Preprint. Published in Practical Winery and Vineyard Magazine, July 1, 1999.
Copyright © 1999 Practical Winery and Vineyard Magazine.
Liming vineyard soils to increase soil pH and raise calcium levels has been practiced for centuries in the humid areas of the world where soils tend to be more acid. Today, liming is increasingly practiced in the semiarid central coast regions of California, where liming of vineyards was unheard of even a decade ago.
Past agricultural practices, such as the addition of sulfur, acid-forming nitrogen fertilizers, and organic soil amendments, have caused soil acidification. Previously, most of these lands were either open space, range lands, or planted to grain crops.
To avoid unnecessary expense and protect the soil from environmental degradation when lime is used as a soil amendment, growers must assess their vineyards carefully to determine the proper types and amounts of liming materials to add.