Lime on pasture

Asked January 25, 2013, 12:05 PM EST

We have a problem with moss in our pastures/hay field. Should we apply lime to these fields. If so, should we apply it now(winter) and can it be put on without working it into the soil? We have about 10 acres in pasture.We also have a small tractor and spreader. Thanks, Ron

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

You can still apply lime if the soil is not so wet that driving over it is a problem. Topdressed lime will move into the soil about one inch per year. We do not recommend more than two tons per acre as a topdress application.

With that being said, I have a couple of suggestions. First take a soil test for acidity and nutrients as well. That way you will know for sure how much lime is needed to correct acidity issues.

In addition, the soil may not be acid. I have found over the years that moss will come into pastures regardless of the soil pH. I have seen extreme moss infestations on pasture soils that were above 6.2 pH.

Acidity may be a contributing factor but I am not convinced that it is the only cause. most mossy pastures have been overgrazed in the fall or the stand is thinning out and therefore the moss has open soil spaces to take hold. Leaving a residual of 3 inches in the fall will create a more closed canopy to reduce the moss as well as increase the vigor of plants in the spring.