Dolomitic limestone or just dolomite, is used in gardens to alter the PH levels of soil and can make acidic soil usable for plants
Dolomite provides essential nutrients (read calcium and magnesium) to plants and helps balance the pH of the soil by changing acidic soil to alkaline and to match the plants’ needs. Its often used in conjunction with other fertilizers. It is essential at stages of plant development, especially fruiting and flowering. A balanced dolomite mix has 8 to 12 percent magnesium and 18 to 22 percent calcium. If your dolomite mix contains sodium, it’s best avoided as it will be harmful. Instead of using lime, gardeners will often use dolomite because it contains more nutrients.
What does Dolomite contain?
Dolomite contains calcium (18-22 percent) and magnesium (8-12 percent). It can also contain some trace elements too. If it’s a prepared fertilizer, it may have more essential minerals and nutrients. You should read the contents before purchase. It should not contain salt, as it can be detrimental to plant growth. You should use a soil tester to check the final PH level of the soil after adding dolomite lime.
Why use Dolomite?
While you grow plants, soils can be robbed of essential nutrients. A lot of plants intake calcium and magnesium. After the nutrients have been used, the soil becomes acidic. Also adding synthetic fertilizers and additives can also make the soil acidic. You will need dolomite to balance that PH to an acceptable level. Ideally, plants do well at a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. If your soil PH drops below 6.0, it’s time to raise that PH by adding Dolomite.
Which plants need it the most?
Plants that are flowering, seeding, or fruiting will need dolomite most. The seeds need extra calcium as they grow. Magnesium is also necessary for these fruits, seeds, and flowers. Magnesium also lowers the acidity of the soil by neutralizing it. Plants like tomatoes, corn, general garden flowers, bulbs, and tumor-based plants need these supplements the most.
When to use Dolomite lime?
When you can, unless it’s the frost or the fall season. Because upsetting the soil in these seasons is not a good idea. When your plant is happy taking a little dig in the roots, you can add dolomite lime to the soil. Another consideration is a relatively dry day so no lumps are formed while mixing. If it’s windy, the very soft powder will fly around so that can be a consideration. Do check with a PH meter, if PH is below 6.0, it’s time to add some of it.
How to use dolomite in your garden?
Dolomite can be added to beds, raised beds, planters, and everywhere there is soil for plant use. Make sure the soil and not too moist and there are no lumps. You can clean the soil of rocks or other debris beforehand. Pick a nice spot to empty soil from soil bags or existing planters. We recommend emptying the planters instead of adding them to an existing setup because it is not easy to mix without this step. Dolomite lime does not dissolve well with water and does not go down the layers. So empty the planters, make a heap, and test PH. Start with 1 pound per Cu-ft (for raising pH of 1 ) and mix thoroughly. Add a little more if required after re-testing. Mix dolomite with the soil and add any other missing part like peat or vermicompost, then fill it back after doing a final pH test.
While it is important to add regular NPK, vermicompost, and coco peat, it is equally important to measure your soil pH occasionally as adding these fertilizers will impact acidity. So adding Dolomite lime to the soil is quite important. Dolomite lime can help you instantly recover the pH levels of your soils and help plant growth. Without proper magnesium and calcium, a lot of plants and crops can fail and leave you puzzled. Unhealthy plants can also be seen in such soil. Also remember not to let weeds grow, you can read about killing weeds in your garden here. You can also read our soil preparation guide here or our planter preparation guide here for more information on those topics. We also have an excellent article: 10 tips for gardening newbies if you are starting out.