View Full Version : Solu-Cal vs: Pelletized Lime

04-18-2008, 11:41 AM
Does anyone have any input on Solu-Cal in leau of using Pelletized line.
Literature says you use only 25% as much for the same results.

04-18-2008, 04:52 PM
No personal experience, a local supplier really talked it up earlier this Spring. More or less, it's 4x's the price, but you use 4x's less product. The 4x's less product right there saves you time (loading bags) especially on larger lawns.

I'll likely look into it for my premium lawns this fall.

Hissing Cobra
04-18-2008, 07:35 PM
It's a very good product that will raise the PH level within the soil much quicker than Dolomitic Limestone. To raise the PH level 1 full point, you need to apply it at a rate of 12 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. At that rate, a 50 lb bag will net you a little over 4,000 sq. ft.

turf hokie
04-18-2008, 07:39 PM
What is the max per application of the solu-cal? I know that dolomitic can only be put down at 50lbs per 1,000 any more does not do any further good. Is that true with solu-cal does the 12 lbs rate mentioned above max out the per app rate?

Hissing Cobra
04-18-2008, 08:50 PM
Here's some infomation on Solu-Cal. This information comes from R.F. Morse or West Wareham, Massachusetts. They are now a Certified John Deere Dealership and work in conjunction with John Deere Landscapes. We carry it at our John Deere location.

What lime does for topsoil, gypsum does for the subsoil-exchanging calcium for aluminum to form a negatively charged hydroxy anion. The resulting salt can be leached out of the soil solution.

If you have pH problems, you can apply lime or gypsum, depending on where the problem lies. Then just sit back and wait. And wait. And wait.

If you're a bit impatient for all that, apply Solu-Cal or Solu-Cal S, the two basic products that are represented for the Massachusetts-based R. F. Morse & Son.

Lime is a pretty inefficient approach, but Solu-Cal, can change the pH in as little as two weeks. Calcium carbonate and calcium oxide-forms of calcium that are insoluble-make up our product as they make up lime, only we have added an organic acid. We have made an insoluble nutrient soluble. It's working, it's very fast.

How fast? Superintendents are seeing results within two weeks.

Maybe it's greenup, maybe it's a fertilizer application they made recently that is being utilized better. The reason is that in both Solu-Cal and Solu-Cal S they're getting available calcium that the plant hasn't necessarily gotten in the past through the use of other forms of calcium. The plant never showed them what was happening because it was taking so long to happen. There is nothing magical about it - it's calcium. But it's calcium that is readily available to the plant.

The products are granular, and do have competitors on the market. Those rivals are expensive and not very effective. Don't be fooled.

Solu-Cal, a calcidic lime, is four times more effective than regular lime. If a superintendent is told to use a ton of lime per acre, he can do the same thing with 500 pounds of Solu-Cal. There are labor savings, storage savings, fewer empty bags to fool with, fewer refills.

It's not going to save anything budget-wise, since it's more expensive per bag-but you use less, and it balances out.

Solu-Cal S is calcium sulfate, the same as gypsum. It is also four times as effective. It's extremely good at reducing high levels of magnesium and sodium, in reducing compaction. Compaction is one of a superintendent's biggest enemies. Solu-Cal S will also give very available calcium to the plant without affecting pH.

There is also competition from liquid, sprayable calcium. Many superintendents are abandoning those products.

Feeding the soil is a more efficient way of entering calcium into the plant than spraying it; that's what we're hearing from superintendents all over the Southeast. The efficiency of our products is certainly there, and superintendents are getting results that they can live with.

In today's management strategies, calcium is seen as being more and more important. Having a very efficient way to get it is what we are all about.

Careful reading and evaluation of soil tests is critical in deciding whether calcium can help solve problems on greens, tees and fairways.


To maintain optimum growing conditions, apply five pounds of Solu-Cal per 1,000 square feet, or 200 pounds per acre once or twice a year. To adjust pH, apply 12 pounds per 1,000 square feet, or 500 pounds per acre once or twice a year.

With Solu-Cal S, apply five pounds per 1,000 square feet or 200 pounds per acre to maintain optimum growing conditions. Do this once or twice a year. The rates to correct high sodium or magnesium levels are 12 pounds per 1,000 or 500 pounds per acre--again, applied once or twice annually.

R. F. Morse & Son, Inc., also make two subsidiary products: Solu-Cal S with potassium nitrate and K-Cal, which is Solu-Cal with sulfate of potash. David Brown, superintendent at Cross Creek Plantation near Seneca, S.C., tried the former.

I have been looking for a potassium nitrate product for a long time, he notes, and we just put some of this material down after aerating our bentgrass greens. After just a few days, I can see a difference. Solu-Cal S flushes the salts out, and I think it just makes everything else that we've put down work a little better. We have been under a lot of weather stress here lately, he said near the end of a hot, humid August, but the greens really seem to be bouncing back after the treatment.

04-18-2008, 09:53 PM
We have been using Solu-cal for the last 5 years and are very happy with it. We sell it as a renewable service and apply the maintenance rate of 5# per 1000. This has proven to be a nice profit center for our business and has provided a noticeable difference on our customers lawns.

04-18-2008, 10:04 PM
I was also told that the Solu-Cal takes MUCH less water for it to activate.

I had GREAT success on the lawns I did last fall, even with the drought. It was the first year I did an analysis on each one and followed the recommendations. NEVER had the success whether on a pay yard or my own that I did last fall/ this Spring.

04-18-2008, 10:37 PM
I have used soil applied liquid calcium product at a site with an ESP of 24. After 3 apps. in 3 months it dropped to 14. This site had heavy clay and a high CEC. I was very happy with the sodium reduction.

04-19-2008, 11:20 AM
Thanks guys, great feedback as always.

11-17-2010, 02:09 PM
I'm taking a look at this product, and was wondering if there are any more users, opinions, or results to share.

11-22-2010, 01:08 AM
sol u cal is reacted with an acid, to make it much more readitly available.

it changes the soil ph very quickly at the surface, thus requiring 1/4 of the lime to immediately correct the ph, but gives a very short lasting effect. In other words, if your soil test calls for 40 lbs of calicitic lime, and you apply 10 lbs of solu cal, the soil is still in need of another 30 lbs. I find it beneficial when soil ph is very low and I need an imediate responce, so in this case above, I recommend applying 10 lbs of solu cal, follow immediately with 30 lbs of calicitic lime to get the total amount of ca to raise the ph. Since it takes ~ 1 year to get the lime down into the souil 3" deep, the solu cal will give an immediate but short term relieve, but give the calicitic lime time to start breaking down for the more long term relieve.

Just another note for people dealing with generally low ph soils. compare the amount of S toi Ca you apply in your fert. Any product containing any form of scu and sop, generally will have a much greater S, continueing driving the ph down. But of course, that gives you the opportunity to sell lime.

remember, A soil test will tell you how much lime to apply, and should tell you which lime to use. That's determine from the amount of mg in the soi

Kind of late, hope this makes sensel

lawn king
11-22-2010, 05:40 AM
I went over to solu-cal this season. Its a good product and i upsell a lot of lime apps, so it was a no brainer for me!

11-22-2010, 09:45 PM
I have used it for a couple years and have had great results vs. normal gran lime. And a LOT less bags to use, etc.

11-22-2010, 10:34 PM
I get the impression that Solu-Cal is not just a liming agent. It will change the pH but not as much as a Calcium Carbonate(CaCO3), but then the CCE of Solu-Cal is not as high. From a paper I read comparing it to some other liming agents, it only changed pH by about .5, while the others where about 1.0. Solu-Cal I get the feeling is more lke a supplement, especially good in the early summer as a precaution against the summer stress.

Another great thing about Solu-Cal is the pril size, I think above 60% or higher passes through 100mesh. This with aeration would change the pH in the top couple of inches very quickly, maybe as quick as three months?

What are your thoughts.

01-09-2011, 10:14 PM
I thought I'd just bring this thread to the surface. I created another thread on PHCA, and have been trying to get data on it, but with little luck.

First: there are three or four products with some type of PHCA. It was created by CSI Chemical which markets Nutri-Cal. They sell the their PHCA to AquaAid which sells Verde-Cal. The company who makes the PHCA for them sells some related version to Solu-Cal (who used to buy from CSI and who has CSI papers on their website) and to Old Castle which sells Calturf-Pro.

These all have about 1/4 the calcium and a CCE of 91%. The PHCA acts as a complexing agent or chelating agent, not sure and it might vary. It decomposes the CaCL faster which may be its advantage. However, it may inprove the plant absorbtion of all metal ions.

Finding tests or university researchers familiar with it seems very, very difficult. From a ph perspective the short term affects may be greater than lime. However, it may have advantages beyond acidity levels. Its effectiveness may depend on CEC levels, base saturation. Its long term effect may be different from lime. I don't know, however those are probably some of the questions.

01-10-2011, 03:57 PM
i have been using it for a good 5 years also and this past fall i used it with the fertilizer combonation and the results were fantistic also works great on newly seeded lawns . it,s a great product and worth the price.

01-11-2011, 01:02 AM
i have been using it for a good 5 years also and this past fall i used it with the fertilizer combonation and the results were fantistic also works great on newly seeded lawns . it,s a great product and worth the price.

Which one?

Did you do soil tests--texture, pH, buffered pH, CEC, base percentages--before application?

01-11-2011, 09:02 AM
we did not test the soil it was a late fall seeding for a friend i think we used 18-0 -2 with sol cal at 10 lbs 2 times 4 weeks apart we have before and after pics we also used 70/30 blue p rye mix
they are on facebook /coastal care if you want to see the results

01-11-2011, 10:52 PM
This webpage describes some of the activity of an agent similar to the PHCA in Solu-Cal: http://www.jhbiotech.com/plant_products/chelation.htm.

It gives these advantages of the chelation:

1. Increase the availability of nutrients.
Chelating agents will bind the relatively insoluble iron in high pH soil and make it available to plants.

2. Prevent mineral nutrients from forming insoluble precipitates.
The chelating agents of the metal ions will protect the chelated ions from unfavorable chemical reactions and hence increase the availability of these ions to plants. One example is iron in high pH soil. In high pH soil, iron will react with hydroxyl group (OH-) to form insoluble ferric hydroxide (Fe(OH)3) which is not available to plants.

Fe+3 + 3 OH- --------> Fe (OH)3

Soluble Insoluble

Chelation will prevent this reaction from happening and hence render iron available to plants.

3. Reduce toxicity of some metal ions to plants.
Chelation in the soil may reduce the concentration of some metal ions to a non-toxic level. This process is usually accomplished by humic acid and high-molecular-weight components of organic matter.

4. Prevent nutrients from leaching.
Metal ions forming chelates are more stable than the free ions. Chelation process reduces the loss of nutrients through leaching.

5. Increase the mobility of plant nutrients.
Chelation increases the mobility of nutrients in soil. This increased mobility enhances the uptake of these nutrients by plants.

6. Suppress the growth of plant pathogens.
Some chelating agents may suppress the growth of plant pathogens by depriving iron and hence favor plant growth.