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Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I ran across and article today about Gypsum.  It is in a regional agriculture publication that will go nameless in order to avoid embarrassing the guilty. Gypsum has been used and misused for many years as a soil amendment.  As all soil amendments, its use can have merit in certain situations.  It is not a one size fits all product by any means.  Gypsum is calcium sulfate.  It occurs naturally but is also an industrial by- products. 

The reason why it is an embarrassment it the the writer calls it a liming material.  Liming materials are used to alter soil pH.  Gypsum has no effect on soil pH.  It is useful because the calcium in gypsum can improve levels of soil calcium which is a primary plant nutrient.  Calcium is also important in maintain tilth especially in soils with high clay content.  An additional value of Gypsum as a soil amendment is that it contains sulfur.  Sulfur is also a primary plant nutrient.  With soil test levels dropping for sulfur, it becoming important to look for a reasonably priced sulfur source. 

Bottom line is that you should use gypsum as a calcium and sulfur source, but not as a liming material.  As always, consider soil test levels before applying any amendments. 

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