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CULT: pH and lime

>I just recieved a bunch of Irises as a present. I was told they like
>acidic soil but that I should not use lime to lower the PH. What then
>should I use and how low should I try to make it (between 6 and 7 or

Scott, before we can advise you we need more information: 1) exactly what
kind of irises do you have?  There are many distinct types, with equally
distinct requirements.  The fact that "acidic soil" is mentioned, as well
as an aversion to lime, suggests they might be Japanese Irises.  2) Where
do you live, and what is your USDA hardiness zone?  3) What is the pH of
you soil now, without treatment?

That aside, you do have a fundamental error in your post--lime does not
lower pH, but raises it (makes soil more alkaline).  To lower pH, you would
need to incorporate acidic organic matter, such as oak leafmold, or use
soil sulfur.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374
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