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How to incorporate limestone in your garden

Are you familiar with limestone’s tremendous benefits to a home garden? When it comes to acidity in soil and lakes, limestone is The Great Neutralizer. Agricultural and dolomite limestone are widely used by farmers and gardeners across the county to enhance soil conditions, with Ag lime providing calcium and dolomite adding magnesium to the mix.

Conveniently, these limestone types are available in a variety of sizes and styles including blocks, one-inch pellets, and pulverized. The latter is traditionally an excellent choice for mixing with fertilizer. Whatever the size, in order to glean the maximum benefit it is important to apply the proper limestone/fertilizer mix to a garden or lawn. Let’s take a closer look at pH levels and their role in creating perfect soil and vibrant flora.

How Does Limestone Work?

Limestone’s natural elements raise soil pH to levels that greatly benefit whatever is planted in it. In fact, mixing limestone with fertilizer is one of the best ways to naturally enrich pH nutrition. Limestone provides excellent nourishment to plants, helping them live longer, more vibrant lives. Limestone is also a go-to solution to help prevent harmful toxins from settling in, while simultaneously improving calcium content.

How Much Should I Use?

Existing soil pH and consistency will determine the amount of lime to apply. However, this is all trial and error in the absence of a reliable soil test. Home pH test kits are great for identifying soil’s acidity but those kits do not consider soil type, which plays a big part. A professional soil analysis done by an experienced lab will provide recommendations specific to the needs of your property.

How Long Does it Take?

After adding lime, you will likely see a difference in soil pH in about four weeks. Keep in mind, however, that it can take six to 12 months for the lime to completely dissolve and you won’t notice the lime’s full benefit until that happens. The fall season is usually a good time to add lime, working it thoroughly into the soil so it has the winter months to dissolve before spring planting season rolls around.

Before adding lime, the soil must be prepared for action. Use a tiller or dig 8 to 12 inches deep. Spread the lime evenly over the entire soil area, and then rake it all in to a two-inch depth. This will begin the process of raising pH levels to ideal levels and if you’re a plant, you really like a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.