Soil Amendment Benefits
Gypsum, anhydrite, and limestone are recognized soil amendments applied to promote healthy soils. ACG Materials has high grade gypsum, anhydrite, and limestone solutions specifically designed for agricultural application.
Natural gypsum can correct soil issues that many other soil amendments can’t. Gypsum is used to balance soil properties, correct aluminum toxicity, leach harmful salts from the root zone, improve water infiltration and retention, improve soil structure and reduces soil crusting, improve nutrient uptake and is a bio-available source of elemental calcium and sulfur.
The Many Benefits of Gypsum, Anhydrite, and Limestone:
Corrects Aluminum Toxicity – Gypsum binds with aluminum to move it deeper in the soil column, it and in turn, temporarily corrects pH levels. Aluminum toxicity can occur in soils that have large amounts of aluminum containing minerals. Excessive amounts of aluminum can inhibit root development and limit crop growth.
Improved Soil Structure – Gypsum and limestone provide calcium, which can flocculate clay soils and reduce the swelling of smectite and open pore spaces improving the penetration of water, air, and roots into the soil.
Increased Water Infiltration – As the soil structure improves, the water infiltration rate and hydraulic conductivity of the soil increases.
Crust Prevention – Using gypsum and limestone to increase the electrolyte concentration of the irrigation water can prevent depositional crusts on soil surfaces, which can adversely affect water infiltration rates and seed emergence.
Better Moisture Retention – Gypsum and limestone help the soil take in and retain moisture, improving the soil’s water-use efficiency, which is especially critical in times of drought.
Fertilization – Gypsum supplies bio-available calcium and sulfur, elements vital to proper plant growth and development.
Enhanced Nutrient Absorption – The calcium supplied in gypsum and limestone is essential to the biochemical mechanisms by which most nutrients are absorbed. It regulates the balance of micronutrients in grass plants and optimizes the calcium to magnesium ratio in soils.
Environmentally Safe – Lawn and garden gypsum and limestone are inert and non-toxic.
Irrigation Effect – Controlling soil salinity with appropriate water management is especially important because soils with high sodium content perform poorly compared to calcium rich soils. Many irrigation sources contain excess salt, which in turn increase the salinity of soils.
Soluble Application – Soil performance can be improved by including gypsum and limestone with irrigation water because the calcium found in those minerals compete with other applications for binding sites in the soil.
Manure Treatment – Gypsum can be mixed with animal waste to combine with ammonium (NH4) to form ammonium sulfate to prevent loss of nitrogen and thus reduce odors. Ammonium sulfate is odor free.
Benefits of Gypsum, Anhydrite, & Limestone
Limestone and gypsum have been used for centuries as an additive to enrich the soil with missing minerals and correct pH values. Gypsum can be used for all crops that requires calcium, especially on alkaline soils where they cannot withstand the pH adjustment from limestone. While we normally associate gypsum as a soil amendment, it’s an excellent source of elemental Calcium and Sulfur.
Crops that Benefit from Gypsum, Anhydrite, & Limestone
Alfalfa – Gypsum is a source of sulfur. Alfalfa needs 25-50 pounds per acre of actual sulfur to make a good crop. Another report indicated that it helped grow stronger healthier stems.
Alliums – increased growth rates and bulb size
Almonds – increased growth and yields
Barley – increased yields
Citrus – significantly reduced root rot caused by Phytophthora parasitica, reduced salinity effects of salts and improved plant growth (citrus is salt sensitive)
Coffee – increased yields
Corn – 25% higher yields, corn needs about 25-50 pounds of actual sulfur per acre that gypsum can provide
Cranberries – increased yields, less disease
Desert Salt Grass (Distichilis spicata var. stricta) – gypsum increased growth rates and increased biomass, corrected nutrient imbalances due to sodium.
Ginseng – did not affect tissue calcium but a significant increase in both shoot growth and root dry weight.
Grapes – in California gypsum has been used for over 25 years. Used by many wineries to increase production.
Lawns – 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet or one ton/acre
Lilium sp. – reduced upper leaf necrosis (associated with a calcium deficiency)
– Marsh vegetation and wetlands remediation – had significantly higher dry matter production than the control without gypsum
Papaw – increased total lateral branching by 60-73% as compared to unamended control and total dry matter accumulation and net uptake of N, P, and K per tree was 100% greater
Peanuts – 600-880 pounds per acre have been used
– The peanuts grown had higher calcium content but less zinc. All peanuts grown in gypsum treated fields had less Aflatoxin produced on them when compared to unsupplemented peanuts.
Legumes – require lots of sulfur to form nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots.
– Gypsum has been particularly useful to peanut farmers and to some extent to watermelon farmers.
- Significantly reduced incidence of internal brown spot and soft rot, in several locations around the country.
- The best control of the disease of common scab of potato (S. aureofaciens) was obtained by soil application of gypsum (25 g and 12.5 g/pot), and a corresponding increase in yield
- The mean tuber yield response due to sulfur addition was 1.1 t/ha. Addition of sulfur (S) by gypsum was effective in overcoming the sulfur deficiency symptoms and in increasing the sulfur concentration in the leaves.
- One study found that growers using 500-1,200 pounds of gypsum per acre had potatoes with stronger cells, they were more uniform in appearance, a decrease in internal brown spotting, and increased storage time
Strawberries – increased yield and reduced soil disease
- earlier ripened fruit with larger fruit
- the fruit also had higher levels of some nutrients
- worked better in reducing blossom end rot as compared to other calcium sources calcium chloride (CaCl2), calcium nitrate (Ca(NO3)2,), etc.
Raspberries – it controlled Phytophthora root rot better, significantly increased plant growth, fruit yield, and root growth compared to other methods and control
Sugarcane – increased growth rates
Vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, kale and onions have all been shown to benefit from gypsum
Wheat – increased yields
Wheatgrass (Agropyron elongatum) – gypsum increased growth rates and increased biomass, corrected nutrient imbalances due to sodium.
Plants that can benefit from gypsum include:
Flowers – clematis, lilacs, irises, delphiniums, alyssum stock, candy-tuft, nasturtium, tulips, gladioli, roses, camellias and gardenias
Landscape plants – evergreens, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, pin oak, sweet gum and flowering dogwood
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi – increased colonization and growth rates of these beneficial fungi
Here is a list of useful and informative articles that you may find helpful in determining the best soil amendment for you to apply in your specific location and situation.
“Gypsum: Essential for Maximized Water Use Efficiency and 40 Other Purposes” – Dr. Brent Rouppet, Water Management, May, 2008
“Calcium and the soil have a rocky relationship” – Garn Wallace, Wallace Laboratories, BIOFILES, Summer, 2010
“Effect of Gypsum on Decreasing Subsoil Acidity” – Richard McFarlfn, University of Georgia, December, 1990
“Gypsum Influences on Soil Surface Sealing, Crusting, Infiltration and Runoff” – Dr. Darrell Norton, October, 2007
“Gypsum as an Agricultural Amendment” – Liming Chen & Warren Dick, Ohio State University Extension, 2011
CALCIUM SULFATE – Cal-CM Plus Calcium Sulfate is a blend of two forms of Calcium Sulfate: Anhydrite and Dihydrate (gypsum).
Cal-CM Plus + Calcium Sulfate (available in mini or standard sized prill)
- Supplies essential calcium for cellular strength and plant vigor.
- May make 25%-96% more water available to plants depending on the soil type and soil management practices while simultaneously improving drainage through particle flocculation.
- Reduces excessive runoff and erosion.
- Fights nutrient tie-up, making many essential nutrients more available.
- Reduces and retards soil cracking and crusting
- Improves, amends and reclaims soils high in destructive sodium and magnesium that is present in low quality irrigation water and soil.
- Helps improve soil structure and decreases compaction, providing optimum air and water availability for plant root growth.
- Enhances positive bacterial action and discourages plant diseases related to poor soil aeration.
- Performs as an amendment, conditioner and fertilizer.
Cal-CM Plus + Limestone (available in mini or standard sized prill)
- Cal-CM Plus Limestone products can be widely used to improve the fertility and functioning of productive soils as follows:
- Adjusts low pH levels.
- Neutralizes acidic soils, improving solubility of many essential plant nutrients influenced by soil pH.
- Features Rapid-Releases technology. The finely ground, uniform particle size is more rapidly released into the soil, which increases the availability of nutrients.
- Time of Application
- Causes a reduction in aluminum, which may be toxic and restrict root and associated top growth. Restricted root growth also reduces drought tolerance.
- Allows for more efficient use of fertilizer-supplied phosphorus (P). Aluminum, particularly at a low pH, is chemically active and combines with fertilizer phosphorus, causing it to become insoluble.
- Reduces leaching of potassium. On the soil’s exchange complex there are a limited number of sites that can hold nutrients such as potassium. When these sites are occupied by strongly attached aluminum (low pH), any potassium added in fertilizer is more susceptible to leaching.
- Supplies calcium, an essential plant nutrient.
Cal-CM Plus + Iron (50%) (available in standard sized prill)
- Cal-CM Plus Calcium Sulfate + Iron (50%) is an all natural plant food source, with benefits that include the following:
- Contains 50% Iron, which promotes deep green color in turf and improved root structure.
- Essential in maintaining good levels of chlorophyll, which promotes optimum plant growth and reproduction.
- Contains 21% Calcium, for plant strength and soil conditioning.
- Improves soil structure, making water more available to plants.
- Promotes strong plant cell wall structure for better transport and retention of other elements to the plant.
- Contains 16% Sulfur, an essential plant food for production of protein.
- Promotes the development and activity of enzymes and vitamins.
- Helps in chlorophyll formation.
- Improves root growth and seed production.
- Helps with vigorous plant growth and resistance to cold.
Bulk ag fines products
There are several natural soil amendments that are available for bulk purchase and application.
Our bulk ground gypsum and limestone products are:
- Solution Grade Gypsum
- Solution Grade Anhydrite
- Ag Grade Gypsum 1/4″ Minus Ag fines
- Ag Grade Gypsum 1/8″ Ag fines
- Ag Grade Anhydrite 1/4″ Minus Ag fines
- Ag Grade Anhydrite 1/8″ Ag fines
- Ag Grade Limestone 1/4″ Minus Ag fines
- Ag Grade Limestone 1/8″ Ag fines
Cal-CM Sulfate Calculator
One helpful hint: If you do not know or have readily available the “lbs. of calcium required per acre”, simply use the following formula for the calculation:
Example 1: If you usually use Gypsum A at a rate of 1 ton (2000 lbs.) per acre, and the calcium percentage of the gypsum is 17%, your calcium requirement per acre would be 2000 x .17= 340 lbs.
Example 2: If you usually use Gypsum B at a rate of 2.5 tons (5000 lbs.) per acre, and the calcium percentage of the gypsum is 14%, your calcium requirement per acre would be 5000 x .14= 700 lbs.
CLICK HERE to download the Cal-CM Sulfate Calculator as an Excel Workbook.
Aldrich, D.G., Jr., and W.R. Schoonoever. 195 1. Gypsum and other sulfur materials for soil conditioning. Calif. Agric. Expt. Sta. circular No. 403.
Alva, A.K., J.H. Graham, and D.P.H. Tucker. 1993. Role of calcium in amelioration of copper phytotoxicty for citrus. Soil Sci. 155:211-218.
Epstein, E. 1961. The essecntial role of calcium in selective cation transport by plant cells. Plant Physiol. 36:437-444.
Evangelou, V.P. and J. Lumbanraja. 1989. Mechanisms of “basis metals” – ammonia interactions: Field implications, p. 199. Agronomy Abstracts, ASA, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fenn, L.B., R.M., Taylor, M.L. Binzel, and C.M. Burks. 1991. Calcium stimulation of ammonium absorption in onion. Agron. J. 83:840-843.
Fenn, L.B, R.M. Taylor, and C.M. Burks. 1993. Influence of plant age on calcium stimulated ammonium absorption by radish and onion. J. Plant Nutr. 16:1161-1177.
Sinnes, A.C. 1979. All about fertilizers, soils and water. Ordio Books, 575 Market Street, San Francisco, CA.
Lindsay, W.L. 1979. Chemical equilibria in soils. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 4. Muneer, W., and J.M. Oades. 1989. The role of calcium-organic interactions in soil aggregate stability. El. Mechanisms and models. Aust. J. Soil Res. 27:411-423.
Jones, M.B., C.E. Vaughn, and R.S. Harris. 1976. Critical Ca levels and Ca/Mg ratios in Trifolium subterraneium L. grown on serpentine sofl-. Agron. J. 68:756-759.
Nadler, A., and M. Magaritz, 1986. Long-term effects of extensive gypsum amendment applied with sodic water irrigation on the soil porperties and soil solution chemical composition. Soil Sci. 142:196-202.
Scott, W.D., B.D. McCraw, J.E. Motes, and M.W. Smith. 1993. Application of calcium to soil and cultivar affect elemental concentration of watermelon leaf and rind tissue. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 118:201-206.
Shainberg, I., M.E. Sumner, W.P. Miller, M.P.W. Farina, M.A. Pavan, and M.V Fey, 1989. Use of gypsum on soils: A review, pp. 1-1 I 1. IN: B.A. Stewart (ed.), Advances in Soil Science, Vol. 9, Springer-Verlag New York.
Shear, C.B. 1979. International symposium on calcium nutrition of economic crops. Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 10:11-501
Smyth, T.J. and M.S. Cravo, 1992. Aluminum and calcium constraints to continuous crop production in a Braziliam Amazon Oxisol. Agron. J. 84:843-850.
Wallace, A., and S.D. Nelson. 1986. Special issue on soil conditioners. Soil Sci. 141:311-397.