Does Your Lawn Need Lime?
I found out that my Georgia lawn needed lime as a soil test showed a pH of 5.0, which means it is acid. Other info on the test provided values for available phosphorus, potassium, micronutrients and organic matter. As a former County Extension Agent, who looked at hundreds of soil test results for home lawns in Virginia, I know that the primary actionable number to look for is soil pH. Soil pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. A pH of 7 is neutral, acidic soil registers below 7, and alkaline soil above 7. Your lawn can tolerate a fairly wide pH range of 5.5 to 7.5, with 6.5 being the ideal pH for growing grass. When your pH is in the ideal range other nutrients in your soil and in the lawn food you spread are more available to your grass plants.
Some states offer soil testing through their Extension Service. Check for soil testing labs in your state by clicking this link.
Fall is a great time to spread lime since the upcoming alternating freezing and thawing of your soil can help to transport lime from the soil surface down to lower parts of the soil. If your soil pH is below 5.5, it is not uncommon to need multiple applications of 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 sq. ft. per year over several years. To spread this much lime, you may find you will need to go over your lawn several times with the spreader set at one of the higher settings. You will also find that granulated lime is easier to spread than pulverized lime.