How useful is lime for plants?

When the soil you have is too acidic with a pH of 5.5 or lower, what you have is a soil that, due to its composition, blocks some essential minerals for plants such as iron and magnesium. Although there are many species that grow wonderfully in it, there are others that have many problems . To solve them, or even to prevent them, it is highly recommended to add lime. But did you know that there are different types? Each of them has different utilities, so we are going to see them all to buy the one we need.

In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know are the different types of lime, their uses and their characteristics.

What is it

lime in gardening

Limestone is found in nature, which is mainly composed of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). When the CaCO3 is passed to furnaces with a temperature of 1200ºC, calcium oxide (CaO) is obtained, which is known as quicklime. With this in mind, there are three types of lime:

  • Agricultural lime, which is nothing more than calcium carbonate (CaCO3)
  • Quicklime , which is calcium oxide (CaO). It is the best known.
  • Dead or slaked lime, which is calcium hydroxide (Ca (OH) 2)

Types of lime

pH correction

Each type of lime is recommended for different uses, which is:

Agricultural lime

This lime is the one most used in gardening to improve the soil and raise the pH . By doing so, the plants can assimilate the nutrients much better, not to mention that it provides calcium. It is also used to control the fungi typical of acid soils. It is nothing more than an alkalizing material that is considered an excellent neutralizer of the acidity of soils and a pH corrector. Most of the time the soil has acidity problems due to excessive percolation of the rain. It can also happen that the soil begins to become more acidic as we overuse acidifying fertilizers, allow crop residues to decompose, and apply organic fertilizers to crops.

All of the above reasons make the soil more acidic and agricultural lime can help alleviate these problems. Let’s see what are the advantages of using agricultural lime:

  • The acidity of the soil decreases, so it can increase production in crops again.
  • Shuffle the toxicity of aluminum. For many crops this metal is more toxic and with the application of agricultural lime it becomes less toxic.
  • Improves the use of fertilizers since they become more efficient.
  • It supplies calcium to the soil.
  • Improves the physical conditions of the soil by being less acidic.
  • By having better conditions, the availability of nutrients in the soil is improved.
  • A greater decomposition of organic matter is obtained.
  • Increases the absorption of both water and air
  • Phosphorus becomes more usable in the soil
  • Stimulate the activity of nitrogen fixing bacteria in the air. It also makes the nitrogen belonging to the fertilizers more usable.
  • Reduces the damage caused by fungi in some of the most common diseases in crops.

Quicklime

It is used in gardening to prepare broths (such as Bordeaux mixture) which eliminate pests that affect plants, as a herbicide, and as a fertilizer since it provides calcium which, despite being a micronutrient, is essential for proper development. and plant maintenance. Of course, you have to be very careful and never throw it on or around the plants , since it would dehydrate them.

It is often used as a disinfectant for desert wells and organic debris. It also helps eliminate bad odors. You just have to sprinkle it on the surface and after a few minutes add a similar amount of water. The solution that is formed has an alkaline pH, which is why it serves as a fungicide and bactericide. Quicklime is characterized by its versatility since it can be used in almost all industrial processes, either as a neutralizer, flux, lubricant, drier, cementing agent, absorbent, precipitant, disinfectant, waterproofing agent and as a raw material.

Slaked lime

It can be used to obtain compost , as a biocide and to improve soil characteristics , both acidity and porosity. This material has several valuable advantages over other garden materials. Let’s see what these advantages are:

  • It is able to protect the surface from moisture. Many plants need protection against excessive moisture from both the soil and the environment.
  • It has a disinfecting effect. This effect is quite interesting from the point of view of the invasion of possible pests and diseases to our crops.
  • Improves the quality of various event concrete solutions. This is more industrial than gardening. However, you can improve these solutions to make them more efficient on construction sites.

What is the dosage?

soil ph

The amount of lime to be used is what the soil needs. The soil will need an amount of lime depending on its pH and its consistency. The most advisable thing is that a professional laboratory carry out soil analyzes to be able to know how much to use. The grass can tolerate a pH of between 5.5 and 7.5 , so approximately 10-25 kilos of limestone are needed for every 300 square meters of surface to correct a lawn that has a slightly acidic pH. If we want to raise the pH of 30 square meters of sandy loam soil you will need 3 kilos, for a medium loamy soil 4 kilos and for a heavy clay soil 5 kilos.

The general dose is 1 to 2 grams per kilo of soil, once a year. But you have to do a chemical analysis of the soil beforehand to determine the exact amount. Once you have added the lime to the soil, you will notice changes, although it can take between half a year and a whole year to completely dissolve. That is, you won’t be able to see the full effect until it dissolves.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the uses of lime and its characteristics.

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