Gypsum as a soil conditioner

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Correcting materials used for soils with high magnesium or sodium can basically be divided into two main groups. The first group –e.g. gypsum- add “calcium” ions to soil solution directly, and the second group –e.g. various acids or sulfur- reduces soil acidity which results in the dissolution of lime in the soil and release of its calcium ion. The use of gypsum corrects some other chemical, physical, and even biological characteristics of the soil; so the consumption of gypsum must be prioritized and is expected to result in a significant increase in growth and yield in areas where it is deemed necessary according to the respective tests.

Besides, gypsum is also effective in improving unfavorable conditions resulting from boron toxicity. Leaching with ample water is among the soil remediation correction methods in soils suffering from toxic boron levels. The use of gypsum for leaching can help reduce the water required for leaching up to one-third of the required amount in some cases given that these situations usually occur in areas with water limitations. Gypsum has some or all of the following advantages directly or indirectly:

  • Sodium ratio modification in the exchange and solution phases
  • Increased leaching efficiency and faster soil salinity reduction
  • Better soil permeability and aeration
  • Reduced PH in sodium-rich soils
  • Prevention of soil crust formation on the surface of the soil after irrigation
  • supply of the highly-consumed nutrients of sulfur and calcium
  • soil texture improvement and strengthening
  • reduced clay soil density and soil’s bulk density
  • increased water retention, improved root penetration, and increased irrigation efficiency of the soil
  • modification of the calcium/magnesium ratio in the exchange and solution phases
  • better nutrient absorption by the plant
  • increased biological activity and growth in the soil, particularly in the case of earthworms

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