How to Use Garden Lime (and Why You Need It In the Fall)

What Is Backyard Lime?

There are several types of lime, and never all are meant for landscaping purposes. Lime meant for backyard use is labeled as "backyard lime" or "dolomitic lime." Constituted of ground-up rock, limestone, or dolomite, lime is excessive in calcium. Dolomitic lime differs from backyard lime in that it comprises magnesium, along with calcium. Lime makes soils much less acidic, elevating the pH stage.


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If you happen to reside on the East Coast like I do, there’s sufficient rainfall to trigger alkaline vitamins to leach out of the grime, thereby rising its acidity. As you journey west, grime tends to be extra alkaline.

One thought to Utilizing Lime within the Backyard Towards Snails and Slugs

  1. Taylor Hansen says:

    November 2, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    It’s attention-grabbing that lime can assist modify the pH ranges in addition to speed up the composting course of. I’m wanting to regulate the pH ranges and alter the acidity in my soil. Appears like I ought to analysis the perfect minerals for this variation in my soil.


Checklist of Backyard Vegetation That Do Not Want Lime

Opposite to common perception, not all crops like lime whereas they develop. within the earlier part, we went over what crops want lime. However do you know there are crops that don’t like lime?

These backyard crops don’t like lime and could be destroyed if lime was added to them. Right here is our listing of which backyard crops to not lime:

When it comes to greens, the next crops won’t want lime:

  • Potato crops; comparable to potatoes and candy potatoes
  • Capsicums

Many fruits additionally don’t require lime, these embody:

  • Berries; comparable to blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Grapes

The next flowers don’t develop in alkaline soils that will require lime:

  • Magnolia
  • Azalea
  • Japanese maples
  • Daphne
  • Rhododendrons

You will need to word that this isn’t your entire listing and there are a number of different backyard crops aside from these that won’t profit from lime.

Field of vegetables
Discipline of greens

Benefits of Lime

One profit is the mineralizing impact of calcium carbonate/backyard lime.

Lime additionally permits you to modify pH ranges.

Moreover, when you use lime in your backyard, the composting processes within the soil speed up.

Within the case of nitrolime, effectiveness towards snails and slugs has been proven.

What Kind of Lime Ought to You Add to Your Backyard Vegetation?

There are a lot of several types of lime that you would be able to add to your backyard crops. Nevertheless, the 2 greatest forms of lime that you should utilize are powdered lime and palletized lime.

  • Powdered lime contains superb granules of lime and thus, may be simply unfold on the soil with the assistance of a spreader.
  • Palletized lime is a kind of lime that features evenly sized pallets of lime that may be unfold onto the soil and activated by water.

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Why Soil Testing is Obligatory

In some situations, it will assist to change your soil’s pH when cultivating crops with large leaves like hydrangeas which change in colour based mostly on their pH ranges.

Organic garden lime testing
Natural backyard lime testing

Liming improves soils with pH ranges beneath 5.5 by rising the pH ranges and consequently enhancing mineral absorption for many crops.

Nevertheless, if the soil’s pH is 6.5 or above, liming just isn’t really helpful as a result of it will increase its alkalinity, making it onerous for crops to soak up or retain important vitamins.

Increased soil pH stunts plant growth-inhibiting fruit formation or producing yellow leaves. Subsequently, you must assess your backyard’s soil pH for max advantages from liming.

You possibly can take a look at the soil pH utilizing a pH meter, though you may get full soil evaluation from an Extension Workplace to get important suggestions:

  • Make sure you observe the really helpful tips when liming your garden soil and the right vitamins so as to add for optimum plant development and harvest.
  • The quantity of lime so as to add to your soil will depend on the take a look at outcomes and proposals.
  • Acidic and magnesium poor soils require dolomitic lime, whereas backyard lime is relevant if the magnesium ranges are inside the really helpful ranges.

Moreover, you possibly can estimate or measure your backyard dimension to ascertain the amount of lime to buy.

Producers typically use really helpful lime amount per a thousand sq. toes.

Thus, establishing the backyard will make sure you buy the precise quantity your want and prevent some cash.

Right here’s The Essential Half

The primary level I need to make is that even when minerals are leaching out of your soil, it doesn’t make sense to blindly return including simply two of them (the calcium and magnesium in dolomitic lime) with out understanding you want them. You would possibly have already got an excessive amount of of one among them.

Your soil wants a calcium to magnesium ratio of someplace between 7:1 (sandier soils) and 10:1 (clayier soils).

Some soil consultants would possibly use completely different numbers however everybody is aware of you want far more calcium than magnesium.

Exterior of those ranges, your soil will typically have compaction issues, your crops will typically have well being points and bug and illness issues, and you should have weed issues.

One in every of your most essential objectives within the backyard is so as to add mineral fertilizers to maneuver the calcium to magnesium ratio in direction of the right vary, based mostly on a soil take a look at.

The issue with dolomite lime? It has a calcium to magnesium ratio of two:1. That’s approach an excessive amount of magnesium for many soils. Magnesium is definitely a vital mineral. An excessive amount of of it, nevertheless, causes many issues.

So when you add dolomitic lime to your garden/backyard yearly, likelihood is you’re simply inflicting extra compaction and weed issues.

3 Causes to Add Lime to Your Soil

The addition of lime to your soil may be the distinction between a low yield and a flourishing backyard. Listed here are three advantages to incorporating lime into your garden care routine:

  1. So as to add vitamins: A low soil pH can inhibit crops from absorbing the obtainable vitamins within the soil, however lime raises the pH stage and promotes the unfold of fine micro organism within the soil by including vitamins like phosphorus and zinc to it. Needless to say in case your soil pH is already above 6.5, you’ll seemingly need to keep away from including lime since too excessive of a pH may cause nutrient deficiency signs like stunted development. A excessive soil pH may also trigger chlorosis, which seems as a yellow discoloration on a plant’s leaves.
  2. To enhance water penetration: When the soil is on the acidic facet, including lime can enhance water penetration of the soil. By elevating the alkalinity of the soil, water can extra simply rehydrate the soil, thereby rehydrating your crops and stopping them from drying out.
  3. To make your soil extra alkaline: Most greens want to develop in alkaline soil and including lime to your soil will improve the alkalinity of the soil. A pH stage of seven, which is impartial, works nicely for many greens and flowers, so that you would possibly think about rising the pH stage of soil that lands at or beneath 6.5 while you take a look at it. Nevertheless, there are some acid-loving crops and greens, like potatoes and parsley, so ensure to do a little analysis earlier than deciding to lime your soil.

Check your soil to find out whether or not it wants backyard lime


Gardening consultants agree that one of the best ways to know what the soil wants is to check it. Submit a soil pattern to your Cooperative Extension Service lab to study how one can improve your garden’s soil and whether or not lime would possibly assist. Or select an over-the-counter soil pH take a look at equipment to study in case your soil is just too acidic and also you want lime for the backyard.

A lab take a look at will present probably the most correct and complete outcomes and steerage for long-term soil enchancment. An over-the-counter equipment like this one available at Amazon—chosen “greatest total” in our researched guide to the best soil test kits—is nice for these with a brief timeline, and for normal monitoring between annual or biennial lab exams.

For many garden grasses and vegetable gardens, a pH studying between 6.0 and seven.0 is nice. If the take a look at outcomes come again beneath 6, an software of lime can assist elevate the pH (scale back the acidity) to the perfect vary. Precisely how a lot lime that you must apply to realize the specified outcomes will depend on the kind of lime and the soil make-up. As with every soil amendments, observe the soil take a look at outcomes and proposals fastidiously.

How A lot Lime to Use

How a lot lime to make use of will rely in your soil sort and the way far it’s important to elevate your pH by. The chart beneath provides you with a tough information for the way a lot floor limestone to make use of. For hydrated lime you solely want between half and three quarters the quantity.

Do watch out, an excessive amount of lime can elevate your pH too far and an alkaline soil is as dangerous as an acid soil for yield.

When to Lime

It’s normally greatest to lime your soil within the autumn and permit it to work its approach into the soil over the winter. You do not need to lime when you may have crops within the floor because the lime might nicely injury the crops Since brassicas like each excessive quantities of nitrogen & humus in addition to a excessive pH, manure within the autumn for them and lime within the early spring,


Testing the soil takes little time and could be very low-cost. The advantage of liming is big so do it as a part of your rotation and you will notice higher crops on your efforts.

Quantity of Lime to Elevate Soil pH from 5.5 to six.5
Soil Kind KG / M2 lb / yd2
Clay 0.9 1.66
Sand 0.7 1.29
Mild 0.8 1.47
Natural 1.1 2.03
Peat 1.7 3.13

How A lot Lime Ought to I Add?

Your soil take a look at ought to let you know precisely how a lot (if any) lime to add to your soil. If the soil take a look at signifies an acidic pH and divulges low magnesium ranges, add dolomitic lime. If magnesium ranges are within the acceptable vary, add backyard lime. Lime suggestions are sometimes given in variety of kilos of lime per 1,000 sq. toes, so you could need to do some measuring of the world you need to cowl before you go shopping for lime.

The right way to use backyard lime

Whenever you get the outcomes again in your soil’s pH and so they point out that that you must scale back the acidity, Wolfe says to concentrate to the directions concerning how a lot backyard lime so as to add to stability your soil, particularly. When including the backyard lime, at all times achieve this cautiously—including it incrementally, quite than dumping it suddenly. You don’t need to go overboard and find yourself with soil that’s too alkaline, Wolfe explains.


In line with Wolfe, one of the best ways to use backyard lime is to “unfold it evenly over the bottom, then domesticate it into the soil.” For smaller gardens, a backyard spreader will allow you to apply the lime evenly. However when you’re working with bigger backyard beds, use a tough rake or rototiller to softly loosen the highest three or 4 inches of soil after liming.

Soil Kind

Soil has a top quality often called buffering capacity, aka reserve acidity, that’s biggest within the presence of clay and wealthy natural matter. Dust that may buffer adjustments in pH is much less prone to turn into too acidic or alkaline. If yours is sandy, it could not have the ability to buffer correctly to keep away from turning into acidic. Read more about understanding the kind of dirt that you’ll have in your plot.

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