Lime improves the health of your soil
Glencoe Lime - why use lime

Why use lime for soil health?

Lime improves the health of your soil by:

Essential Nutritional Calcium (Ca) for your plants

  • Calcium is a major nutrient that is important for plant growth. It is a highly important constituent of cell wall material, adding strength and stability to the plant. Calcium is also involved within the enzyme system in the manufacture of protein.
  • Calcium serves to mobilise other essential elements into the plant more readily.
  • Calcium deficiency causes stunted growth, restricted leaf development and paleness at leaf margins.

Reduced Soil Acidity

Soil acidity is measured in pH units. Soil pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil solution. The lower the pH of soil, the greater the acidity. pH is measured on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral.

Soil Acidity Table

This table illustrates how soil acidity multiplies, and a slight change in soil pH means a substantial change in soil acidity.

Acidic soils cause significant losses in production. In cases when your choice of crops is restricted to acid tolerant species and varieties, profitable market opportunities may be reduced. In pastures grown on acidic soils, production will be reduced and some legume species may fail to persist.

Degradation of the soil resource is also of wider concern and off-site impacts must be considered. Off-site impacts mainly result from reduced plant growth. Deep-rooted species required to increase water usage may not thrive, increasing the risk of salinity. Increased run-off and subsequent erosion has a detrimental impact on streams and water quality. Increased nutrient leaching may pollute ground water.

Increased Microbial activity

Low pH in topsoil’s may affect microbial activity, most notably decreasing legume nodulation. The resulting nitrogen deficiency may be indicated by reddening of stems and petioles on pasture legumes, or yellowing and death of oldest leaves on grain legumes. Rhizobia bacteria are greatly reduced in acid soils. Some pasture legumes may fail to persist due to the inability of reduced Rhizobia populations to successfully nodulate roots and form a functioning symbiosis.

Improved Soil Structure and Increased Worm Activity

Soils with unbalanced nutrients are often poorly structured. Clay soils with poor structure often have high concentrations of sodium (Na) with respect to their Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). The calcium in lime is able to replace sodium and hydrogen, making the soil more friable.

Lime tends to prevent heavy clays, clay loams and silt loams from running together when wet, which reduces crusting and clodding. This improved structure can result in the soil having a higher moisture holding capacity, better water penetration and improved aeration.

Earthworms are also affected by soil pH and some species will not exist where extremes of acidity or alkalinity occur.

Promoting Organic Matter Decay

The activity of micro-organisms in the soil is influenced by pH. Most activity occurs in slightly acid to alkaline soils. With increased micro-organism activity, improved soil structure and a well balanced nutrient content, the rate of organic matter decomposition is highly improved.

Also find out about Nutrient Availability and How lime beats Aluminium toxicity.

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    Glencoe Lime supply Limestone products, Dried Lime, Semi Dried Lime and Glenmag to the Agricultural Industry throughout Victoria and southern New South Wales

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