When to Lime - Knowledgebase Question

Simpsonville, SC
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Question by mikejensen
March 30, 2007
We have a new home with a new Bermuda grass lawn, planted from sod, in the Piedmont area of upstate South Carolina. When should lime first be applied to this clay soil?

Answer from NGA
March 30, 2007
To obtain maximum efficiency and faster action, the best time to apply lime to the lawn is when the soil is being prepared for planting. This applies to the sub-soil as well as the topsoil because lime moves very slowly through the soil. Research has shown that it it takes up to two years for lime to move two two inches through the soil.

Applications of lime on established lawns may be made at any time of the year, the most favorable time of the year being fall, winter, or early spring, in that order. If applied when the soil is too wet, it is difficult to obtain an even distribution. If heavy equipment is needed to spread the lime, make the application on level areas when the ground is frozen. Less damage is made to the soil and grass under these conditions. Alternate freezing and thawing and early spring showers hasten its penetration into the soil.

Lime must be spread evenly over the entire area because it does not move horizontally. The use of a spreader insures a better distribution and permits the lime to be placed next to flower beds or in close proximity to acid-loving plants.

Pelleted lime is now available at most garden centers. Pelleted lime costs a little more but has several advantages in that it goes through a spreader more easily; may be spread by hand without being covered by dust; dust does not drift or blow into areas where lime is not wanted; eliminates such problems as tracking lime onto patios, etc. or into the house; and is easier to clean up if the bag is broken.

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