Hydrated Lime vs Agricultural Lime

tom6022(5)January 30, 2006

Last year my tomatos had quite a lot of blossem end rot. This year I plan to add some lime to the soil to help prevent this.

Is there any difference between Hydrated Lime and Agricultural Lime ??

Thanks for your help

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Ground limestone is almost almost pure calcium carbonate and comprises the largest % of all lime used in the United States - it is abundant and the cheapest form of lime. Also, it is not caustic or disagreeable to handle like burnt or hydrated lime. It may also contain varying amounts of magnesium carbonate. Limestones containing significant amounts of magnesium carbonate are called dolomitic limestones. Dolomitic limestone contains about equal parts of magnesium and calcium carbonate. Hydrated/slaked lime Â
pound for pound is about 1-1/2 times more effective (at raising pH) and quicker to react than ground limestone (calcium carbonate). There are other forms of lime, but they're not generally something you'd want to use in a container.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 3:55PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I was just coming here to ask a similar question! I was als o wondering which limestone I should use in my containers if I was more interested in increasing the calcium level than raising pH. (My soil mix already has a good pH for what I want.)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 6:33PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If interested in only Ca, use ground limestone. If you want Mg too, use dolomitic lime. I use dolomitic lime in containers.

In container soils, pH is far less important than in mineral soils. You could drive yourself crazy chasing a "perfect pH", and it's not necessary. In container soils, when ions attach to organic particulates they are loosely held and available over a wide pH range, in contrast to mineral (garden) soils. Your (our) job is to make sure they are there in usable amounts.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 10:02PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

A1, for a less abrupt change in calcium levels, bone meal is about 15% usable calcium. The drawback of bone meal is that it attracts animals that are looking for the bone. In any case, I spread it on top of the snow just before the last frost date as an early spring tonic. BTW, bone meal that is used to mix with chicken feed is just fine to use in place of the expensive bone meal sold for spring bulbs. The only difference is the stuff used with chicken feed is much finer than the horticultural bone meal so it breaks down faster and costs about 1/10 the money. Sandy

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 11:00PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Thanks for the info, Al! It's good to know I don't need to obsess over pH, as I'm not great at measuring exact amounts of ingredients when mixing stuff!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 6:28AM
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Thanks to all of you for your great comments !!!
By the way AL, what is your container soil mix ??

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 12:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have had many people thank me (several recently) for sharing this recipe for container soils for both pretty & yummy container plants:

5 parts pine bark (partially composted works best, but fresh will work fine)
1-2 parts sphagnum peat (no sedge, reed, or Michigan peat, please)
1-2 parts perlite (it comes fine, medium, coarse. Coarse is best.)
dolomitic lime
slow release fertilizer
micro-nutrient source (not compost, please) Available as powder, granules, fish/seaweed/kelp emulsions, Earthjuice, or use a fertilizer that contains the minor elements. I use about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of lime per cu ft of soil and about 1/3 cup of slow release in the 19-6-12 range. I still supplement regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer (20-20-20 usually) and various combinations of fish emulsions (I use both 5-1-1 and 2-3-1).

This soil will easily go an entire, long grow season with almost no structural failure (soil collapse or soil that breaks down and begins to hold too much water) and would likely be structurally sound for a second year, but I do not reuse container soils.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 4:09PM
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bcra5006(z10 CA)

Came across your comments while searching for anything about lime. A neighbor of mine told me that he puts lime in his yard to combat fleas. Ever hear such a thing?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 10:57PM
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Blossom end rot in container grown tomatoes is a common problem, and more likely linked to water fluctuation than an absence of calcium. Calcium deficiency is possible, though unlikely since most commercial potting soils have lime added and most water contains at least some calcium. I would recommend using dolomite lime if you are mixing your own soil, since it contains magnesium as well.
(I've stopped using lime in my own soil since my water is loaded with calcium, magnesium and other minerals.)

Al's soil recipe would be a great choice for container tomatoes, since it would definitely help you avoid over-watering and water-logged plants. I'll be mixing up a cu. yd. this weekend, and I'm very much looking forward to it--nothing like the smell of pine bark and peat and the anticipation of spring.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 2:46AM
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bcra5006 I lived down south one year and rented a home with a large yard. You could not walk through the yard without the fleas and mosquitos destroying your feet and legs. When the high humidity of summer kicked in they infested the house and moved in underneath the house so my foggers that i had using for WEEKS did not work.

At the end of my wits I went to a bug removal expert who casually pointed out lime repels insects. I bought a 40 lb bag of Agricultural lime and crawled under the house and laced it completely with lime then moved on to the yard. Having hardwood floors I lightly dusted the inside of the house, then vacated it for a coulple days. When I came back there were no more fleas, mosquitos, or red ants in the yard, not a flea to be found in the home and to my surprise dozens of cockroaches lying dead everywhere on the hardwood floors. The Lime attacks their bodies orifices drying and burning them to death. It's a hard clean-up inside but it was worth it, and cutting the grass spreading it around and removed the white powder on the grass. I hope this helps someone!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 8:44AM
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I want to try Steve Soloman's COP fertilizer mix..I found the pulverized dolomitic lime but can't find agricultural lime..Is this commonly available anywhere?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:20AM
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