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How to Reduce Moisture Content in Soil with Lime

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Lime is most commonly used by gardeners to increase the pH level of soils. But, when applied to wet soil, lime also acts as an effective drying agent. Mixed into the soil, lime chemically combines with the water in the soil and reduces its moisture content immediately. And over the next few hours, the drying action continues as heat from the chemical reaction further evaporates moisture in the soil. However, while lime will continue to dry soil for years, it's not known whether or not the effects are permanent.

Determine how much lime you will need to reduce the moisture content of your soil. To effectively dry soil, you need to add lime that equals two percent of your soil's volume. Calculate the depth (at least one foot deep for planting), width and height of the area. Then calculate two percent of that amount.

Spread the lime evenly over the soil.

Turn and loosen the soil to a depth of one foot. For small areas, a shovel will be sufficient. Larger areas can be tilled more easily with a rototiller.

Spread the lime evenly over the area.

Mix the lime into the soil thoroughly with your shovel or rototiller.


Things You Will Need

  • Rototiller or shovel

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.