How to Use Hydrated Lime

Written by meg butler
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How to Use Hydrated Lime
Hydrated lime will quickly turn acidic soil into a suitable growing medium. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

In the home garden or lawn, hydrated lime raises the pH of acidic soil. According to the Ohio State University Extension Office, the only way to tell how much hydrated lime to add to your soil is with a soil test. The degree to which a given amount of hydrated lime will raise the pH of the soil depends on the composition of the soil it is applied to. A soil test, available from your local county extension office, will reveal the exact pH of your soil and list the recommended amount of lime per 1,000 square feet needed to bring the pH to acceptable levels.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soil test
  • Breathing mask
  • Bucket
  • Watering can
  • Hose-end sprayer

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  1. 1

    Find the lime requirement listed on the report provided after your soil test. The requirement will likely be listed as pounds of pure calcium carbonate needed per 1,000 square feet. If you cannot find the lime requirement, call the extension office that issued the report for help.

  2. 2

    Divide the listed pounds of calcium carbonate per 1,000 square feet by 1.4. According to the Ohio State University Extension Office, hydrated lime delivers 140 per cent of the pH raising power of pure calcium carbonate. For example, if the soil test report lists 3.18 Kilogram of pure calcium carbonate needed per 1,000 square feet, you need only 2.27 Kilogram of hydrated lime.

  3. 3

    Pour the hydrated lime into a large bucket while wearing your breathing mask. Add roughly twice the amount by volume of room temperature water. Stir the solution vigorously to mix the lime and water.

  4. 4

    Water the planting area evenly with the mixture using a watering can or hose-end sprayer.

Tips and warnings

  • Hydrated lime can burn plant roots. The Ohio State University Extension Office recommends only using it in heavy clay soils. Dolomitic lime, ground or pelletised limestone is better for most lawns.
  • The best time to apply hydrated lime to soil is the fall before you plant. If you must apply hydrated lime to planted soil, avoid coating the foliage with the lime/water solution.

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