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Published by: api-3737745 on Oct 15, 2008
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What is lime? (Or liming material)

Lime is a material that is used in acid soils to raise the pH
and eliminate the adverse effects on plant growth and make the soil
condition favorable for plant growth.

In strict chemical term, lime is a calcium oxide (CaO). But, in practical term, a material containing the carbonates, oxides and/or hydroxides of calcium and magnesium used to neutralize soil acidity is known as lime.

# liming in the addition of lime materials in\u2026..
\u2022When & why liming materials are used?

Lime can be applied at any time between the harvest of
one crop & the planting of the next. The major constituents are the
availability of the lime & convenience of spreading. Lime is usually
broadcasted on the soil surface before tillage operations so that the soil &
lime are mixed to increase soil & lime contact.

Strongly acid soils are not productive for most crops. To
increase the productivity of acid soils, the addition of lime is essential for the
following reasons:

The addition of lime rises the soil pH

By the addition of lime, the problems of acid soil, i.e. Al,
Mn toxicity, & Ca, Mg deficiency etc are mostly

Lime monitors the physiological balance of plant
nutrients in the soil.
Lime increases the activities of N-fixing bacteria which
increases the availability of nitrogen.
Beneficial soil bacteria are encouraged by adequate
supplies of lime in the soil.
Lime reduces the loss of nitrogen from soils.

vii. A good liming program improves the physical condition
of the soil by decreasing its bulk density, increasing its
infiltration capacity & increasing its rate of percolation of

viii. Liming improves soil structure by increasing microbial

Liming influences root distribution of plants & plant can
distribute their roots in necessary zones to collect
necessary nutrients.

Lime reduces the uptake of heavy metals such as Cd, Pb,
and Ni etc.
Lime increases the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus &
sulfur by hastening the decomposition of organic matter.
xii. Lime adds essential calcium to acid soils for greater plant

xiii. Lime makes P more available. In acid soils, Fe & Al
phosphates are relatively insoluble. Liming reduces the
solubility of the Fe & Al & therefore, less P is held in
these slowly soluble & relatively unavailable forms.

xiv. Lime makes K more efficient in plant nutrition. When K
is plentiful, all plants adsorb more K than they need.
Lime reduces the excessive uptake of K as plants uptake
more Ca than K.

xv. Lime furnishes Ca & mg (if the lime is dolomite) for
plant nutrition.
xvi. There is less soil erosion following an adequate liming
\u2022What is liming material? Mention the agricultural liming
materials generally used in soil.
Liming materials:

The materials that are used in acid soils to raise the
pH & eliminate the adverse effects on plant growth and make the soil
condition favorable for plant growth are known as liming materials.

More than 90% of the agricultural lime used is
calcium carbonate (CaCO3), some are calcium & magnesium carbonate
and a much smaller quantity is calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide.

To a chemist, lime is calcium oxide. But, to a
farmer, an agronomist, and a soil scientist, lime means calcium carbonate
Name of the liming materials:

Soil acidity is commonly decreased by adding
carbonates, oxides or hydroxides of Ca & Mg, compounds that are
referred to as agricultural limes. The common agricultural liming
materials are stated below:

Calcium oxide:

Calcium oxide (CaO) is the only material to which the
term lime may be correctly applied. Commercially it is also known as
unslacked lime, burned lime or quick-lime, or often simply as the \u2018oxide\u2019.

CaO is a white powder, shipped in paper bags because of its caustic properties. It is manufactured by roasting/heating limestone (CaCO3) in a furnace, driving of the CO2

CaCO3(Calcite) + Heat
CaO + CO2
CaMg(CO3)2 (Dolomite) + Heat
CaO + MgO +2CO2

CaO produced in this method varies with its chemical
guarantee. The obtained CaO is about 95% pure, but purity ranges from
85-98%, depending on the source of liming material.

CaO is the most effective of all liming materials, with
a neutralizing value or calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE) of 179%,
compared to pure CaCO3.

Oxide of lime is considerably more costly than
limestone. It is also considerably more caustic then limestone and
consequently is difficult to handle, but it reacts much more rapidly with
the soil than does limestone.

Complete mixing of CaO with the soil may be
difficult, because immediately after application, adsorbed water causes
the material to form flakes or granules. These granules may harden due to
CaCO3 formation on their surfaces, which can remain in the soil for long
periods of time.
Calcium Hydroxide:

Calcium hydroxide [CaOH)2] is commonly referred to
as slacked lime, hydrated lime or builder\u2019s lime, because it is produced
by adding water to burned lime. The reaction is \u2013

CaO + MgO + 2H2O
Ca(OH)2 + Mg(OH)2

It is a white powder and is more caustic than burned lime. Like the oxide, it also requires bagging, preferably in waterproof bags.

It is used where a rapid rate of reaction is desired
and/or where a high soil pH is necessary. Like burned lime, hydrated lime
is quite expensive compared to limestone, and its use is confined largely
to home gardens and specially crops.

Representative samples of hydrated lime are generally
about 95% calcium & magnesium hydroxide. It has neutralizing
value(CCE) of 136.


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