Do any of you use LIME as an additive to your soil?

ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)May 16, 2014

Hi! I was advised today by our local Soil and Water Conservation Dept to add Lime for our Common Lilacs we're going to plant this weekend. She said to add 2 cups per shrub.

That got me to thinking....if my soil has no Lime, should I be adding that to the soil around my Golden Raintree, my 3 baby Sugar Maples, and my 2 Forsythias?

I mean if my soil has no lime, then why wouldn't all my plants need it? She said to be careful using it because it can burn your skin.

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I would suggest you do a soil test first to check your soil pH first. Lilacs prefer alkaline soils (not acid), so the lime is used to raise soil pH. My soil tends toward the acid (lower pH), and mostly my plants are acid-lovers, but do have a lilac bush. I lime the lawn but generally avoid the shrubs, never thought of liming directly near the lilacs. Interested in what feedback you get on this question though.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:16PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Hi. The woman at the Water and Soil Conservation Dept told me today that our soil is very low in acidity, and that we have no lime in the soil, which Lilacs need, she said.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:27PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

she also recommended a POOL pH test.. instead of her own professional level test ...

what is her CV.. curriculum vitae ??? ... she doesnt sound like a professional to me ...

throw NOTHING in the planting hole.. untiol after a PROFESSIONAL soil test ...

crikey.. you have planted HUNDREDS of things in the last few years... how many have died.. for lack of throwing lime in the hole ..

jimminey cricket .. the woman is a menace...

listen to me.. nothing in your yard is suffering due to poor soil that you know of .. so why start amending it now ... ????


ps: lime is an old time farmers trick.. they limed everything.. i think .. mostly because they had the lime ...

pps: will someone explain to ilove.. how much lime she would need to add to a planting hole.. to significantly change the exponential function of ph??? .. maybe what.. 3 or 4 pounds??? .. meaning.. a handful.. will barely do anything...

Here is a link that might be useful: one of the links says: neutral to alkaline soil (at a pH near 7.0) ... which mean its supposed to be low in acid ... either you are quoting her wrong.. or she is wrong ...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:36PM
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Read my response to your rhododendron shrub post before you do anything. Ken caught it - your soil conservation "authority" is wacko.

jimminey cricket .. the woman is a menace... . LOL!!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Oh for pity's sake. A lady who works for the soil and water conservation department may very well have been a receptionist, or the cleaning lady. The pool test kit was the icing on the cake.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:19PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I read your Rhododendron post, too.

If you're not acid enough for Rhododendrons, you're probably not acid enough to need lime for anything, really. In fact, my understanding is that most of New York State except the area near NYC and the far eastern part of the state has neutral to alkaline soil already.

You probably don't need lime at all. FWIW I grew great lilacs in Ohio on a pH of 6.2 (eastern OH where soils are acidic) and they did just fine - yet I could also get away with Rhodies as well.

This person you're talking to appears to have zero clue what she's talking about.

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Fri, May 16, 14 at 22:43

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:42PM
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My dad used to lime EVERY spring, back when he was spry enough to do so. It was a normal thing to do around here, the Lowes and Home depot have giant skids of lime now also. My soil is usually Neutral when I send in samples. None of my oaks were around when he was the one doing the yard maintenance/ gardening though. The only trees still growing here from my parents plantings are, 2 Blue spruce, and 2 Eastern white pine. Red maple had lightening strike it and the Tulip poplar had fungus compromise it's structural integrity.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:24PM
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I prefer to use ground oyster shell....its not as strong as straight up lime but it lasts longer in the soil plus it adds other minerals.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:30PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

I'm wondering if this is not about calcium for the soil, and not soil pH. I know our soils are very acid and low in calcium, despite the native stone being very calcareous. In short rather high annual rainfall, and lots of vegetation resulting in acidic leaf litter, leaches the soil. Therefore lime is often used to replace the calcium.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:58AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Some "lime" has Mg in it too...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:44PM
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