Tall fescue plants are adapted to medium- and fine-textured soils with a pH range from a minimum of 5.0 to a maximum of 9.0 (USDA-NRCS, 2009). An application of limestone usually is recommended when the pH of turfgrass soils drops below 6.0. Pulverized or granular (pelletized) dolomitic or calcitic lime is applied to tall fescue turfs to elevate soil pH and supply Mg and/or Ca. No more than 2.44 g/m2 (50 lb/1,000 ft2) of limestone should be applied to tall fescue turf per application (Savoy and Samples, 1999).

Granular S or acid-forming fertilizers, including ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate, are used to lower soil pH. The judicious use of acidifying fertilizers is encouraged to reduce the potential for fertilizer burn and to avoid a rapid drop in soil pH (Johnson and White, 1998). When using a highly water-soluble source of N, the product application rate should deliver no more than 5 g/m2 (1 lb N/1,000 ft2) (Cooper, 1995). When N fertilizers are applied at rates sufficient to cause rapid soil acidification, populations of earthworms and other decomposers may be reduced severely (Potter et al., 1985).


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