How to Apply Lawn Fertilizer & Lime at the Same Time

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Fertilizer and lime applications can make your lawn healthy.

Homeowners are always looking for new ways to improve their yard care strategy. Two often asked questions are whether lime and fertilizer can be applied at the same time and whether lime can be used after seeding. The answer to both questions is yes, and doing so can make lawns lush and green. There is an exception, though, and there are certain guidelines for applying both lawn products that must be followed to ensure a healthy lawn.

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Lime and Fertilizer at the Same Time

Applying lime and fertilizer at the same time is a very common practice. Fertilizer provides nutrients to the soil upon application, and the lime releases more slowly over time, which helps your lawn maintain a pH balance over the long haul. However, it is important to ensure that the lawn's pH level is sufficiently neutral before using lime.

Fertilizer should be applied before lime when new grass seed is being planted. Grass will not germinate to its best potential unless the soil has the right nutrients. In this case, wait for seven to 10 days before applying lime after seeding and fertilizing your lawn. That way, the grass has enough time to absorb the nutrients.

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If you want to apply lime and fertilizer at the same time, be sure to water the lawn daily (unless it rains) for three days beforehand. Add the lime pellets to a drop spreader (checking the manufacturer's label for the amount) and spread the pellets in lines across the lawn. Then, fill the spreader with granular fertilizer and apply it over the lime in the same way. Water the lawn thoroughly when you are finished, as this will dissolve the lime pellets.

Does My Lawn Need Lime?

Lime is made from ground limestone rock, as you might expect. It contains magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. When these are added to soil, they increase its pH. This makes the soil more alkaline and less acidic.

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This may or may not be appropriate for your yard depending on the existing pH of your soil. Magnesium and calcium are essential nutrients for lawns, but you cannot use lime as a substitute for fertilizer.

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When the soil pH is off, a lawn may show symptoms. If it is too acidic, you may see more weeds, insect pests, diseases and lawn moss. Overly acidic lawns also do not respond well to lawn fertilizers. This is why it is so important to know the kind of grass that you have and to use a soil testing kit to guide your decisions regarding grass seed type, fertilizer choices and more.

Best Time to Apply Lime

The best time to apply lime is usually the spring or fall. If you do it in the fall, the rain and the cycles of freezing, thawing and snowfall can help the lime to break down and do its work.

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You need to be patient, however, because it could take a few months before you see results. There are fast-acting lime products on the market that can cut down on the wait time but be sure to use the amount that corresponds to the pH test results.

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