A patchy, unsightly lawn and strong moss growth can have various reasons. Often it’s because the soil is too acidic – then it can help to sprinkle lime. We explain when is the best time to do this and what you should look out for.
What is lime for?
If the lawn is very wet and compacted, mulch residues and other organic matter can no longer be fully decomposed – they rot instead. This creates acidity, which gradually lowers the pH of the soil.
If the pH is too low, lawn plants can no longer grow properly. By using lawn lime, you raise this value back to the necessary level.
How can I tell if my lawn needs liming?
It is important that you only add lime to your lawn when it really needs it. You can recognize soil that is over-acidified by a low pH value. If the value is too low, the lawn should be limed.
|Soil type||pH limit|
|Medium heavy soil||6,0|
You can either take a soil sample and analyze it with commercially available pH tests, or you can take a closer look at your lawn: A lot of moss on the lawn indicates that the soil is too acidic.
When should you definitely not limewash?
If your lawn is not peppered with moss, but a multitude of clover plants are visible, then this indicates that the pH value in your soil is alkaline – so don’t lime it! This could not only be detrimental to your lawn, but also to your soil and the ecosystem it contains.
When is the right time to lime?
The optimal time to spread lime is considered to be fall and spring, right after the snow melts. That is, when the lawn is no longer or not yet in the growth phase. In spring it is already too late, because the soil cannot absorb the lime directly.
How much garden lime do I need?
The right amount of lime depends on how much the soil is actually over-acidified. Also important to note here is that not all soil types are the same.
For sandy soils with a pH below 5.5, a lime amount of 150 to 200 grams per square meter is recommended. Loamy soils with a value of around 6.3 require twice this amount. 300 to 400 grams should be used here.
Ready-made lawn lime mixtures are usually easier to dose and apply, as the manufacturers provide quantity specifications and instructions for lime application.
Which type of lime is best for the lawn?
So-called carbonic acid lime is recommended because it is less aggressive than quicklime. It is usually available in stores as “lawn lime” or “garden lime”.
How is a lawn properly limed?
Before you start applying the lime, you should mow the lawn and use a scarifier to remove weeds and other plant debris.
It is also advisable to purchase a spreading cart so that the lime is really evenly distributed on your greenery. Use it to drive over the entire area in even lanes.
What should I keep in mind when liming my lawn?
Lime is harmful to dogs and cats. So make sure that your four-legged friends do not walk on the lawn during and after liming.
Does liming help against moss in the lawn?
Contrary to popular belief, lime does not help against moss growth. Because it can thrive on both acidic and alkaline substrates, lawn lime may even help moss spread. Therefore, in case of heavy moss infestation, it is preferable to scarify and use lawn fertilizer with moss killer.
Sanding the lawn – What happens after liming?
After about a month, you should analyze a soil sample again for control. This will allow you to determine if the pH has improved accordingly or if you may need to re-lime. Liming only raises the pH value, but does not eliminate the cause of acidification. To improve the soil quality in the long term, you should also sand heavily compacted lawns in the spring.
Sprinkle the area with a thin layer of sand in the spring – two to three centimeters are sufficient. Make sure that the blades of grass are only covered up to a maximum of halfway. The sand loosens the soil over time and improves water and nutrient absorption. Sanding should be repeated annually and shows success after three to four years. The moss recedes and lawn grows and thrives.