View Full Version : Lime Spreading

09-04-2007, 01:35 PM
I just put another batch of lime on a small woodland plot the other day. This spring I spread pellet lime in my Earthway m30 which worked very well. This time around though when I stopped at TSC they were out of pellet lime....so I bought 10 bags of hydrated lime.

The hydrated lime was ground VERY fine....I dare say finer than talc powder and there was no way it was going to spread in a broadcast spreader. We had an old Scotts drop spreader sitting around so I thought I'd give that a try....since I really didn't wanna spread by hand.

It worked great. It gives nice even coverage and it never clogged at all. I also really liked being able to see where I had been with hydrated vs pellet and not wasting lime because it broadcast out past the edge a little.

The hydrated lime was also cheaper than pellet....

Some bad things...the drop spreader only held 25# of lime at a time which meant lots of refills...and its not very wide so this obviously is only good for small plots. The one I did was 1/4 acre and it didnt take all that long with 2 people.

Also the old one I used was made of all metal(even the wheels)....maybe new ones are not as well built. Since these things are meant for use on lawns it probably wouldnt be good unless your plot was already smooth from previous ground work as mine was.

Just thought I'd mention it. For small plots 1/4 acre or less it could be an option for some if you have one of these collecting dust somewhere.

I think you can buy larger versions than mine which might hold an entire 50# bag for around $50....not too bad if theyre built well.

I also thought a person could maybe hook 2 of them together somehow and rig them up to pull behind an ATV. Which would give you a spread path the same width as the ATV and hold 100#....with that maybe up to 1/2 acre plots would be feasible.

If you have someone who is a garage sale addict....have them watch for them. At garage sale prices it could be worth it.

Still not ideal and nowhere near as good as a real lime spreader....but it can be done if youre on a budget and are patient.

09-04-2007, 02:22 PM
Shape of the hopper is everything when spreading fine ground lime. We stopped trying to run lime through the spreader . Now we just cut the bag open and fling it around. 3 guys can go through 2000 lbs in 15 minutes. Larger plots obviously are more work, but you do what you can at remote locations.

09-04-2007, 07:07 PM
All lime is not created equal. Hydrated Lime is Calcium Hydroxide Ca(OH)2. Which is basically the result of heating Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) to the point it releases Carbon Dioxide and leaves CaO , Calcium Oxide. H2O is added to this to create a stable fine powder.

If you have any left, put some water on a hand full and see what happens. It will basically turn to concrete. Hydrated Lime is used in mortar and plaster and other cements to increase the rate at which it hardens.

What happens to soil pH is the Ca(OH)2 , recarbonates and mixes with carbon dioxide in the solid to create, calcium carbonate and bicarbonate. Which is good for pH because the calcium carbonate then can break down into exchangeable Ca++ to displace H- ions and increase the pH.

That said, the Calcium Hydroxide is not as stable as normal ag lime or pellet lime and can revert to insoluble forms vs react with H- to improve pH. On the plus side it will react much quicker to raise pH than pure CaCO3, but with what goes up, must come down and studies show the benefit of hydrated lime to increase pH at a faster rate than normal CaCO3, only last 2 months. After 2 months the impact of pH is less than CaCO3 due to its higher potential for leaching than CaCO3.

Depending on the compound it can also burn skin and be inhaled.

For small plots where a quick jump in pH is needed, it should be OK but I'd be careful with it.

The lime in that "groundbuster" lime spreader add looks like hydrated lime since its so fine and white. Not sure though.


Central Sands
09-04-2007, 09:19 PM
I picked up a used Scotts spreader 4 years ago and have used it to spread over 8,000 lbs of pulverized lime without any trouble. This spring I spread 3,000 lbs on a 1/4 acre plot in about 45 minutes, the spreader I bought is about 3 feet wide and holds about 100 lbs at a time. Just load onto the ATV racks as many bags as it can handle and drive around stopping to fill up whenever the spreader is empty.

The pulverized lime goes for $2.49 a 50 lb bag while the pellitized lime was $3.49 for a 40lb bag.


09-05-2007, 07:55 AM
It will basically turn to concrete.

amen to that....it is still on the spreader wheels

I honestly didn't know what I was buying...I was disappointed they were out of pellet lime. With my work schedule I had to get something accomplished so I tried the hydrated. I was pretty surprised how fine it was. It poured into the spreader almost like thick water.

I hope it does the plot some good.