Applying Calcitic Lime and/or Dolomitic Lime to the lawn and garden

I'll probably apply some calcitic lime over one of the last snow falls in early February, and rely upon the melting snow to carry the lime into the soil. I read that lime is slow-working and it can take 3 to 5 months for the soil and lawn to reap the lime's benefits.
The only problem is I've only seen dolomitic lime at the big box stores, not calcitic lime which has a better ratio of calcium to magnesium (7:1) than the dolomitic stuff. Tukey's book says too much magnesium in the lime in relation to the calcium isn't ideal for your soil. You want a 7:1 calcium to magnesium ratio in the lime, not 3:1 or anything else for pampering your soil the best.
Would anyone know where I can get calcitic lime in the St. Louis area? Worm's Way maybe? I'll give them a call.
I found this great, informative page about applying calcitic lime and/or dolomitic lime to the lawn and garden. The page is from Home Depot's web site, but I'm going to reproduce it here in case Home Depot ever takes the page down. I want to be able to review the info on this page each year when it's time for me to apply lime.
To be fair to Home Depot, I'll provide a link to their web page: pn=Lime_Gypsum&catalogId053&storeId051&langId=-1
From Home Depot:
Improve the soil in your lawn or garden using lime and gypsum
Although lime and gypsum are both used to improve the soil in your lawn and garden, they serve very different purposes. Adding lime to soil raises the pH so it becomes less acidic. This can help increase vegetable production in the garden and enhance the appearance of your lawn. Gypsum is often used as part of a strategy to correct compacted soil or soil with large amounts of clay. It can also be used to counteract excessive saline levels in soil and has the added benefit of not affecting the pH of soil. Before you prep your soil with lime or gypsum, consider the following questions:
* Have you tested the pH level of your soil? * Should you apply lime and fertilizer at the same time? * Is there clay or a hard layer of topsoil in your garden? * Do you live in an arid or maritime climate?
Lime, Gypsum and Application Tips
The best way to determine whether or not your soil needs liming is to test its pH. Since the most fertile gardens and lawns are those with a proper pH balance, having your soil tested every few years is highly beneficial. The target pH level of turf grass, for example, is between 6.2 and 6.5, so if your soil has a lower pH it will likely benefit from the addition of lime. Remember, though, too much lime can be as harmful to your lawn as too little, so always test the soil and read the instructions on the lime package before application. To determine if a soil can benefit from gypsum, you can test saline amounts or simply observe if you are working with soil that is heavy with clay or hard to break up. Although it may be tempting to apply your lime, gypsum and fertilizer at the same time, it's not a good idea to introduce too many chemicals at once.
Lime: Lime is a compound made up of calcium or calcium and magnesium and is used to reduce the damaging effects of acidic soil on lawns and gardens. Lime also reduces the toxicity of elements in the soil, such as aluminum, manganese and iron, which can adversely affect plant growth. Lime also adds desirable nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus. In addition, lime increases bacterial activity, which helps improve soil structure. The two most common types of lime used in gardening are calcitic lime and dolomitic lime.
* Soil in the eastern U.S. often requires the addition of lime to reduce acidity * Calcitic lime is pure calcium carbonate and is the cheapest form of lime * Dolomitic calcium contains calcium carbonate and equal parts of magnesium carbonate * Vegetables thrive best in a slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 5.8 and 6.3 * Adding too much lime to soil can damage it as much as having high acid levels
Gypsum: Gypsum is actually an element called calcium sulfate that is used to loosen up stubborn, compacted or clay soils. Gypsum works by pulling together clay particles in the soil to make bigger particles, creating porous spaces for air, water and plant roots. For saline-infused soil, gypsum removes sodium and replaces it with calcium. For all soil types, gypsum adds calcium and sulphur, which are necessary elements for plant growth. Gypsum also helps soil retain water and helps decrease soil erosion.
* Gypsum will not alter pH levels and is relatively inexpensive and easy to use * Soil in the southeast U.S. often contains clay and may benefit from gypsum * Arid and coastal regions that feature high soil salts can benefit from gypsum * Gypsum prevents surface crust deposits on soil that adversely affect seed emergence * Gypsum can correct lawn damage from salt and other winter ice- melting chemicals
Application Tips: It is easy to apply lime and gypsum using a drop spreader or broadcast spreader. Since lime is insoluble, it tends to stay exactly where it is spread, so these devices ensure uniform coverage. Gypsum is neutral and does not change the pH of your soil so you can use it around acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, to provide extra calcium. As with all fertilizers, apply lime and gypsum as directed on the label. Both substances are safe to use and are nontoxic to humans and plants.
* Although best applied in the fall, lime can be applied at any time * For even coverage, apply half the lime in one direction and the rest in a crisscross pattern * Apply lime and fertilizer at least two weeks apart to avoid damaging plants * Both lime and gypsum can be easily applied using lawn spreaders * Lime can burn a lawn if misapplied, but gypsum will not
Consult the chart below to learn more about how to apply these useful substances to your lawn and garden.
Calcitic Lime: Mined from natural limestone, calcitic lime is then crushed up into finely ground powder granules. Pelletized lime is created from finely ground lime plus a cementing agent that is added to form pellets. Pellets are more expensive but easier to use and eliminate the dust problem of granular lime. Pellets dissolve in water so it's important to water thoroughly after application. Calcitic lime also contains calcium, a necessary element to encourage healthy plant growth. Calcitic lime is most often applied to lawns but may also benefit garden plants, shrubs and flowers.
Dolomitic Lime: Dolomitic lime is mined in the same manner as calcitic lime and is also crushed and sold in either finely ground powder form or pellets. Dolomitic lime provides both calcium and magnesium. Dolomitic lime is most often applied to lawns but may also benefit garden plants, shrubs and flowers.
Granular Gypsum: Gypsum is ground up into a fine, white powder and sold in the form of granular gypsum, which is applied using a lawn spreader. Granular gypsum may be applied to turf grasses, garden plants, shrubs and flowers. Finely ground formulas are rapidly available to plants and soils.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
Add image file
Here's more great info about lime. This is from at
Lime the Lawn
Acidic soils may need several years worth of lime applications
By Kelly Burke, Guide
What is Lime?
Lime, in the sense of applying it to a lawn, is pulverized limestone or chalk. The main component is calcium carbonate. Lime with a high calcium content is referred to as calcitic lime and has the added benefit of adding calcium to the soil. Some limestone contains a significant amount of magnesium and is referred to as dolomitic lime. Dolomitic lime adds magnesium to the soil and could be used if soil tests indicate a magnesium deficiency.
Pulverized lime is powdery and messy to apply, often causing lime dust to blow everywhere. Pelletized lime is more expensive but is made into dust- free pellets which dissolve with subsequent rains or irrigation. Why Lime?
You may need to add lime to your soil if a soil test indicates a pH level below the optimum of 6.0 or 7.0. Soil pH is a measure of a soils alkalinity or acidity. A soil is acidic, or "sour", if it has a pH below 7.0 (neutral).
Soils can be naturally acidic but can also be acidified over time by natural leaching, the use of some nitrogen based fertilizers, excessive rainfall or irrigation, and acidic water sources.
A pH below 6.0 causes important plant growth nutrients to become "bound up" in the soil making them unavailable to the plant. As a result, the turf can decline including a loss of color, reduced vigor and diminished ability to recover from heat and drought stress. Is Liming Necessary?
The need to lime will be determined by soil tests. Working towards an ideal pH level will help bring the soil into balance and allow for optimum nutrient uptake. How Much Lime is Necessary?
Soil tests will indicate the amount of pure calcium carbonate to apply in pounds per thousand square feet. Match the needs of the soil test to the amount of pure calcium carbonate indicated on the bag and apply with a lawn spreader. Results of liming are slow to take affect and it can take four to six years to adequately increase the soil pH. When Can it be Applied ?
Lime can be applied to a lawn any time of year. It is often done during spring or fall when lawn stresses are minimal and more time is usually available.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
Add image file
And this is yet more useful info about liming the lawn that I'll need to read again next year before undertaking my first liming:
This comes from the web site at:
Liming is an important part of a turf management program in the humid, eastern United States. Rainfall exceeds 30 inches per year, leaching basic or alkaline-forming ions, such as calcium and magnesium, from the soil and resulting in an acid soil condition which restricts growth of turf. In over 24,000 lawn samples analyzed by the Virginia Tech laboratory in 1987, more than 51 percent tested less than pH 6.0. The optimum pH level for turf is in the 6.2-6.5 range. More importantly, 28 percent of the samples tested less than pH 5.5, a level at which growth of turf can be adversely affected.
However, lime should not be applied unless a soil test indicates that it's needed. Too much lime can be as harmful as too little, causing potential trace element deficiencies. MAKING THE APPLICATION
Limestone is simple to apply. Use either a drop spreader or a spinner spreader. Uniform coverage is the key as lime is very insoluble and essentially stays where it is put. Skipped areas won't receive the lime needed to neutralize acidity. Overlapped areas, where double the recommended amount is applied, will have too high a pH level with the potential for trace element problems. To ensure even coverage, one half of the lime should be applied in one direction, and the remainder applied in a perpendicular (crisscross) pattern. If one is using ground lime, it is simple to determine if coverage is uniform because of the visible white color of the material. More care should be taken if pelletized lime is used.
If the recommendation calls for more than 50 lbs./1000 sq. ft. to established turf, the lime application should be split. For aesthetic reasons, additional applications, if required, should be applied three to six months after the first application. Applications of less than 50 lbs./1000 sq. ft. will disappear from the surface after one or two rains, while larger amounts will remain visible for a longer period of time.
It is recommended that lime be applied in the fall to enable the material to break down over the winter for the next season's growth. However, lime can be applied any time. If a soil test in the spring indicates lime is needed, apply it at once. Lime begins to react immediately and reduces acidity and improves turf growth through the summer and fall. One word of caution - if urea fertilizer is used, apply it three weeks before the lime to permit the urea to react with the soil. If urea is applied at the same time as lime, nitrogen will be lost due to the increased pH around the fertilizer granules.
Lime is safe to use! The common forms of lime applied to turf - calcitic lime and dolomitic lime - are non-toxic to humans or grass and will not cause pollution problems. HOW OFTEN NEEDED
An application to bring the soil pH to 6.5 should last four to six years. Soils tend to revert to their natural acidity levels, and most nitrogen fertilizers used on lawns are acid-forming, gradually decreasing the soil pH. Ammonium nitrate and urea, two commonly used nitrogen fertilizers, break down in the soil to produce nitric acid. Approximately 1 3/4 lbs. of pure lime is needed to neutralize the acidity caused by 1 lb. of nitrogen from either of these fertilizers. In a yearly fertilization program where a total of 4 lbs. of nitrogen is applied per 1000 sq. ft., approximately 7 1/4 lbs. of pure lime would be needed to neutralize the acidity the nitrogen fertilizer produces. Therefore, the soil should be tested periodically and lime applied when needed. TYPES OF LIME
Lime materials available for purchase are calcitic lime, dolomitic lime, burned lime, hydrated lime, marl, and pelletized lime. However, not all of these are appropriate for use on established lawns.
Calcitic lime is mined from natural, limestone bedrock deposits. The soil is bulldozed off the bedrock; holes are drilled in the limestone, then it is blasted out with dynamite charges. It is crushed to about 1-inch stones, then pulverized or ground to screening specifications. Calcitic lime, also called aglime, has a neutralizing value between 85-100 percent. In addition to neutralizing soil acidity, calcitic limestone supplies calcium, an essential element for plant growth.
Dolomitic lime is mined in a manner similar to calcitic lime. It has a neutralizing value between 85-109 percent and supplies both calcium and magnesium for plant growth.
Burned lime (calcium oxide) is also called quicklime or unslaked lime and is manufactured by roasting crushed lime in a furnace to drive off carbon dioxide. It has a neutralizing value between 150-175 percent, which is the highest of all liming materials. It is a powdery, caustic material that is difficult to handle because it absorbs water very quickly. When applied, use only on the soil surface and incorporate immediately to prevent the formation of granules or flakes which decompose slowly.
Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide), also called builder's lime or slaked lime, is manufactured by adding water to burned lime. It has a neutralizing value of between 120-135 percent. Hydrated lime is a caustic, powdery material and should not be applied to established turf since it can burn.
Marl is mined from deposits that lie below peat bogs. It is calcium carbonate material that was formed by shell deposits or produced in aquatic plants. The material, deposited along with clay and organic debris, is somewhat impure, and has a neutralizing value between 70-90 percent.
Pelletized lime is finely ground agricultural lime to which a cementing agent has been added to form "pellets." It has been in use for several years, and while it is more expensive, this material is easier to spread than regular liming materials and eliminates the dust problem commonly associated with them. The lime pellets dissolve with a soaking rain or irrigation. If pelletized lime is used for establishing new lawns, apply to the soil surface and water thoroughly before tilling. If intact pellets are incorporated, neutralization will be confined to pockets within the tilled soil since lime moves very slowly in soil.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
Add image file
Did you ever find a good supplier of calcitic lime in the St. Louis area? Thanks.
On Sunday, November 20, 2011 8:50:43 AM UTC-6, ZoysiaSod wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
Add image file
Upload is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.