How Do You Know If Your Yard or Garden Needs Lime?

Yards or gardens that need lime often contain plants with yellowing leaves and stunted growth patterns. A yard or garden needs lime if the pH of the soil is too low for the type of plants you are growing. A pH test kit is used to determine the soil's pH level.

Plants grown in soils with a low pH often fail to thrive because they can't obtain the nutrients they need from the soil. Adding lime to the soil raises the pH level. Two types of lime are commonly sold as additives for yards or gardens. Agricultural lime contains calcium to regulate beneficial soil nutrients. Dolomite lime contains calcium and magnesium, a nutrient low in some soil areas.

Though some benefits of adding lime can be seen as soon as four weeks after its addition to the soil, it generally takes up to one year for lime to dissolve completely. Till lime into the soil to decrease the time required for absorption. Apply lime to yards and gardens in the fall to hasten the absorption, since rain and cold temperatures often help work lime into the soil. Wait three to five years to reapply the lime to avoid the possibility of burning plants.