Dry Or Liquid On The Farm And Why? Lime That Is


Are you aware that the application of lime to your soil, IF NEEDED, is not a one time fix?  Personally I have been aware if this for just a few years.  I had always assumed you apply it as needed once and the problem was corrected forever.  Wrong.  Lime like anything else goes away.  With periodic soil test you determine when you need to apply again. 

Well where does it go to you might ask.  In my case I am pretty sure it like everything else applied to the soil winds up on my neighbors property “down hill”.  No kidding!  At least that is my opinion.     

  As mentioned in my earlier post on http://hobbyfarmlife.com/how-to-make-our-farm-garden-soil-ohh-so-sweet/  I recently discovered that agricultural lime actually comes in a liquid form also.  While trying to determine if it is a practical economical alternative to applying dry lime several factors have come to light that I was aware of but never really thought about.

Keep in mind also that with both dry and liquid varieties there are variations as well.  With the liquid what is it suspended in.  With the dry not only are there different sources of lime but size of the particles are important as well.

 Not all soil amendments are created equal.  Maybe created equal;  but the commercial products we buy are not all the same.  For example let’s compare applying lime to a compost heap.  The finer the material that goes into the heap the more quickly nature can process them and turn them into that black gold we all seek. It is the same with lime.  The smaller the particles of lime we apply the more quickly they will effect the soil PH and the desired results reached.  Here is where the liquid lime comes in.  The lime itself is not liquid.  It is suspended in liquid.  Ground so fine it does not readily separate from the liquid and settle to the bottom of the container.  I am sure that over time and without agitation it would. To achieve this result the lime must be extremely fine as compared to that sold in dry form either by the bag or bulk.

My neighbor applied dry lime to his garden this past fall and it was so fine that it was like corn starch or talcum powder.  Not only did he apply it by hand to avoid the loss that would have occurred had a spreader been used but was also careful to apply it early so the dew was still on the ground and help to hold it but also made sure there was no breeze or most of it may have just blown away.  This to is a problem with dry lime.  The other of course being the amount of time needed for it to dissolve and be incorporated into the soil.   

Liquid lime on the other hand is the same as applying liquid fertilizer.  It is easy to control where it goes and the results are said to be almost immediate.  The difference with the liquid is the different suspension mediums.  Not all suspension mediums are the same either.  Apparently some are just water but others may be something that is of value to soil as a nutrient itself.  I guess we would have to check it out to be sure which one we are buying and the price difference.  Another plus for me is that if I feel the need for fertilizer the liquid varities can be added at the same time and application.

The comparative benefits: Both will accomplish the same thing but the time factor comes into play.  Not only the time before results are realized but the time of application of both.  Not only the lime itself but the fact that other nutrients can be added to the liquid in the same application.  

If for example like myself you are currently in the process of cutting down cedars from your property and want to immediately plant grass seed and already know that you PH level is too low for seed germination and growth you have two options.  Lime, either dry or liquid or fertilizer and hope.  I have tried the latter and am not impressed with the results.  So it is Lime.  Dry it will be months or maybe a year or better before the soil is in balance.  Liquid will get immediate results but from what I have read repeated applications may be necessary to maintain the desired results.  It appears that liquid lime is much like liquid fertilizer in that the results are quick but the life span is short.

For me for now It will have to be liquid.  I need immediate results.  Perhaps dry for my longer term results at a later date.  Fertilizer?  I may well do a light application of liquid at the same time to help with early growth.  

I wonder if there is grasses or plants that I could grow that would help balance the PH level over the long term and reduce the need for the future need for the addition of lime.  

While looking for information I found that most of the sites I could pull up any information on were predominately companies that had the product for sale.  Me being who I am was suspect of that information since it was more in the form of a sales ad than scientific information.  I am still looking and will give you any sources I find.  I would appreciate while you are checking it out if you find anything contrary or different to what is stated here you would let me know.  

I do not want to pass along incorrect information if avoidable.  It is important that what you find here is worthwhile so I include any sources I may have used’

Auburn university of Al..  Complete with charts and Graphs too long and too detailed for what I consider good reading but very informative.   http://www.aces.edu/timelyinfo/Ag%20Soil/2006/March/s-01-06.pdf

 Wiki also had some interesting information in it’s article on AG Liming.  Such as; (For example, when a 600 pound calf is removed from a pasture, 100 pounds of bone is also removed, which is 60% calcium compounds.)  This calcium came from the soil.  Doesn’t it need to be replaced.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_lime

Check it out for yourself, you to may find out things you don’t want to know.


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