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Re: Gypsum - Soil Conditioner


I may be driving you all crazy, but here is the theory on Gypsum and
Limestone additives to soils.  Clay particles tend to have many negative
ions (charges) on the surface of the particle.  Divalent ions such as
magnesium and calcium have two positive charges (divalent).  Therefore
divalent ions can make a bridge between two clay particles.  In the soil,
the effect is to make the clay clump into larger particles and this promotes
drainage (see my previous post if you can stand to read it).  It is clear
that divalent ions are good additives to clay soils.  Farmers have been
liming soils for years.  Now, the difference between Gypsum and Limestone is
the soil pH (is the soil acidic or basic).  In acid soils (most clays on the
East Coast and the South) limestone is best because the basic calcium and
magnesium carbonates neutralize the acid in the soil.  Alkaline (basic)
clays (found in the West and isolated areas in the East) should not be limed
as this will make them more basic.  This is where gypsum works best, as it
does not change the soil pH much.  In fact, it tends to increase the acid in
the soil.  Therefore, check with you local extension agent as to which
treatment is best for you particular soil.  Remember that limestone does not
move very fast in the soil, so it is best incorporated by mixing.  Changes
in the soil structure due to limestone take a long time to manifest
themselves.  Limestone is removed from the soil by acid rain which is
prevalent in the East.

Jim Anderson

----- Original Message -----
From: <Gailjo3@aol.com>
To: <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2000 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: Gypsum - Soil Conditioner

> Jan,
> Good idea, especially if the soil is already turned over
> or 'open'. Gail  ( I have heard that gypsum isn't the best thing to use
> there is excessive rainfall like
> the far Northwest states. What state are you in?)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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