Lime / Calcium

CALCIUM (Ca) helps to reduce soil acidity by raising soil pH.  When soil pH is out of balance, either too high (alkaline) or more commonly too low (acidic), essential nutrients can become tied-up within the soil and will remain unavailable to plants until pH conditions improve.  Balancing soil pH helps to stabilizing soil nutrients and optimize the availability of applied fertilizers.  Maintaining proper soil pH can aid in the availability of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur and reduce the availability of aluminum.  Proper soil pH helps stimulate the activity of soil organisms and improve soil structure.

Benefits of applying Lime:

  • Lime supplies calcium to the soil and reduces the acidity (pH)
  • Improves soil structure by stabilizing soil nutrients, which can help reduce soil erosion
  • Reduces the availability of aluminum and manganese
  • Increases the availability of applied fertilizers
  • Increases the amount of available phosphorus, organic nitrogen, sulfur and molybdenum
  • Enhances the activity of soil micro-organism

Our selection of liming materials include:

  • Hi-Cal Lime
  • Aragonite (Oyster shell flour)
  • Crab Meal

An annual application of lime to turf / pasture grasses, orchards, vineyards, garden beds and agricultural soil is extremely beneficial to help maintain optimal soil pH for crop production. The pH of ones soil will have a profound affect on the availability of nutrients. When soil pH is out of balance, either too high (alkaline) or more commonly too low (acidic), essential nutrients become tied-up within the soil resulting in nutrient deficiencies. A soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal for most garden crops and will ensure essential nutrients are available to plants in soluble forms. Soil pH will also influence microorganisms within the soil that convert organic nitrogen from the ammonium form of nitrogen to the nitrate form that plants use.

A decrease in soil pH, know as soil acidification, is a natural process that is accelerated by crop production practices, especially the use of heavy tillage and nitrogen (N) based fertilizers.  Soils with low pH levels, below 5.0, contain higher levels of available aluminum and manganese that can become toxic to plants which may inhibit growth and greatly reduce yields.

It is important to determine the ideal soil pH for the intend crops that you are growing.  For example; blueberries, strawberries and brambles prefer acidic soils and in most cases do not require lime.  Most garden crops grow well in soil with a higher pH, between 5.5 and 6.0; however they perform at their best in a soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5  It is important to consider all factors before applying lime, especially soil texture, crop type to be grown, and soil analysis.

Liming materials have very limited movement into the soil without incorporation.  Tillage increases the effectiveness of all lime materials by mixing them into the rooting zone.  It is important to think about how the lime will be incorporated into the soil, as well as how deep the soil is being plowed under.  If you plow to a depth of 8 inches, it takes twice as much lime compared to a field that is plowed to a depth of 4 inches.  Incorporating your liming materials to a depth of 2-4 inches is usually sufficient. 
Lime can be applied at anytime of the year and is best if applied prior to planting crops.  Lime is most effective when applied during the late autumn or early winter as limestone takes several months to properly react and correct soil acidity.  Applying lime about 4 - 6 months in advance of seeding or transplanting your projected crops will ensure it has time to take effect.  If you are applying lime in the fall, it is necessary to incorporate the lime into the soil to prevent surface runoff.  Any crop that is pH sensitive should be limed in the fall prior to planting.  Annual light applications are very effective in areas where permanent sod is maintained.

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