in acidic soil is yellow in color and limp.
There are many signs on how to tell if your lawn needs lime. I have only covered the most telling signs such as applying fertilizer but there is no substantive change, yellowing of grass, presence of clay or sandy soil, and weeds and moss on your lawn, to mention but a few.
Otherwise, depending on where you are, you can watch of any other low pH lawn symptoms.
Once you are convinced your lawn is acidic, apply some lime and continue watering your lawn. I’m sure you will start to see chances soon or later.