Should the garden bed or lawn be supplied with lime fertilizer or not, this is the question every hobby gardener asks himself. But just putting the lime on the garden soil is not a good solution. Because whether this needs such nutrients at all can only be determined by a soil analysis. If the soil is very acidic, lime fertilization is recommended. But when is the right time for this and what amount of lime should be used for fertilization. All of these questions should be answered below for a beautiful, well-tended lawn and a plentiful harvest.


  • Lime fertilizer makes acidic soil neutral
  • counteracts creeping soil acidification
  • Nutrients are better absorbed by the plants
  • The risk of silting up is reduced
  • faster warming of the soil in spring
  • different crops indicate acidic soil
  • too much lime, however, promotes the degradation of humus
  • in the long term, the soil will be depleted
  • the storage capacity for nutrients, water and air decreases

Effect of lime fertilizer

A lawn or a garden bed is usually limed if the soil here is too acidic, that is, the pH value must be below 5.5 to 6 pH for liming to be worthwhile at all. Because between 5.5 and 7 pH is the ideal value for a beautiful lawn. In the case of acidic soil, it is especially important to consider why it has an acidic value. Often it is also due to pent-up moisture, for example when the lawn or garden bed is predominantly in the shade, under a tree or in the shade of a house wall. Then regular lime fertilization is of no use, as the surface cannot dry out properly. In such a case, another solution may need to be found. Otherwise, lime fertilization has the following advantages:

  • Supplied nutrients are better absorbed by the plants
  • Storage capacity for oxygen and water is improved
  • a bed lying in the sun or a lawn does not become muddy so easily
  • the earth warms up faster in spring

Tip: If there are camellias, rhododendrons, summer heather or hydrangeas in the garden, you should avoid adding lime fertilizer in these areas, because these plants do not tolerate lime.

Soil analysis

Even if it sounds pedantic who has a soil analysis carried out, it is possible to determine exactly how much lime fertilizer one or the other bed needs, and whether lime fertilization makes sense in one or the other case. There are several ways to do this. If you want to test more often, it is worth purchasing an electronic pH meter from a gardening specialist. A simple test set for one-time use, which is also available in well-stocked specialist shops, is cheaper. However, if the pH value is to be determined precisely, which always varies from soil condition to soil condition, but which is not taken into account in the sets and devices from specialist retailers, then the soil should be handed in to a soil laboratory. The procedure is as follows:

  • every two to three years between autumn and spring
  • take soil samples from all surfaces
  • prick deep enough with a spade
  • Evenly remove soil from the hole with a spoon at the intersection
  • excavate about 25 cm in a bed
  • for a lawn, a depth of 10 cm is sufficient
  • Take about 10 to 15 samples distributed over the area
  • Mix these and divide them into an amount of about 400 grams
  • this is sent to a laboratory
  • In addition, there is information about what kind of bed it is

The laboratory needs the information on the utilization of the area so that a precise analysis can be made of how much lime a bed or lawn needs. The prices for this analysis are not very high and amount to around EUR 10.00 to EUR 30.00, depending on the institute and the scope. If the result of the soil examination is sent, a fertilizer recommendation is also sent at the same time. So the hobby gardener knows the exact information for the required lime fertilization.

Tip: The soil analyzes that have been carried out in recent years have shown that the garden beds are mostly oversupplied, but the lawns are undersupplied.

Right time to fertilize

The right time to lime the garden or lawn is in spring, while the ground is still slightly frozen. However, it should also be noted that the best effect is shown when it is dry. The sun should also not shine on the day the lime fertilizer is applied, and the sky should be overcast. If you missed the right time in spring, you can still apply lime fertilization in autumn on an overcast, dry day. In addition, the maintenance liming should take place on two dates a year, here the days in spring and autumn are ideal when they are about half a year apart.

Recognize acidic soil

If the soil is too acidic and the lime content is too low, then different plants grow that would never grow in a balanced soil with neutral pH. In this way it can quickly be seen that the soil needs lime fertilization. Pointer plants include:

  • different types of moss
  • Field horsetail
  • Hasenklee
  • Sand pansy
  • Little sorrel

In addition, growth disorders can occur in the garden plants if there is a lack of lime in the soil. These disorders are particularly evident on yellow discolored young leaves and dried-up tips of young shoots. Brown spots in the pulp of apples or blossom end rot in tomatoes also indicate acidic soil.

How much lime is right

If you want to be absolutely sure how much lime one or the other soil needs in your garden, you should definitely have the soil analysis carried out. In this way, the exact amount of lime is determined for the ideal effect. But even without a previous soil investigation, there are various guide values ​​that are relatively reliable. So the following guidelines apply:

  • Maintenance liming every three years
  • Replace lime lost through leaching or ingestion by plants
  • To do this, sprinkle carbonate of lime about 150 grams per square meter
  • this way the pH value and lime content remain stable
  • in sandy soil, 250 grams per square meter is required
  • in the case of loamy soil, even double the amount

But such general liming also harbors risks, because the clover, for example, is very lime-loving and likes to appear on lawns that contain a lot of lime. In this way, the clover plants can spread faster on a limed soil than the desired lawn. Tap water is also often used in gardens because this is easier than collecting rainwater. In very hot months there is often nothing left of the rainwater. But this tap water also contains lime, the amount of course also depends on the municipality or city concerned. But there is always some lime in it. This means that the poured surface is regularly supplied with lime by pouring it; additional lime fertilization would not do any harm, but it would also be of no use. For the reason it should

Tip: In the case of maintenance lime, half of the lime should be spread over two dates within six months and not all of the lime at once on a single date.

Recommended lime fertilizers

There are different types of lime fertilizers that are commercially available for purchase. But not all species are also suitable for the hobby garden. Lime and lime fertilizer are calcium compounds. This occurs naturally as carbonate of lime. This lime in sidiments and different types of rock has the chemical name CaCO3, calcium carbonate. Most of the commercially available lime fertilizers are based on this extracted raw material. The prices for the calcium carbonate recommended for local gardens, on which the lime fertilizers are based, are all in the same range and are not too high for a normal plot of land. However, the prices for the lime fertilizers used in agriculture are much higher because more lime has to be used.

Rock flour

This lime fertilizer is a mixture of potassium, magnesium, various trace elements and of course carbonate of lime. However, the composition can vary greatly, depending on the original rock used and the origin of the stones. Compost can, for example, be enriched with the rock flour before it decomposes, in which case there is no need to lime the garden soil if the compost is regularly subjected to this.

Garden lime

For light to medium soils, garden lime is usually used, which is hard-to-dissolve, ground limestone. Here, too, the carbonate of lime was only mixed with a very small amount of magnesium. Due to its effect, it is particularly suitable for maintenance liming due to its low magnesium content.


Lime marl consists of up to 30% clay, the rest is carbonate of lime. This lime mixture is particularly recommended for light sandy soils, as the storage capacity can be extremely improved here. The clay content also contributes to the stability of the pH value of the soil.

Algae lime

Algae lime is not lime extracted from stones, but coral deposits from red algae. But this also consists of 80% carbonate of lime, is rich in trace elements and has a high magnesium content. It is also advisable to buy this algae lime in order to provide the plants with optimal soil.

Tip: Hobby gardeners should not buy slaked lime or quicklime, nor should they use it in the garden, as they are absolutely unsuitable for this and can also be dangerous for laypeople to use.

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