Lime as an application in your organic program?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lawncuttinfoo, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,010

    Do you have lime application as part of your base organic program? (only when required of course)
     
  2. OUTLANDER

    OUTLANDER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    late fall early winter,when dormant
     
  3. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Never. Lime is calcium carbonate. What most people don't realize is that lime, gypsum or dolomite are all salts. Salts remove water from the available pool. And the negative impact is on the microbes in the soil long before there is an impact on the plant. Although, you can overdo even lime applications and have serious salt impacts on your plants.

    Once you have started to revive the biology in your soil, add soluble calcium to the compost, or to the tea, rather than use salts on the soil directly.

    Once you have the life back in the soil, the bacteria and fungi control soil pH. Keep the organisms fed and happy, relative to the plants you want, and then only when nature sends an un-usual weather event do you have to do anything to help the soil return to a condition of health.
     
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Yes, I would use it as a nutrient source in acidic soils. Which type you use depends on your Ca:Mg ratios.
     
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    A cut and paste for those confuseing nutrient salts and sodium

    Soluble salts:
    Definition: Chemical compounds that dissolve in water to form an ionic solution.

    Soluble salts...
    are simply minerals in soil that are easily dissolved. A certain amount of these minerals are necessary for plant growth and health, but an excess of them leads to a condition known as soil salinity. Salinity in soils is historically common, particularly in arid and semiarid regions where evaporation rates are higher than leaching of the salts downward in the soil profile. Increased salinity is especially common in places where there is poor drainage, low precipitation, and high temperatures. The level of salinity in soil is determined by measurement of the soluble salts, which is accomplished by measuring the electrical conductivity of the soil.

    Recognizing Insoluble Salts
    · Carbonates, phosphates, oxalates are insoluble, except with alkali metal & ammonium ions
    · sulfides and hydroxides are insoluble, except with alkali metal, heavy alkaline earth metals, and ammonium


    Solubility Rules

    Thanks to Professor Kenneth W. Busch from whose Web page these data were extracted.

    1. Salts containing Group I elements are soluble (Li+, Na+, K+, Cs+, Rb+). Exceptions to this rule are rare. Salts containing the ammonium ion (NH4+) are also soluble.
    2. Salts containing nitrate ion (NO3-) are generally soluble.
    3. Salts containing Cl -, Br -, I - are generally soluble. Important exceptions to this rule are halide salts of Ag+, Pb2+, and (Hg2)2+. Thus, AgCl, PbBr2, and Hg2Cl2 are all insoluble.
    4. Most silver salts are insoluble. AgNO3 and Ag(C2H3O2) are common soluble salts of silver; virtually anything else is insoluble.
    5. Most sulfate salts are soluble. Important exceptions to this rule include BaSO4, PbSO4, Ag2SO4 and SrSO4 .
    6. Most hydroxide salts are only slightly soluble. Hydroxide salts of Group I elements are soluble. Hydroxide salts of Group II elements (Ca, Sr, and Ba) are slightly soluble. Hydroxide salts of transition metals and Al3+ are insoluble. Thus, Fe(OH)3, Al(OH)3, Co(OH)2 are not soluble.
    7. Most sulfides of transition metals are highly insoluble. Thus, CdS, FeS, ZnS, Ag2S are all insoluble. Arsenic, antimony, bismuth, and lead sulfides are also insoluble.
    8. Carbonates are frequently insoluble. Group II carbonates (Ca, Sr, and Ba) are insoluble. Some other insoluble carbonates include FeCO3 and PbCO3.
    9. Chromates are frequently insoluble. Examples: PbCrO4, BaCrO4
    10. Phosphates are frequently insoluble. Examples: Ca3(PO4)2, Ag2PO4
    11. Fluorides are frequently insoluble. Examples: BaF2, MgF2 PbF2.

    This offering of solubility rules is in the public domain and may be copied without restriction. The user is encouraged to download it for private use and public distribution in any form, including that of making it available on other Web servers.
     
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,604

    Only if a soil test requires raising the Ph.
    And then I would stay away from dolomitic lime in favor of high calcium lime with soluble humate. Using this product can reduce the application from the usual 20 lb/1,000 sq ft to only 5 lb/1,000 sq ft.
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342


    I disagree with this assement. A lot of areas are very deficient in magnesium and the use of dolomitic lime stone should be a better choice for these areas. If Ph is the only reason for adding lime, magnesium carbonate will raise the ph levels 1.67 times faster than CaCo3. and require less material to reach the desired pH level. Potassium carbonate will raise the ph just as fast as CaCo3. Even Sodium will raise ph levels. Why not add the material that is most deficient in the soil instead of just attacking ph with the wrong weapons. Thats what a soil test is for isnt it, to tell you which nutrients are needed.
     
  8. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    While Gerry makes a good point, most of us in here are LCO's. Do we really have the time and does the customer have the patience to wait (possibly years), for the soil pH to balance itself out? There are also many other variables that could be affecting pH. So, we do add lime, gypsum, and sulfur to correct soil imbalances. The customer expects results, so we add those things and re-introduce the soil biology (there's no quick fix to adding soil biology either).

    Also, we never do soil tests, we lime all properties every year. Our trusty pH meter from '63 tells us everything we need to know. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I don't feel that using lime to correct pH is a sustainable practice. Use it to correct nutrient problems and to correct problems with Ca:Mg ratios in an acidic soil. Beyond that, I see no use for it. You can't win at the pH game, so why even bother? If you have naturally acidic soil conditions, then use plants in your landscape that are adapted to those conditions.
     
  10. wrs1

    wrs1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    weather your organic or synthetic you should be useing lime, calcium carbonate for the most part, best thing to do is get a soil sample the test will run you about $50.00 there is a company in minnesota that I do my testing with their great if your interested let me know I will dig up there info for you and it comes with full recommendation, calcium beyond what some people think is 1 of the most important things grass needs and the least used, differant soils require differant types of lime, and its not just to change soil ph.
    cal/ mag ratios are extremely important it can help loosen your soil reduce your weeds all naturally and lime is probably the least expensive product out there
    But you have to think outside the box you cant think like some one who has been in the lawn care business for along time because you get set in your ways you get to thinking you can do it all with high nitrogen synthetic npk fertilizer.
    Just put up with the same old problems year in and year out thats the way your suppose to do it isn't it.
    and old boss of mine once told me you use their program they make money you use your program you make money and as long as you use the same old turf grass programs you will make them money.
    There are no easy answers but there are much better and friendlier products out there, Maxicrop super concentrate sea wead , calpril ( lime- not salt ) turfprousa- extremely high concentrate humus.
    do a little experiment by some of these products or some others like them and use them either on your lawn or a customer lawn and see what happens dont just trust to information your going to get in here because there is just as much bad information in here as there is good from what I read.
    Good Luck wrs1
     

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