Increasing Soil Infiltration
How Can Gypsum Application to Soil Increase its Infiltration?
Gypsum increases the number of large soil pores by improving soil structure ( Miller, 1987). Moreover, soil infiltration is directly related to the diameter of soil pores. Consequently, soil infiltration will improve by increasing its gypsum content. Improved soil infiltration increases the amount of water entering it and being stored in it. This stored moisture makes crop plants more resistant when water becomes scarce and increases their yield. Research has shown that water from rainfall that is stored in soil increases crop yield even in irrigated lands.
Calcium function in soil
The calcium in gypsum helps to flocculate (aggregate) clay particles in the soil, which can improve soil structure and create larger pore spaces between soil particles. This, in turn, increases soil porosity and allows water to infiltrate more easily into the soil. When clay particles are dispersed or tightly packed, the soil becomes compacted and hard, which can limit water infiltration. In contrast, when clay particles are flocculated, they cluster together to form larger aggregates that create spaces between soil particles, providing pathways for water to move through the soil.
In addition to flocculating clay particles, gypsum can also improve soil structure in a number of other ways. For example:
1. gypsum can also help to reduce the surface crusting that can occur on some soils. Surface crusting can make it difficult for water to infiltrate into the soil, and gypsum can help to break up the crust and improve infiltration. It’s important to note that using gypsum by alone may not be sufficient to improve soil infiltration in all cases. In some cases, other soil management practices such as reducing soil compaction or increasing organic matter may also be needed to improve soil structure and increase infiltration.
2. Improving soil aeration: Soil that is too compacted can also limit the amount of air that can penetrate the soil. Gypsum can help to loosen the soil, creating larger pore spaces that allow for better soil aeration and root respiration.
3. Increasing soil aggregation: Gypsum can help to promote the formation of stable soil aggregates, which can improve soil structure and water infiltration. These aggregates can also help to reduce erosion by holding soil particles together.
4. Balancing soil pH: As mentioned earlier, gypsum can help to neutralize acidic soils, which can improve soil structure by reducing the toxic effects of aluminum and other elements in the soil.