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Lime and Your Lawn

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

If you've never applied lime to your lawn, you may have the sneaking suspicion that you're missing out on something. Is lime something you should look into? Yes.

Lime helps neutralize acidic soil. If your lawn is in good shape, you probably don't need lime. But if your soil is too sour and has slipped out of the ph zone that keeps your grass happy and healthy, lime will sweeten it up again and help keep your lawn in good shape. So how do you know if you need lime?
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Test Your Soil

Before you spend a cent on lime, get your soil tested. Your local extension office or a professional lawn care company can give you quick results. If your soil isn't acidic, lime won't do your grass a bit of good, and may actually harm it.

The Best Time to Lime Your Lawn

Lime is a treatment for your soil, not your grass, and the best time to get at the soil is when there's no grass on top of it. If you're starting a new lawn, make sure to test your soil and add lime before you plant. Once your lawn is in place, the best time to lime is in the spring or the fall. But beware: lime has the potential to burn your grass, especially on hot days.

Watch Out For Treatment Overload

It may be tempting to spread fertilizer and lime and herbicide all at once -- why wait? The simple answer is because too many chemicals at once can damage your lawn. If you want to mend your soil with lime and fertilize your lawn, wait at least a week between treatments.

Lime can be a life saver for your lawn, but if your soil isn't sour, leave the lime on the shelf.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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