When to add lime

Naugatuck, CT

While getting my garden ready this year I noticed a lot of moss growing. I know this means I have to test the soil and most likely add lime, I just don't know when is the appropiate time. I don't want to hurt the plants which are periennals (magic roses- they are like a ground covering) and I really need them to come back next year.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I don't know that having moss necessarily means you need lime, I've had moss grow in some shady areas at my house and I definitely have alkaline soil and should absolutely not add lime. But if you're worried about it, there's no reason you can't get your soil tested now, then you can judge whether you want to try and add lime now based on how your results come out--if your soil is really acidic to the point where it'll be bad for your plants, then you'll need to add lime sooner rather than later, or if it's just a minor problem then you can hold off and let your plants get established first.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would not add lime to an area where plants were already growing, it can burn both the roots and foliage, especially in hot weather, to add lime to the soil, you do this in winter time to sweeten up your soil, but if your soil is really acidic, I think you need to do more than add lime, you need to get the soil tested first as Ecrane has said, and to alter the acid content of the soil you should try do it by using either manures or other forms of organic matter, lime is quite a harsh way of doing it when plants are in place, it is normally done on barren soil before you add plants and normally you would wait at least six weeks before you place seeds or roots/foliage plant matter, if you were really careful and no wind, you could perhaps get away with this, but it is best done when the area is being prepared rather when growing stuff, but maybe you guys have something that is lime that we dont have, we have a powdered form like ladies talk and even in a slight breeze, it can blow for miles, maybe you could make a mulch of say compost from the store and add the lime mixed into the compost and the water/rain can take it into the soil, but not lime straight from the packet/bag etc. hope you can find some other way, good luck. WeeNel.

Naugatuck, CT

Thank you very much for your suggestions. I will test the soil since the area is in full sun and not shaded at all. It's a 14 ft L by 2.5 ft W and the moss was practically covering the entire thing. Thanks again.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Wicked.....Most certainly a low pH then. If the area is wet and shaded, moss will grow on limestone. Except for a few areas, our state is known for its acidic soil. My lawn looked OK but when I had the soil tested at UConn, the pH was 5.7. That is on the good side too. Many areas are lower.

Another thing a soil test will tell you is what sort of limestone to use. I have an above optimum level of magnesium in my soil. That blocks plant calcium uptake--bad for tomatoes as it leads to blossom end rot. UConn recommended I use calcitic limestone--which has a lower magnesium content--than the dolomitic limestone more often seen.

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