In the Garden With Lime
By Jimmy Speas

(From the Winston-Salem Rose Society Clippings, January 2000)

Lime is a primary ingredient for improving the soil environment and promoting plant growth. Lime neutralizes soil acidity, improves soil tilth, stimulates microbial activity, enhances the availability of key nutrient supplements and supplies the essential nutrients calcium and magnesium. No other amendment contributes so many benefits to the soil environment as lime. You should apply lime based on a current soil test.

Over-liming can reduce the availability of certain micronutrients. This problem is common on sandy coastal plain soils, but not a lot of worry in our area.

Lime recommendations are designed to maintain soil pH within a range of 6.0 to 6.5. A rate of 50 lbs./1000 sq. ft. is equivalent to spreading 1/2 cup around a plant to a distance of 18 inches. For best results, mix lime into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.

Apply the recommended fertilizers in April. Do not lime and fertilize roses at the same time. You should apply lime at least 2-4 weeks prior to non-organic fertilizing such as adding 10-10-10. Now is a great time to send in a soil sample for your rosebeds.

The Cooperative Extension Office has the forms and boxes and will even take your soil to the lab in Raleigh if you drop them off at their office on Fairchild Drive in Winston-Salem. If you need more information, contact the Cooperative Extension office at 767-8213.

*Note: This article written from information obtained through the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.