Proper Liming of Turf

Hi Folks.

I get many questions about the proper Liming of a lawn all the time. The questions vary, but these are often the most popular.

Should I lime my yard?

How often should I lime my lawn?

How much Lime should I put down?

Whats the difference between powdered lime and pellets?

When is the best time to lime?

Will lime kill moss? (I answered that one in my last post)

I have found 2 links to answer these questions . I will add some finer points to liming later, but these links should answer most of you questions.

12 questions about liming from Ohio state

more detailed Liming information from Ontario Ag dept.

One last thing. From these articles, you will understand that all lime isn’t equal. The magic number is usually the CCE (calcium carbonate equivelent) .

CCE of 100 means that the lime you are buying potent lime. It is a measure of against pure calcium carbonate.

The less the CCE, the less liming power the lime has. You will then need more lime to do the same job. Its not that lower CCE liming materials are bad, they just will require more. I have seen Lime sold at Big Box retailers with a CCE as low as 48%. It will take you twice as much of this lime to what a 100% Lime material will do.

Spend you money wisely. Sometimes the 3 for 11.95 deal at the garden center isn’t such a good deal after all.

In my next post, I will detail how to calculate these numbers if you are applying lime from a soil test recommendation. Happy Liming


5 responses to “Proper Liming of Turf

  1. I have a comment which is actually more of a question. I read somewhere in the blog that you answer questions for people who post. Here is mine, if you are interested in helping.

    I am a complete novice when it comes to lawn care. And, I recently decided to till in my back yard and reseed. Everything is going okay though I made two major mistakes: 1) I did not have the soil tested; and 2) I did not spray the weeds that had previously overtaken the back yard.

    I did remove a lot of the weekend after my first till. I removed two sixty pound bags full of weeds and grass. However, after two weeks, I am faced with an uneven germination and, in the past few days, the weeds have really started coming back. I fertilized the yard prior to seeding with the basic Scotts-brand fertilizer and I water three times a day (its been dry here in Missouri) though only enough to keep the ground moist until the next time I water. The entire back yard is heavily shaded and its clear that the areas that get the sun are growing the fastest.

    So, my questions: what (if anything) should I do about the weeds? Should I give it two-three more weeks and then spray or would the seeds need more than five weeks to settle?

    And, at what point do I reseed the areas that are slow to germinate? Is that even a good option or should I wait until the Spring?


  2. J,

    A couple things. Watering is right on. Keep moist.

    As far as the weeds go, you will need to wait until the areas you planted have been mowed twice at minimum before you should consider spraying weeds. Earlier than that you can inhibit the need seedlings.

    If time allows this fall, or even early winter in MO, I would apply a pre-emergent crabgrass type of product once the lawn has been mowed a 2-3 times and all areas are germinated and growing. I would then reapply the same Crabgrass preventer again in the spring.

    This will help minimize Grassy and certain other types of weeds next Spring and summer. Unfortuately you will have to do some spot spraying of weeds throughout the first year as they germinate because by tilling, you probably brought many new weed seeds to the surface. The steps I mentioned will help minimize that.

    As far as certain areas filling in. Many grass mixes are blends. they contain different types of Grass seed. Bluegrass, Fescues, ryes etc. They all germinate in different time frames. Some can take 21-28 days (certain K blues). So you may be seeing certain types now and not others yet.

    Also soil warmth will always germinate seed earlier. It is very natural for the sunny areas to pop first and the shady areas further behind. Sometimes twice as long. Patience and water are the only keys here assuming you everything else is OK.

    One other factor to consider is the type of seed you used. All grass seed germinates and grows in sunny areas. Shady areas take longer to germinate, but even more important is the type of seed in those areas and the soil conditions in that shade. Germinating seed in heavy shade is not hard, but keeping and maintaining can be. Even if you use certain grass types like Fescues or other shade tolerant varieties, it can be a challenge maintaining it as it tends to want to thin out over time.

    Be patient for the shade areas and after it germinates , that is the time to address any problems.

    PS: Spot spraying the right products is a better option on the weeds and new grass than broadcasting the whole lawn with weeds controls. You risk less harm, only place the weed control where it is needed and you can easily keep up after you get rid of most of them.

  3. The quality of the soil plays a vital role in making good plant productivity. So, for that you need to identify the features of the soil to determine its ability to support your plants growth and makes better productivity. Soil and Plant Tissue Lab

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  5. Dave,

    Love the site. Wondering if you know of any good mechanical options for removing root systems for ground ivy/creeping charlie? I’ve already used chemicals to kill it off. Now I need to pull out the root system manually, which is no easy feat. I’ve taken to using a machete to cut back top layer vines and nodes, then brute force to pull the roots up. So far: Ivy 1, Me 0. I don’t know if my back will make it through the remaining bit to pull.

    I am wondering if any kind of rotating blade would work? I imagine it would have to cut through the vines while pulling at the same time so the machine wouldn’t get bogged down too easily. If you’ve got any tips, I would be grateful.


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