What is granular lime used for?

Answered by Matthew Yawn

Granular lime, also known as granulated lime or pelletized lime, is a type of soil amendment that is used to raise the pH level of soil. It is made by crushing and grinding limestone into a fine powder, which is then granulated into small pellets. These pellets are uniform in size and shape, making them easy to spread evenly over the soil.

The main purpose of using granular lime is to correct and maintain soil pH levels. Soil pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the soil is, and it affects the availability of nutrients to plants. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range, typically between 6.0 and 7.0. However, certain plants may have specific pH requirements.

Granular lime is particularly useful in areas where the soil is naturally acidic or has become acidic over time. Acidic soil can be caused by factors such as heavy rainfall, leaching of nutrients, or the decomposition of organic matter. When the soil becomes too acidic, essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium become less available to plants. This can result in stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies, and reduced crop yields.

By applying granular lime to the soil, the pH level is raised, making it more alkaline. This helps to neutralize the acidity and create a more favorable environment for plant growth. The lime works by releasing calcium and magnesium ions into the soil, which displaces hydrogen ions and raises the pH level.

One of the advantages of using granular lime over ground limestone is its effectiveness and ease of application. Ground limestone can contain larger chips or particles, which may not dissolve or react with the soil as quickly or evenly. In contrast, every pellet of granulated lime is 100% effective at raising the pH of the soil. The pellets are designed to break down and release their nutrients gradually, providing a more consistent and long-lasting effect.

Granular lime also offers convenience in terms of application. The pellets are easy to handle and spread, whether by hand or using a spreader. They can be evenly distributed across the soil surface, ensuring a uniform distribution of lime. This is particularly important when trying to correct pH imbalances in larger areas or fields.

In addition to its primary function of raising pH, granular lime can also help to improve soil structure. The calcium in the lime can act as a binding agent, helping to create stable soil aggregates and enhance infiltration. This can be beneficial for improving the overall health and productivity of the soil.

Furthermore, by maintaining the soil at the required pH level, granular lime helps to unlock the nutrients already present in the soil. Many essential plant nutrients, such as phosphorus and micronutrients, become less available to plants in acidic soils. By neutralizing the acidity, granular lime makes these nutrients more accessible for plant uptake. This means that the value of nutrients in every bag of fertilizer is increased, as the plants are able to utilize them more effectively.

Granular lime is used as a soil amendment to raise the pH level of acidic soils. It helps to neutralize acidity, improve nutrient availability, and enhance soil structure. Its uniform pellets and high effectiveness make it a convenient choice for correcting pH imbalances and ensuring optimal plant growth. By using granular lime, you can create a more favorable environment for your plants, leading to healthier growth and higher yields.