When should I apply lime?

By Grant Woods,

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Hey Grant! Huge fan of all you do!

I have a question about lime. I’m going to convert a powerline strip into a food plot this spring. I’ve already got my soil test back but I’m not sure the correct way to add my lime. I’d like to plant Soybeans this spring and know from the soil test I need to apply about 2 tons of lime. I’m planning on using pelletized lime. My questions are, (1) do i need to apply herbicide prior to lime application? (2) do I need to till in the lime or can i just spread it on top of the existing vegetation? (3) Should I go ahead and get the lime going now so it has more time to actually change the Ph level or wait until this spring?

Thank you,


I’m glad you took the soil test in advance and are planning ahead!

Pelletized lime is convenient but usually cost several times the amount of standard crushed ag lime.  There’s a brand or two of pelletized lime that’s actually ground much finer than ag lime and therefore reacts with the soil much quicker. If you are using one of these varieties (you know because they are marketed as a special product and cost more) then it shouldn’t be applied too early.  

This is because the finer ground lime reacts quicker with the soil (because there is much more surface or reaction area due to the finer ground).  This product changes the soil’s pH  quickly but the results don’t last as long as a course ground lime that basically functions as a slow release product.  Both product have value depending on the application. If using standard ag lime or stand pelletized lime (simply ag lime formed into pellets) then it’s best to apply approximately six months in advance. It will take this long for much of the lime to react and change the soil’s pH.

Most herbicides (like glyphosate) should be applied about two weeks before planting.  If you kill the weeds much sooner more will germinate and grow before the crop is planted.  If you are tilling the soil there’s no need to use glyphosate as it only kills growing plants. It won’t kill weed seeds, etc.

Enjoy creation,


December 20, 2015