Quick acting vs pelletized lime?

ctjohnAugust 11, 2011

Local Agway store sells quick-acting lime in addition to pelletized lime. A analysis of my lawn showed that it needed 100 lbs of lime per 1000 sq ft.

My first question: is it worth the slightly extra cost of the quick-acting lime to get the pH in a more favorable range to encourage growth before the end of the season.

Second question: will the lime affect the fertilizer I intend to apply to newly sown over-seed, or the general September fertilization for the established lawn.

Many thanks for any advice.

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A few things about lime:

You never want to apply that much lime to your soil at one time. There are two types of lime, dolomitic and calcitic. Dolomitic lime should be used when magnesium levels are low, calcitic should be used when calcium levels are low. Calcitic is often labeled as quick-acting, but not always, as it is incorporated into the soil faster than dolomitic. Dolomitics maximum application rate is 40 or 50 lbs per 1000, calcitic is about 9-10 lbs per thousand. (It usually says so on the bag).

I am also in CT. Most of our soils are low in calcium and magnesium. When you had your soil test, what were your calcium and magnesium levels? What was your pH? Fertilizer and lime can interact if applied together. Usually you apply them two weeks apart. Also you don't want to apply lime at the time of seeding. Now would be OK if you are seeding in Sept. Lesco carries two lime derived products, Cal Turf Pro and Mag Turf Pro that are pretty reasonable in price, very consitent in particle size, and dissolve faster than tradition lime and therefore affect pH faster. I use it and it works well. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 9:34AM
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Thanks for the input tiemco. I'll try Lesco, not far from me in North Haven.
The soil test by the Ct Ag Station did not give actual values for Ca and Mg, just that in one sample Ca was high and Mg was high (pH 5.1) and in a different sample Ca was low and Mg medium (pH 4.2). I had put some lime down in mid summer (only 10 lbs per 1000 sq ft, not sure if dolomitic or calcitic - it was Agway's fast-acting lime), so that might have affected Ca and Mg somewhat. The recommendation of the Ag Station was for 100 lbs limestone for the first area and 200 lbs per 1000 sq ft for the other area. Not sure how limestone pounds equate with Cal Turf Pro pounds though.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 8:40PM
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That pH is pretty low, although I have seen lower. I would use either Cal-Turf Pro at the highest rate on the bag, or good calcitic lime at the high bag rate (I prefer Cal-Turf Pro, it works quicker). You can tell if lime is calcitic by the label. It should be mostly calcium carbonate, in the %90+ range. You are going to be liming every few months for a few years by the way, raising pH is a marathon, not a sprint. When you retest your soil in a year, use Logan Labs.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 9:12PM
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andy10917(NY 6a)

The Ca-Turf Pro works quickly because it contains plenty of Calcium Oxide. That's quick but quite harsh to the soil.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:39PM
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I'm not so sure about that Andy. I took a look at labels for calcitic and Cal-Turf Pro and the percent compositions are similar. I thought the reason for the faster action is due to the chelating agents in Cal Turf Pro which raise the solubilities of the product. Perhaps this isn't good for the soil, but at a pH of 5.1 maybe speed should be favored over gentle action.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 12:55AM
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