Will lime kill grass when added to the soil as an amendment? Lime is the most commonly added ingredient that helps raise the soil’s pH as grass needs to grow and germinate.

Lime Helps Grass to Improve Growing

In this article, we shall discuss how lime affects the soil and the grass. We will also learn the proper step-by-step method of adding lime to the soil to get the best possible outcome. 

Will Lime Kill Grass?

No, lime does not kill grass when applied to the soil before or after its establishment in the lawn. Contrary to this, adding dolomite lime, will be a soil-amending ingredient. It works by increasing the pH of the soil and increasing its alkalinity.

– The Effects of Lime

Lime does not effect grass or grass blades directly. However, when it is a crushed powdered limestone form with calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate as its constituents. When you add the powdered form of lime to moist soil, these chemicals increase the soil’s pH.

Nonetheless, it is a common aspect for soils to get acidic over time after continually adding organic fertilizer and mulch. Grass does not grow well in a type of soil that is even moderately acidic.

The Effects of Lime on Grass

Hence, almost all common grass types need alkaline soil with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0 to grow properly. And this is where lime instantly helps to increase the pH of the acidic soil if an appropriate amount is added to it.

That is why you need to add lime only to soil with a pH below 6.0. Adding too much lime might increase the pH above the required 7.0. This doesn’t affect the grass that much, but it does help slow down the absorption of nutrients by the soil. The grass will suffer from a short period of slowed growth after an overdose of lime. 

How To Find Out If Your Lawn Needs Lime?

To find out if your lawn needs lime, you will check if the soil type and whether the acidity level has dropped due to the seasonal change. In addition, when you start seeing weeds coming from the grass, you may test the soil, and then add lime.

You must be aware of the type of grass you are growing on your lawn or turf. If it is a warm-growing grass like Zoysia or Bermuda, it will tolerate slightly lower pH levels well, and its growth will not be stopped or shifted.

The range of pH for these warm-season grasses is between 5.8 to 7.0. Cool season grasses like Kentucky or Fescues, for example, need high pH levels, around 6.0 to 7.2. They grow slowly and look dull if grown in acidic soil.

Note that over time, as the soil becomes acidic, the grassroots will have trouble accessing water and nutrients. For one, the grass’ growth will be affected, and secondly, you will see that acidic soil-loving plants and weeds will begin to outgrow the grass. The grass will be thinner, yellow in color, and wispy in appearance.

If you notice these symptoms, you must perform a soil test to check its accurate pH. One way is to place some soil in water and use a litmus paper to see what the soil pH comes out to be. Alternatively, you can send a sample of your soil to a nearby laboratory to get a much more comprehensive report, and this would give you an accurate result. 

Remember that soil-testing kits to be used at home are also easily available and can be ordered online at reasonable prices. Most of these testing kits are accurate enough and will tell you if your soil’s pH needs to be increased. 

– Right Time For Applying Lime

The best time for adding lime to your soil is during fall time. There are multiple reasons why it’s best to always wait till fall to carry out the acidification of any soil. In addition, this is when all grass types undergo dormancy, it won’t affect the growth of the lawn or the grass. 

Hence, you should also note that lime takes time before it starts lowering the soil’s pH. Fall is the best time because the ensuing rainfalls and snow help break down faster and exert their effects. By the time fall and winter are over, your soil will have been acidified enough for a lush lawn in the spring. 

Applying Lime on Grass

You must add lime very properly before the frost period; otherwise, it will not penetrate the soil adequately. If you miss the fall period, you can also lime soil in early spring, but do it before planting grass seeds.

Lastly, never lime soil during summertime, this is a critical rule. Lime doesn’t work well during summer, and the heat often negatively impacts the whole chemical process. You might end up with a soil pH even more imbalanced than before and the harm would be bigger.


– How To Add Lime To The Soil

The easiest approach would be to hire a professional lawn care company to apply lime to your soil. The results of the previously conducted soil test will tell you how much pH needs to be raised and how much lime should be added. If you want to execute this yourself, go ahead, as it is not that complicated. 

First, carry out personal protective measures by wearing full-sleeved shirts, masks and proper equipment to stay safe, because the powdered lime spreads a lot during spreading and might get into your eyes and airways. In some people, lime might cause severe allergies or breathing problems. 

Dolomite lime is commonly used, but quick, acting lime varieties are also easily available. As per your personal preference, go for either powder or pellet form of lime. Both are equally effective and convenient to handle and spread. The finer the lime is crushed, the quicker it will start acting on the soil. 

You can choose a sunny and non-windy day for adding lime, especially when using its crushed powdered form. Otherwise, the wind will blow away and waste a lot of lime. Your neighbors might complain because it would harm their grass.

If it is to rain anytime during the next 24 hours, wait until the rainy spell is over. Rain will waste all your effort and wash the lime off into the nearby water source. You will need a tiller or a spreader to put the lime in the soil. Spread it thoroughly so that all parts of the soil get evenly applied and no part gets too much or too little lime. 

Divide the lawn into parallel lines in both vertical and horizontal directions. Then start walking along those lines pushing the spreader at a steady pace. First, go vertically and then horizontally to ensure no lawn spot gets missed. 

However, after applying the required quantity of lime to the soil, water it lightly to saturate it deep within the soil. It helps to aerate the soil beforehand so that lime reaches the deeper layers. Set the sprinkle on at low pressure, so no water splashes are created, carrying lime everywhere.

– Precautions While Adding Lime

Lime powder will spread around and fly into the air during application. Note that it is harmful when inhaled even in small quantities; therefore, you must wear a commercial-grade breathing mask during the procedure, none should get in contact with your skin or nose.

Keep kids, pets, and other family members out of the lawn for at least a day or two afterward. Wear skin-adhering goggles to keep your eyes well-protected. After you have added lime to the grass, it will flow everywhere in the lawn or the backyard. 

Maintain Precautions While Adding Lime

An extensive clean-up will have to be done soon afterward, which can get quite exhausting. This is also not something you can put off for later because lime erodes plastic and can destroy pavements and walls.

If you hire professionals to add lime to the soil, ask them beforehand whether they will clean afterward. However, if you or someone else accidentally ends up inhaling lime or if it gets into anyone’s eyes, don’t take it lightly.

It is always wise to stay safe and have your doctor check it out. If pets enter the lawn and accidentally lick lime off the grass, immediately take them to the vet for a check-up. Don’t just wait for symptoms to show up before taking action.


– Does Lime Have To Be Watered In After Applying It To The Soil?

Yes, lime has to be watered in to produce the required effect. After adding lime to the soil, you should water the lawn. Water helps carry calcium and magnesium salts from lime deeper into the soil. Please do not use a hose to water lime in because it creates splashes that send lime into the air.

– Will Adding Lime In Lawn Kill Weeds Growing There?

No, lime does not kill weeds growing on the lawn. Lime has no direct effect on weed growth or production at all. However, adding lime to the lawn has been known to cause a decrease in the overall production of weeds, though.

Adding Lime in Lawn

This is because when grass struggles to grow and thrive in acidic soil, weeds take advantage and out-compete the grass. Note that when you add the powder to the soil, it makes things easier for grass to establish itself thickly and compete with weeds better.

This is the reason why many people swear that adding lime lead to a significant reduction in the weeds growing in their lawn, it will not let the weeds grow after it has been applied.

– Will Grass Seeds Die After Lime Application?

No, lime does not kill grass seeds unless you overdo it. Usually, we add lime to the soil to bring the pH up to about 6.0 or 7.0. This is the right pH for most grass seeds to germinate healthily.

However, if you add too much lime and increase your pH beyond 7.0, then the germination of the grass seeds will be reduced only. Even then, your grass seeds will survive, and many will still germinate.

– Is Lime Dangerous For Pet Dogs?

Yes, lime is extremely dangerous for dogs as it causes chemical burns to their skin. It is even more dangerous when ingested and will produce toxicity and burns in their mouths and digestive tract.


As our parting conclusion, we must reiterate the most important points discussed in this article below:

  • Lime is alkaline and works by increasing the pH of the soil. It is a useful soil amendment when growing turfs because grass grows well in slightly alkaline soil.
  • Before adding lime to the soil, conduct proper testing to measure how much soil needs to be added.
  • Wait till fall, when the grass begins to go dormant, to add lime to the soil. Carry out this procedure well before it snows or the first fall of that season.
  • Instead of spreading lime by hand, use a spreader or hire professionals. 
  • You must always be very cautious about applying it to your soil, because it will be harmful if your skin isn’t protected.

Now that you fully know how easy it is to spread lime to get the ideal soil pH for grass, what’s stopping you from adding it yourself? Remember to be careful and take the necessary protective measures while you are doing so.

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