Lime Application Rate Calculator

Easily adjust soil acidity with precision. Input your area, pH, target pH, and buffer pH to determine exact lime requirements. Ideal for gardeners seeking balanced pH levels for optimal plant growth. In pure lime.

Lime Application Rate Calculator


Lime needed per 1000 sq ft: lbs

Total lime needed: lbs


Don't apply more than 50 lbs per 1000 sq ft per application.

The calculator's accuracy is not assured. Users accept all risks and liabilities associated with its use.

Lime Application Rate Calculator

How to Calculate Lime Application for Soil

Soil pH is a critical factor that affects the availability of nutrients to plants, the activity of soil microorganisms, and overall soil health. When soil is too acidic, lime (a soil amendment made from ground limestone) is often applied to raise the pH to an optimal level for plant growth. This article provides a detailed guide on calculating lime application for soil using various methods and calculators, including the soil lime calculator, lawn lime calculator, and others.

Understanding Soil pH and Lime

Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Most plants thrive in a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. When the soil pH drops below 6.0, it becomes too acidic, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and poor plant growth. Lime is applied to neutralize soil acidity. The amount of lime required depends on the current soil pH, the desired pH, soil texture, and the type of lime used.

Types of Lime

  1. Agricultural Lime (Ag Lime): Ground limestone that is used to neutralize soil acidity. It comes in two types:
    • Calcitic Lime: Contains calcium carbonate.
    • Dolomitic Lime: Contains calcium magnesium carbonate.
  2. Pelletized Lime: A form of lime that is easier to spread and more convenient for home use.

Calculating Lime Application Rates

The process of calculating lime application rates involves several steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide using various lime calculators:

Step 1: Soil Testing

Before applying lime, conduct a soil test to determine the current pH and buffer pH. Soil testing kits are available at garden centers, or you can send samples to a soil testing laboratory. The test results will include recommendations for lime application based on the soil’s acidity level.

Step 2: Determine the Desired pH

Identify the optimal pH range for the plants you intend to grow. Most garden vegetables prefer a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Lawns typically thrive at a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Step 3: Use a Soil Lime Calculator

A soil lime calculator helps determine the amount of lime needed based on the soil test results and desired pH. Here’s a basic formula for calculating lime application rates:

Lime Needed (tons/acre)=(Target pHCurrent pHBuffer pHCurrent pH)×Soil Texture Factor\text{Lime Needed (tons/acre)} = \left( \frac{\text{Target pH} - \text{Current pH}}{\text{Buffer pH} - \text{Current pH}} \right) \times \text{Soil Texture Factor}

Soil texture factor varies:

  • Sandy soils: 1.0
  • Loamy soils: 1.5
  • Clay soils: 2.0
Step 4: Adjust for Lime Type

The effectiveness of lime is influenced by its type and form. Use a dolomitic lime calculator or a pelletized lime calculator to adjust the application rate:

  • Dolomitic Lime: Provides magnesium and calcium. Use if the soil is deficient in magnesium.
  • Pelletized Lime: Easier to spread but often more expensive. Typically, 1 ton of pelletized lime is equivalent to 1 ton of ag lime.
Step 5: Calculate Lime per Acre

To calculate lime per acre, use a lime per acre calculator. This tool incorporates soil test results and lime type to give a precise application rate. Here’s an example calculation:

Lime Needed (lbs/acre)=Lime Needed (tons/acre)×2000\text{Lime Needed (lbs/acre)} = \text{Lime Needed (tons/acre)} \times 2000

If the soil test indicates 2 tons/acre of lime needed, then:

2tons/acre×2000lbs/ton=4000lbs/acre2 \, \text{tons/acre} \times 2000 \, \text{lbs/ton} = 4000 \, \text{lbs/acre}

Step 6: Application Method

Distribute the calculated amount of lime evenly across the soil surface. For large areas, use a spreader. For smaller gardens or lawns, a handheld spreader or even distribution by hand is possible.

Tools and Calculators for Lime Application

  1. Soil Lime Calculator: Use this online tool by inputting soil test data to get lime recommendations.
  2. Lawn Lime Calculator: Specifically designed for lawns, accounting for grass type and soil conditions.
  3. Ag Lime Application Rate Calculator: Used for agricultural fields, taking into account large-scale farming needs.
  4. Dolomitic Lime Calculator: Adjusts for magnesium content in dolomitic lime.
  5. Pelletized Lime Calculator: Calculates rates for easier-to-spread pelletized lime.

Importance of Correct Lime Application

Applying the correct amount of lime is crucial. Too little lime won’t effectively raise the pH, while too much can make the soil too alkaline, leading to nutrient imbalances. Regular soil testing and careful calculation using a lime application rate calculator ensure optimal soil conditions for plant health.

Practical Tips

  • Timing: Apply lime in the fall to allow it to react with the soil over winter. Spring application is also effective.
  • Incorporation: Mix lime into the top 6 inches of soil for best results.
  • Watering: Water the soil after applying lime to help it start working.