Benefits of Gypsum
Gypsum is an excellent source of Calcium and Sulfur (in the form of sulfate) for the soil. Calcium performs a variety of functions through natural chemical reactions to aid in better soil structure. One of these functions is to improve aggregation, which allows for better water movement and root growth. The improved aggregation and water penetration also prevent crusting of the soil surface and erosion from water runoff.
Sodium is a positively charged ion that binds to soil and holds water. When Sodium levels are high, the soil is referred to as “sodic”. Sodic soil becomes waterlogged due to the attraction between water and Sodium. Calcium is able to replace Sodium that is bound to receptors found in clay. The Sodium then binds to the sulfate found in Gypsum to be washed out of the soil. This allows the soil to maintain healthy moisture levels while crops have better access to the available water.
Calcium must also be present for plants to absorb many other essential nutrients. This allows crops to efficiently use nutrients even when in nutrient-depleted soil. Along with increased nutrient usage, Gypsum acts as a buffer to correct both acidic and alkaline soils. This aids in providing a healthier growth environment, not only for the plant, but also for other living organisms which aid in different aspects of plant growth.
Though these are a few of the main effects of gypsum, there are many more that have not been discussed here. As a bottom line, gypsum is essential for healthy crop growth and soil structure.