lime for tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, Fl
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Question by kaygfox
August 25, 2010
Several nurseries have suggested lime in the soil to increase tomatoes' fruit yield, but my soil is 7.5 ph. What do you suggest? Thanks, Jacksonville, FL

Answer from NGA
August 25, 2010
Lime will raise the soil's pH so don't apply it if the pH is already high. Tomatoes like their soil pH around 6.0 to 6.8. Briefly, pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale, 7.0 is neutral; so the range which tomatoes prefer is slightly on the acid side. (By the way, that's the pH range at which most vegetables grow best.)

If your soil pH is too low (too acid), you'll need to add lime to the soil to bring the pH back up into the proper range. If the pH is too alkaline, you may need to add sulfur to the soil to lower the pH. Quite often you can lower the soil's pH with fertilizer applications or organic matter such as sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, cottonseed meal, leaf mold and especially peat moss. I'd try amending the soil with one of these products rather than using sulfur. It can take several months for the pH to change so work some organic matter into the soil now and then check the pH in the spring. I think you'll find an improvement in both the pH and the structure/texture of your soil.

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