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Should You Apply Lime Before Rain? (Quick Answers)

Applying lime is a great way of promoting good health to the soil for the luscious growth of grass and plants. Lime and fertilizers both are a blessing for soil to make it more fertile and adaptable. Without lime, grass, and plants often fail to benefit from the nutrients of the soil.  

How does lime work in soil?

Lime comes from limestone rocks and can be used in both powder and granulated forms. It contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. These two components work to maintain the pH of soil. pH is the indicator of how friendly the soil is. 

It affects the growth of grass and plants.

Grass grows well and lusciously if the soil is less acidic. Usually, acidic soil has a lower pH whereas alkaline soil has a comparatively higher pH. If the soil is too acidic, you will start seeing moss, weeds, and pests in the soil.

On the other hand, grass and plants find it easier to grow and flourish when the soil is more on the alkaline side. Lime helps to increase the pH of the soil to make it less acidic. When you apply lime to the soil, you need to water it afterward. 

This step will break down the particles and help the soil to absorb well.

Lime makes its way through soil regulating the flow of oxygen. It helps the soil to breathe and activate the existing nutrients of the soil and the nutrients that come from the fertilizers. 

Even though the application of lime requires watering, you may wonder if it’s okay to apply lime before it rains.

Should you apply lime before the rain?

You should not apply lime before the rain if it is supposed to last for a long time. Especially if there’s a possibility of heavy rainfall, you mustn’t apply lime before that. The application of lime needs to be followed by water but in moderation and should last no more than fifteen minutes.

If the expected rain is light and of short duration, it may be okay to apply lime before it rains. But the reasons why you should not apply lime before heavy rain are listed below –

Takes time to activate:

Lime takes time to properly navigate through the soil. Even though the application of lime is followed by watering the soil, it needs to be done in moderation. It is better if you can water the soil with the help of a sprinkler. 

While watering can help the lime work on the soil better, too much water can wash the lime before they get to the soil.

Can handle 0.5 inches of rain:

While fertilizers can withstand up to 1 inch of rain, lime especially in powder form can only handle 0.5 inches of rain. This means water level that exceeds this limitation can be too much for lime to handle.

Get washed away:

Oversaturation is not good for the soil. During heavy rainfall, water level exceeds the limitation for lime and there’s too much water that stays over the soil for a long time. 

The rainwater gets absorbed by the soil fast and as a result, the soil becomes saturated with water.

If you apply lime right after this, it will get washed away by the excessive amount of rainwater. And the remaining lime will find it hard to get into the soil since it is already too moist and saturated. It does not have space to let the lime in and work on it.

Can you put lime down when it’s raining? Can you apply lime to a wet yard?

You should not put lime down when it’s raining as the rain will only wash away the lime and won’t let them set. Lime needs watering to work on the soil but that doesn’t mean you should apply it while it rains. 

Lime takes time to work on the soil, immediate rainwater can wash the lime away even before they get into the soil.

Surely rain can help with the watering and make the lime work even better but that’s after a few days from the application of lime. It is wise to check the weather forecast beforehand and choose a day to apply the lime when there’s no probable rain in the upcoming few days.

You can not apply lime to a wet yard. If the soil and grass on the yard are wet, it means that the soil is already saturated with water. It is not ideal for lime application. For lime to work properly, the soil needs to be moist but not wet. 

The best way to achieve this is to water the yard one or two days prior to the application of lime.

When and how often to apply lime to the lawn?

There are two specific times of the year when it is wise to apply lime to the lawn. They are during the fall and spring seasons. Many experts believe that the best time to apply lime is between the end of fall and the start of spring.

While in many cold places, people apply lime before the first frost so that the lime has the whole winter to work into the soil. Also, the upcoming frost helps with the activation.

You should apply lime only when the soil seems to be needing it. You can determine this by running tests every one or two years. It is suggested to apply lime when the soil’s pH drops and becomes acidic. 

If you find the pH in the right order, you should not apply lime as an unwanted increase in pH is not good.

Should I water my lawn after applying lime? How long after lime can I water?

You should water your lawn after applying lime. Watering the lawn is an important step after the application of lime. Especially if you use lime granules, they need water to break down and seep through the soil. 

By applying water you will be activating the lime so they can penetrate better and quicker.

You can start watering the lawn immediately after applying the lime. As you apply lime over the soil, some of the lime gets on the leaves of the plants and grass. Immediate watering helps to get rid of the extra lime and carries them to the soil. 

You can continue watering for fifteen minutes.

How much lime do I apply to my lawn?

The quantity of lime for a lawn depends on a lot of things. First, you should be aware of the condition of the soil on your lawn. The soil should not be too dry or wet. Next, you should know the type of soil. Clay soil requires different treatments than sandy soil when it comes to liming.

And finally, you should check the pH of the soil. Soil’s pH should be between 5.8 and 7.2. A lower pH means that the soil is more acidic while a higher one indicates more alkalinity. For the healthy growth of plants as well as grass, the soil of your lawn should be less acidic.

If you want to ensure that your soil is in good health, you need to run soil tests at least once every year. This way, you can find out if the soil is too dry or not. Also, you will be able to measure the pH of the soil. You can determine the amount of lime from this. 

It is suggested to apply no more than 50 pounds of lime to a lawn with an area of 1000 sqft in one, particular season.

How long does it take for lime to work on grass?

It takes a long time for lime to fully work and improve the soil. It usually takes about two to three years to complete this process. But you will start seeing positive results in a few months after the first application. Also, applying lime is a continuous process if you want the best result.

You may need to apply lime once or twice a year to reach the needed pH level right for the soil. But you will be able to see changes in the growth and quality of the grass in a few months since the first application.

Final thoughts

You should not apply lime before a heavy rainfall. The water level that exceeds the limitation for lime can wash it away. Water needs to be sprayed with a sprinkler for fifteen minutes after applying lime. This way water doesn’t stand on the soil but helps the lime to go deep into the soil.