Got soil woes? If so, you’re not alone. Whether you’re working on reviving an unhealthy lawn or your fields need some TLC after multiple growing seasons, you need to find a solution if you want to have any hopes for thriving plants.
For many people, this means either working with agricultural lime (sometimes referred to as aglime) or dolomitic lime.
These all-natural stone products have proven themselves to be to be invaluable to the agricultural industry, as well as in residential applications throughout the centuries.
Nevertheless, even though both materials have been around for a long time, there is still a lot of confusion about which should be used for what purposes and when.
Because we receive so many inquiries from customers like yourself, we’ve taken the time to assemble this definitive guide to choosing between agricultural limestone vs dolomite.
When to Use Aglime or Dolomite
Before you can even begin to think about whether agricultural lime or dolomite could benefit your soil, you first need to have an understanding of when these materials are actually necessary.
Aglime and dolomite both become useful when soil becomes too acidic. This typically occurs after exposure to acid rain, after frequent use of fertilizers and other chemicals or even after the soil has simply become deprived of important nutrients from years of planting and harvesting crops.
Additionally, because lime and dolomite are alkaline, they help to raise the soil’s pH back to a level that is conducive to growing plants. Regardless of whether or not you suspect that your soil may be too acidic, it’s always a good idea to have a sample of the dirt tested on an annual basis.
For larger, commercial fields, it’s generally advisable to send a sample off to a professional testing company for a readout. Homeowners however can usually get away with purchasing a home testing kit. Once you’ve concluded that your soil’s pH needs to be elevated, you should start considering the right solution for your needs.
Agricultural Limestone vs Dolomite: What Is It?
Mostly everyone in the agricultural industry has heard of aglime. The production and usage of agricultural lime is very simplistic in nature. Limestone is harvested from a quarry and then pulverized down to a very fine particle size.
The material is then spread atop or tilled into soil that has a pH level that is too low (acidic) for healthy plant and crop growth. The reasoning behind this is that limestone contains a high volume of calcium.
Because calcium is alkaline, it helps to raise the soil’s pH level and restore it to a balance. Agricultural lime is available in crushed form, pelletized form and in liquid form. It’s always a good idea to talk to a trusted industry professional about which type is right for your needs.
Dolomitic Lime (often referred to as dolomite) is slightly different from agricultural lime. This particular material is manufactured by way of crushing dolomitic limestone into fine particulate matter.
Because it is a type of limestone, you can count on the fact that it will also contain a very high calcium content. The alkaline nature of the material makes it possible for acidic soil to be returned to a more balanced state as the dolomite raises the pH level.
The difference between dolomite and regular aglime, though, is that dolomite also contains magnesium carbonate. You can generally expect dolomite to be 50% calcium carbonate, 40% magnesium carbonate and a 10% blend of other minerals.
his makeup is what allows dolomite to work on the soil’s pH while also introducing magnesium into the earth in order to offer nutritional value to plants.
Agricultural Lime Pros and Cons
You’ll find that aglime offers a number of benefits to users, but there are also things you should consider prior to use:
- Pros – One of the main reasons that people use aglime is that it has been so reliable throughout the centuries. It can be counted on as a natural, affordable, safe and effective means to solving the all-too common problem of acidic soil. Agricultural lime is very easy to apply, and although it may take a full growing season for the material to take full effect, results and improvements can be noticed almost immediately. The speed with which the material works will depend on the type of aglime applied, but in all cases, it is very effective. In addition to raising the soil’s pH, aglime also stimulates the growth and activity of micro-organisms that are beneficial to plants and help roots absorb important nutrients. Best of all, you won’t break your budget. Because limestone is so prevalent – and especially here in the northeast – it is easy to come by at very low costs.
- Cons – One thing to keep in mind when working with agricultural lime is that, depending on the type that you use, it could be a bit on the dusty side. Traditional aglime should always be applied when the forecast calls for calm and still conditions. Pelletized lime that is held together with a polymer-like material and liquid lime are both much less dusty, but tend to be more expensive. This may make these less practical for large spans of land. Talk to a trusted professional to determine which is right for your needs so that you apply your lime properly and spend only what is necessary.
Dolomite Pros and Cons
Like aglime, Dolomite usage can be very advantageous but comes with its own set of considerations:
- Pros – Like aglime, dolomite is able to very effectively raise soil pH. At the same time, it’s able to correct soil with a magnesium deficiency. For optimum health, sandy soil should have a calcium to magnesium ratio of 7:1 for sandy soil and 10:1 for clay-based soil.
- Cons – Dolomitic lime shouldn’t be applied where it isn’t needed. Introducing more magnesium to soil that isn’t deprived can actually cause a lot more damage than good, so use it wisely.
Agricultural Limestone vs Dolomite: Which is Right for Me?
When it comes to making the decision between agricultural limestone vs dolomite, there is no real black and white answer. Instead, the choice should be made based upon a thorough understanding of each material and knowing what is better suited to your needs.
A simple test of both the pH level and mineral content of your soil will tell you whether aglime will be sufficient or if you should consider dolomite.
Where to Buy Agricultural Lime and Dolomite in NJ
Braen Stone is the leading supplier of aglime throughout NJ and its surrounding areas. We have owned and operated our own local quarries for more than 110 years and take pride in producing the highest quality liming materials possible.
Our expert staff has the knowledge and experience required to provide you with input when choosing agricultural limestone so that you walk away feeling confident that you’ve selected the right material for your specific needs.
You’ll find that we offer agricultural limestone at competitive wholesale prices. Our agricultural limestone can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations throughout parts of NJ, NY, PA and CT.