Last updated: August 7, 2021

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If the density of your soil is very high, the plants may not get enough oxygen. Since oxygen is needed to decompose organic matter, plants can quickly fail to decompose properly and the soil can become over-acidic due to the rotting matter.

To ensure that future plants can grow without problems, it is advisable to restore the pH value to the desired 5.5 for sandy soils or the recommended 6.5 for loamy soils. Lawn lime can be a great help here. In our lawn lime test 2021 we took a close look at many products and present our favourites here.




The most important facts

  • Lime is not always the right solution and can also worsen the growing conditions! It is best to test the pH value and thus the lime requirement beforehand with a quick soil test.
  • Lime should be applied between winter and spring. You should loosen the soil beforehand and then water it well.
  • Some lawn limings contain useful additives that help your soil to process the nutrients. This can be very useful for your lawn.

The best lawn lime: Our picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying lime for lawns

What is lime for?

Lime affects the pH of your soil. For optimal growth of lawn plants, a pH value between 5.5 and 6 is recommended. In some cases, lime is a suitable way to optimise the pH value to promote growth.

On the one hand, this accelerates growth, but also has a positive effect on the appearance, such as the colour of the lawn. Lime, however, is not always the right solution if the greenery is just hanging its head. For some types of plants, lawns or even soil, lime does more harm than good.

How do I know that my lawn needs lime?

Basically, there are no clearly visible indicators that tell you when your lawn needs lime. Only a quick soil test can give you an approximate indication of the pH value of the soil. Based on this pH value, you can decide whether fertilising with lime is sensible or even harmful.

pH value lime YES or NO
less than 5.5 YES
5.5 and 6 ideal growing conditions
greater than 6 NO

If your soil has a pH above 7, it is called alkaline soil. If it is below seven, the soil is called acidic. Often the growth of certain plant species also provides an indication of the need for lime.

Another indicator of acid soil is the increased occurrence of moss, which points to a lack of lime. Clover or stinging nettles, on the other hand, tend to indicate an alkaline soil composition.

However, one should be careful here, because there is also so-called wood sorrel, which feels particularly comfortable on acidic soils and grows there. Plant growth is therefore not always a good indicator of the need for lime. A clear value that can give you reliable information about the need for lime in the soil is provided by a quick soil test.

<blockquote>In part, the plants give you an indication of whether it is necessary to lime the soil or not. The pH value is decisive for the application.</blockquote>

When and how should I lime my lawn?

The best time of year to lime your lawn is between winter and spring. Preferably right in the transition period. Here the lawn is about to start sprouting again in full force.

In the best case, you should lime your lawn when it has just been loosened up or even scarified with a lawn aerator. This way you can ensure that the lime reaches all soil layers and can work properly.

Once the lime has been spread over the surface of the lawn, it should be worked into the soil with a rake. Alternatively, you can consolidate the lime with intensive irrigation to ensure that it distributes its nutrients throughout the soil.

Afterwards, you should let the soil rest for about four weeks and then do another quick soil test to see if the pH value of your soil has neutralised again and the lime has thus achieved the desired effect.

After your soil has reached the desired pH value, it is often sufficient to re-lime every two to three years. However, regular checking is essential to correct the course if necessary and to steer the pH value on the right track.

Loosen your soil before liming so that it can penetrate into all soil layers.

Decision: What types of lawn lime are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three types of lawn lime:

  • Quicklime
  • Carbonic acid lime
  • Mixed lime

Lawn lime, also called garden lime, helps you to keep your garden soil healthy and fertile. You should use it when the soil is too acidic and has a pH value of less than 5. An optimal pH value for lawn growth is between 5.5 and 6. Each lawn lime has its own optimal area of application and speed of action.

We want to help you find out which lime is right for you. For this reason, we will introduce you to the different types in the next section and show you the respective advantages and disadvantages.

Lawn lime can strengthen your lawn. (Photo: Mariusz Blach / 123RF.com)

How does quicklime work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Quicklime or calcium oxide is mainly used in agriculture to improve the pH of the soil. The calcium it contains improves soil health quickly and effectively. In addition, you can decimate pests and insect eggs with quicklime and thus improve soil hygiene. Due to its strong effect, it is best suited for medium and heavy soils.

Advantages
  • Fast and effective
  • Improves soil hygiene
Disadvantages
  • Strongly corrosive
  • Burns plants and insects
  • Ammonia is released

Nevertheless, you should be careful when using quicklime! It reacts strongly to moisture such as irrigation water or soil moisture. This reaction releases heat that burns plants and insects. The use of quicklime also involves other risks: For example, it is highly corrosive and should therefore never be used without protective clothing. In addition, it must not be mixed with organic fertiliser, otherwise harmful ammonia will be released.

How does carbonate lime work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Carbonate lime consists of ground limestone. The finer it is ground, the better its effect. You can also spread this all-natural product in growing crops, as you do not have to fear any harmful chemical reaction thanks to its gentle and sustainable mode of action. It is best suited for light soils.

Advantages
  • Sustainable
  • Natural
  • Can be applied to growing crops
Disadvantages
  • Slow acting
  • Weaker acting

Nevertheless, carbonic lime has two disadvantages: its effect is weaker and slower than that of the other types of lime.

How does mixed lime work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Mixed lime consists of quicklime and carbonated lime. Its effect is fast and effective and yet relatively sustainable. It therefore offers an economical alternative to natural lime and is mainly used on medium and heavier soils.

Advantages
  • Fast and effective
  • Relatively sustainable
Disadvantages
  • Leaves etching damage to plants
  • Not suitable for grassland

You should not use mixed lime on grassland. Although it is more sustainable than quicklime, it is still capable of causing etching damage to plants.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate lime for lawns

In general, there are no major differences in lime for lawns. Only with a few factors can you choose the right lime for your lawn:

  • Content
  • Fertiliser area
  • Additives
  • Special features

Content

Lawn lime is usually supplied in large bags. These are filled with different amounts of lime depending on the manufacturer. It is a matter of finding the right amount for you, so that you either have as much lime as possible. The price also plays a role in the filling quantities. Perhaps the weight of the bag is also important for you, so that you don't have to lift heavy things unnecessarily.

Some manufacturers often offer the same lime in different sizes. It is up to you to choose the right bag size according to your needs and the fertilisation area.

Fertilising area

Depending on the scope of delivery or bag contents and concentration, different types of lawn lime can be used to fertilise different areas. The condition of the soil also plays a role in the fertilisation area.

The harder, i.e. the more compacted the soil is and the lower the pH value, the more or less lime must be applied. In most cases, the manufacturers indicate the maximum fertilisation area that can be applied on the bag. You should therefore make sure that you order enough lime for the area to be fertilised.

Additives

Some varieties of garden lime contain additional nutrients such as magnesium or similar.

This makes further fertilising unnecessary and ensures that you feed your lawn with several nutrients at the same time. Depending on whether you care for your lawn differently or not, it can make sense to pay attention to additives.

Special features

In addition to additives, lawn lime also has some other special features, which are usually explicitly mentioned by the manufacturer. For example, there is lime that is especially harmless for children or pets. This means that the fertilised lawn can be played on again immediately after the work.

Garten mit Rasen und Blumen

How you should treat your lawn after spreading can be found in the package. (Photo: Scott Mangham / 123RF.com)

Picture source: pixabay.com / jeonsango

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