calcitic lime question

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by mrkosar, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    Does anyone use this to break up high clay soils? I know adding lime to a high PH soil isn't supposed to be done, but I've heard a few people say it really helps break up the soil and doesn't raise the PH anymore than it already is.

    Do Cal-Sol gypsum type products do this quicker than calcitic lime?

    I know that compost will do a better job, but it is hard to find a supplier in my area, plus i don't have the equipment to put it down at a reasonable price. So I'm looking for an easier to spread alternative that will bust up this clay.

    Soils are high in PH, low in K, high in mag, average in calcium if this helps.
  2. RGM

    RGM LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Baltimore Md
    Messages: 979

    What kind of area you working in just beds or lawn size. Home depot sells a product called clay breaker work real good its just like a compost with gypsum and maybe some sand it come in a mulch size bag.

    NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,271

    All my research has been Lime is what you add to an acidic ph soil, to sweeten up the soil, what do you mean by lime to a high ph soil isn't suppost to be done?????? Did I mis-understand something here?
  4. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    all lawns. average 7-8K.
  5. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    exactly. lime is added to acidic low ph soils to raise the ph. i've been told you don't want to add lime to high ph soils because it might raise the ph even more. you add sulfur to lower the PH.

    now cal-sol has the calcium and sulfur, which is why i was asking if a product like this is quicker/better for a high PH soil than calcitic lime. someone was recently raving about the effects of calcitic lime breaking up clay soils and i wondered if anyone had experience or has heard this too.

    NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,271

    LOL, I guess this is why I wasn't good in Chemistry, wouldn't an acidic soil automatically have a high ph? I mean how would you know you have an acidic soil without testing the ph and basing this off of your PH reading?

    NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,271

    This is straight from Wikipedia:

    Altering soil pH

    The aim when attempting to adjust soil acidity is not so much to neutralise the pH as to replace lost cation nutrients, particularly calcium. This can be achieved by adding limestone to the soil, which is available in various forms:

    * Agricultural lime (ground limestone or chalk) is used for soil liming. These natural forms of calcium carbonate are probably the cheapest form of lime for gardening and agricultural use and can be applied at any time of the year. These forms are slow reacting, thus their effect on soil fertility and plant growth is steady and long lasting. Ground lime should be applied to clay and heavy soils at a rate of about 500 to 1,000 g/m² (1 to 2 lb/yd² or 4,500 to 9,000 lb/ac).
    * Quicklime and slaked lime: The former is produced by burning rock limestone in kilns. It is highly caustic and cannot be applied directly to the soil. Quicklime reacts with water to produce slaked, or hydrated, lime, thus quicklime is spread around agricultural land in heaps to absorb rain and atmospheric moisture and form slaked lime, which is then spread on the soil. Quicklime should be applied to heavy clays at a rate of about 400 to 500 g/m² (0.75 to 1 lb/yd² or 3,600 to 4,500 lb/ac), hydrated lime at 250 to 500 g/m² (0.5 to 1 lb/yd²). However, quicklime and hydrated lime are very fast acting and are not suitable for inclusion in an organic system. Their use is prohibited under the standards of both The Soil Association and the Henry Doubleday Research Association.
    * Calcium sulfate (gypsum) cannot be used to amend soil acidity. It is a common myth that gypsum affects soil acidity.[1] However, gypsum does reduce aluminium toxicity. Because gypsum is more soluble than alkaline earth carbonates, it is recommended for the treatment of acidic subsoils.[2]

    The pH of an alkaline soil is lowered by adding sulfur, iron sulfates or aluminium sulfate, although these tend to be expensive, and the effects short term. Urea, urea phosphate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphates, ammonium sulfate and monopotassium phosphate also lower soil pH.
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,935

    We carry gypsum with soluble humate.

    • The easiest way to apply active humic acids to the soil. Soluble humic acids are biologically active and able to react in the soil immediately.
    • Expedites the improved friability of clay soils compared to regular gypsum alone.
    • Buffers salinity issues better than regular gypsum alone. A valuable source of essential calcium and sulfur.
    • Provides a greater amount of calcium than other gypsum products.
    • Provides a greater amount of soluble humic acid than other
    • combination products.
    • Stimulates the growth and proliferation of desirable soil micro-organisms.
    • Contains natural trace elements and amino acids from solublehumate.
    • Increases water holding capacity of soils.
    • Increases the cation exchange capacity of soils.
    • Unlocks insoluble nutrient bonds in the soil and increases
    • their solubility and availability to plants.
    • Decreases thatch due to increased microbial activity.
    • Will not affect soil pH.
    • 100% Natural Gypsum rock used in formulation guarantees consistency.
    • Clean uniform pellet sizing for accurate application rates.
    • Pellets dissolve rapidly in water, avoiding disruption on low cut turf.

    Sold by the pallet.
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    High Magnesium is what is driving your ph levels to the high numbers. Magnesium has about 1.67 times more ph raiseing ability than calcium. It depends on what your base saturation is as to whether or not to use calcitic lime. If the calcium saturation is 60% or higher, gypsum would be a better choice. 60% or lower use calcitic lime to get the calcium levels above 60% and then use gypsum. Also K can be a factor in raising ph. Your K levels are low and therefore you could use potassium sulfate to drive down magnesium saturation levels and actually lower your Ph. With ph reading of 8, pure calcitic lime is only about ph8.5 so using the calcitic lime cant raise the levels much more, but the additional calcium should lower magnesium saturation levels and result in a lower ph reading.

    Also it was mentioned that ammonium phoshpate would lower ph levels. Only if the ph level is above ph 6.8 which is the ph of diammonium phosphate. In a ph of 8, dap would actually lower the ph, but shouldnt be used unless you have low P levels. Get your Ca and K levels to their correct ranges and you should see a decrease in you Ph.
  10. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    muddstopper as always you know your stuff. thanks. you suggested this to me a while back and i am testing out the sop apps still. they are helping, but with the cost of those products skyrocketing i was looking for an alternative. is there a cheaper potash product out there that will work as good?

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