Lime is a wonderful choice for a stabilizer when you have unstable soil. It's easy to find and easy to mix in. However, it will change the characteristics of the soil in more ways than one, and these changes have an effect on how you handle your landscaping and gardening. Whether you're applying the lime to the soil in a residential backyard or around the buildings in an office park, the changes are the same.
Amendment Needs May Change
Chances are, you're not going to leave the soil empty; you're going to plant something there — anything from small trees in a parking lot to a full garden at home. If your initial tests on the soil before adding the lime showed certain pH values and nutritional profiles, you'll have to test again a few weeks after the lime has been added. You need to know the new pH and to find out if the nutritional profile of the soil has changed due to the increased drainage that the lime stabilization can provide.
Plant Varieties May Need to Change
If the pH changes, the plants you put there might need to change. The pH is the acidity or basicity of the soil, and soil that is too acidic or basic (or even too neutral) can make the wrong types of plants suffer. Lime will make the soil less acidic and more basic, and you have to be sure that whatever you plant there can handle the drop in acidity. You might not have to give up on entire species, but the cultivars may change. Remember that plants have ranges that they can tolerate, so you may have to change some plants but not others.
Watering Habits May Need to Change
Modifying soil with lime and making the soil more stable can also change how well-drained the soil is. If you add lime to clay soil, you'll see a marked increase in drainage. That influences how much water you have to give a plant because, depending on what the soil was like before, the water may no longer stay trapped in the soil around the plant, or it could absorb even better. You don't want to accidentally overwater or underwater the plants.
If you have a regular landscaping crew, let them know about the soil stabilization and the exact type of lime you used. That will allow them to adjust how they take care of the landscaping, either what's already there or what they plan to install.