Soil salinity and pH, which are among the very important factors in agricultural efficiency, will be discussed next.
Effects of agricultural gypsum on soil salinity
Water and soil salinity inflict considerable losses on agricultural and horticultural production. Among the dominant soil cations, sodium ions have a direct relationship with salinity; i. e., increases in soil salinity lead to higher sodium ion concentrations. The soils in the region are divided into the three categories of saline soils, saline-sodic soils and sodic soils based on the ratios between the ions present in the soil determined by soil salinity. The distinct characteristic of saline soils is reduced plant growth and yield and that of sodic soils is lower water infiltration rates into the soil, whereas saline-sodic soils exhibit a combination of these problems. Presence of salts (salinity) in soil decreases soil water potential. Compared to soils with higher salinity(that is, soils with higher amounts of salts), in soils with lower salinity water moves towards plant roots. Consequently, presence of salts in soil prevents water entry into plant roots.
Agricultural gypsum can be applied to remediate saline soils. This natural material, which is cheaper than other chemicals, must be plowed deep into the soil and irrigated heavily. This will move the elements in gypsum, which is somewhat water soluble, towards plant or tree roots. Finally, soil salinity around the roots decreases while absorption of various elements increases.
Effects of gypsum on soil pH
Soil pH is a very important soil characteristic because it determines the capacity for plant growth, availability of nutrients, bacterial activity and soil physical conditions. If soil is too acidic or too alkaline, maybe nothing will grow in it. There is a specific pH range required for each plant species to grow. One of the most important features of agricultural gypsum is that it adjusts soil pH into the ideal range for plants.