Lime stabilization is a process where limestone (calcium carbonate) or quicklime (calcium oxide) is added to soil as a liming agent. The calcium ions in the lime react with the aluminum and iron oxides in the soil, forming insoluble compounds that are no longer subject to leaching by water. Lime provides calcium ions, which neutralize the H+ ions naturally produced during decomposition, thus reducing soil acidity. This process maintains or enhances soil fertility and tilth, aids in water penetration, and makes nutrients more available.
When soils become too acidic, lime is typically added to make them more alkaline. But what other benefits can it bring?
Improved Soil Structure and Reduced Compaction
The addition of the relatively small particles of lime not only increases a soil's pH but also enhances its cation exchange capacity (CEC). Cation exchange is a process where positively-charged particles in the soil attract and hold negatively charged ions or particles of metals, such as hydrogen and magnesium.
The mechanism helps plants obtain nutrients from the soil so they can grow healthy. Since lime stabilization increases CEC, it improves water holding capacity, which helps plants absorb more moisture. Lime also forms clay compounds with organic matter that increase soil aggregation, leading to improved water infiltration, aeration, and root penetration.
Increased Microbial Activity
The primary reason farmers and gardeners choose to use lime stabilization is to increase the alkalinity of their soils. Lime stabilizes soil by converting undesirable compounds in the soil into more stable forms that microorganisms can use, making them more productive and healthier for plants. This increased microbial activity is credited with many benefits for plants, including increased disease resistance and improved nutrient-uptake capacity.
Enhanced Nutrient Availability
Lime increases both the fertilizing value of the soil as well as its biological activity. When pH is improved by liming, calcium moves through the soil more easily, making it available for plant nutrition. The carbon and nitrogen in organic matter are converted to forms more available to plants by soil microorganisms enhanced with lime, thus reducing fertilizer needs.
Improved Nutrient Retention
Soil pH has a direct effect on nutrients and their availability to plants, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. At proper pH levels, nutrients stay available to plants for a longer time, reducing the need for frequent replacement.
Less Water Runoff
Improved soil structure can significantly reduce surface runoff because of greater infiltration. Simply put, improved cation-exchange capacity allows soils to hold on to positively charged ions, such as calcium and magnesium, significantly reducing water erosion.
The Bottom Line
Lime stabilization is used to increase the alkalinity of soils. It can be beneficial in several cases where soil acidity needs to be increased before planting or seeding. It can help grow healthy crops or a more beautiful-looking lawn. Contact a soil stabilization service near you to learn more.Share
16 November 2021
Hello, I’m Donna. Welcome. I am excited to share my passion for landscaping with you all. I regularly change the layout of my garden, depending on the plants I want to grow each year. I keep my garden beds full of flowers and edible plants to have a variety of vegetation to enjoy. I would like to use this site to cover all of those varieties and talk about the growing techniques and supplies that work best for each option. I invite you to visit daily to learn the information you need to help your garden grow. Thanks for visiting my site.