Garden Lime: How to Get the Best From It

Garden lime has many uses throughout your landscape. You can use it to control grubs, kill fungus, and amend the soil. Using lime allows you to boost the nutrients in your ground and correct those soil pH levels. Here is how to get the best results from your garden lime.

What Is Garden Lime?

Garden lime is a powdery amendment that can raise the pH level of soil with high acidity. When looking for lime in your local store, you might come across different varieties. Most of the time, you will see something called hydrated lime or calcium lime. These limes are created to be used in the masonry industry and are not a great choice for a garden. Another product is called quick lime or calcium oxide. This is not the ideal choice for your garden, either. You will want to look for garden lime, which may be labeled agricultural lime or dolomite lime. These products contain pulverized dolomitic rock or natural limestone.

Garden lime will use limestone that has a high concentration of calcium carbonate. The garden lime can help you adjust the soil’s pH levels. Also, calcium is a necessary nutrient for your plants, helping to strengthen the cell walls and prevent rot.

Usually, garden lime is available in powder or pellet form. Often, coarse pellets are designed to reduce the soil’s acidity slower than fine powder products. You may want to select the pellets for regular lawn maintenance, but choose the powders for those jobs that you need to tackle immediately.

Along with limestone, dolomitic lime is high in calcium carbonate. Plus, it can add a significant amount of magnesium to the soil, providing more nutrients. Remember that magnesium is vital to help plants perform photosynthesis. You can find dolomitic lime in pellets or granules.

Different Uses for Garden Lime

Lime is great for plants in your garden. It can neutralize the soil pH, making a more habitable environment for your plants. However, you can use garden lime in other ways around your home. Here are some of the different uses of garden lime.

Lime as a Soil Amendment

If you want to care for your plants, you need to check soil pH levels, which measure relative alkalinity or acidity. For plants to survive and thrive, the pH levels need to be in the range of 6 to 7, placing the soil in a slightly acidic range. When there is a low pH level, the soil is too acidic and can prevent the plants from absorbing any nutrients. For lawns with acidic soil, liming the lawn can help adjust the overall soil pH to a more neutral level.

If you’re raising fruit and vegetables in your garden, you will want to add lime to the soil. Many garden plants grow and flourish when the soil levels have a pH value of 7. Using lime in gardening applications can help these crops:

  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Squash
  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Cantaloupes
  • Tomatoes

Lime for Pest Control

Lime for soil can help fix any problems with the pH levels, but you can also use it for pest control. Garden lime has been shown to be a practical option when you need to get rid of unwanted insects. If you have squash bugs, fleas, beetles, cockroaches, or aphids, adding lime to your garden can help eliminate those problematic bugs. Lime causes the insects to dry out and suffocate. Keep in mind that lime will kill all insects, even the beneficial ones in your garden.

Many homeowners have issues with rodents and snakes. Some believe that the strong smell of lime will keep away these pests. Unfortunately, there has been no evidence that lime on a lawn can stop snakes and rodents from making their home in your garden.

Lime Mixed With Other Products for Fungus Control

Does lime kill lawn fungus? Lime by itself will not get rid of fungus on your lawn. You will need to mix sulfur with lime to remove the fungus. In many cases, mushrooms can develop in the layer of thatch in your grass. When you use a combination of lime and sulfur, it can control all of those fungi.

Hydrated Lime Spray for Pests

Hydrated lime is known to rid your landscape of insects and other pests. One type of product is called First Saturday Lime, and it is an innovative product that is derived from hydrated lime. Hydrated lime will create an inhospitable environment for insects. Plus, it will dry out the eggs and larvae in the soil. With a hydrated lime spray, you can add it to many places around your home. Hydrated lime deters mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas from living in your soil.

Lime as a Natural Way to Control Grubs

Using lime to control grubs is a popular treatment option. Before you add lime to the lawn, you will want to test the pH levels of your soil. Pelletized lime is the best treatment. While it is often more expensive than powdered lime, it is an effective option. Lime powders will dissolve after the first rain of the season, but those pellets remain in the soil, helping to kill the grubs on your lawn.

Other Uses for Lime

There are even more uses for garden lime. Liming the soil can actually help to improve its texture. It will allow water to seep into the ground rather than puddling at the top. With that, the nutrients will reach down to the roots of your plants. Also, lime helps to bind sandy soils and loosen clay ones. Liming can boost the aeration of your grasses and soils.

How to Use Garden Lime

Before using garden lime in your landscape, you need to test your ground soil. You can purchase a testing kit to learn if your soil is too acidic or alkaline. Many vegetable gardens and lawn grasses need a pH between 6 and 7. If you have a level below 6, applying lime will help raise the pH into the ideal range.

However, you should always err on the side of caution with garden lime. Excessive use can raise the pH levels too high, making it more alkaline. With that, the plants and grasses cannot absorb certain nutrients. In many cases, the plants will suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Plus, too much calcium often blocks magnesium uptake for many plants.

Excessive lime applications can dry out the soil by causing water to evaporate too quickly from the ground. Often, this problem is present with garden lime powder or when the lime is applied in dry or hot weather.

Best Time to Apply Garden Lime

You will want to spread the garden lime over your soil evenly. Afterward, it must be cultivated into the ground with a garden spreader for an even application. Aerating the lawn can ensure that the lime reaches lower soil levels. Fall is the ideal time to add your garden lime. Cool temperatures allow the lime to work without stressing out the plants. If you miss that autumn window, spring is another great time to add lime and get pleasing results.

Now that you know the beneficial uses of garden lime, you can pick the right solution for your gardening project. Find a True Value store near you to get the best garden lime products for your yard.