Liming orchard trees


Active Member
When is the correct time to apply lime for my orchard trees (Zone 6B - in the VA mountains)? I've got apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, & persimmons. I'm thinking most do best when pH is between 6.0 - 7.0 so that's what I normally shoot for. I do yearly soil samples / analyses every Jan or Feb, it's about time to take samples as soon as it dries out :)
Lime when you can, ideally you are able to work it in soil - but being in an orchard, that wont be possible. I usually spread in my orchard areas in the winter kind of like frost seeding. I figure that is about as close to bare dirt as I will get and the snow/rain will help it seep down.
Since it takes a while for lime to percolate into the soil and start working it can be applied anytime year-round.
My dad always said to fertilize the orchard in early spring right before green-up. I don't know if that was from a scientific study or just his own rule of thumb but it always worked well for us.
I just got my soil test back from a place that does soil test for orchards

Who do you use? I use both Whitetail Institute & the VT Ag extension, both are pretty good. I should have mention that I use fast acting granule lime & only have 3.5? acres between my orchard & food plots to apply so a spreader on the quad works fine for what I'm doing. Crazy up here in the mountains when I 1st bought the place, average pH was 5.3, now I'm running average of low 6s in my orchard & food plots but it takes maintenance to keep it that way... I've normally done my soil test in Jan/Feb & applied Lime in March, was just wondering if the fast acting lime would be wasted if I applied in Feb this year?
I had an orchard test done and the only places I could find to do those were a university and a couple state agencies
That's interesting, I just learned something new! I did not know that there is a different soil test for orchards, I always did the same test as fields.
I've used Whitetail Institute for my plots for many years but started using Lescos company (I forget who they send to) & the Virginia Tech Ag agency here in VA but truthfully I like the WI tests best. The other ones can do orchard & fruits though which is nice!
I fertilized my orchards yesterday with a ground drive spreader from the local COOP.I did save some in bucks so I can put some around the drip line