gypsum will NOT BREAK UP YOUR HARD clay soil?


          Gypsum is a salt also know as calcium sulfate.  Do not add gypsum or lime unless you have had a soil test and they are recommended.  Advertisements for gypsum often claim the addition will help improve soil structure, loosen heavy clay soils, and improve soil drainage. Research in the Midwest (Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Colorado) does not show positive response to such claims. Gypsum is chiefly used to amend sodic soils found in arid regions of the Western United States. The addition of gypsum any place else is a waste of money and may even make the soil worse.

          The best way to improve Nebraska soils is to incorporate large amounts of organic matter such as compost, Canadian sphagnum peat, and/or composted manure.  To amend poor soil before planting new lawns, flower beds or vegetable gardens, add a 2 inch layer of organic matter and till or spade into the top 4 inches to 8 inches of soil.

          To amend an existing flower or shrub bed, mulch with compost around perennials or shrubs and allow earthworms to work it into the soil.

          To amend existing lawns, core aerate, then rake fine compost into the holes.  Aerate twice a year if desired, and make sure you go over the lawn both North and South and even at a diagonal. Aerate every spring anytime in April or the first week in May, and every fall before September 1st. Also use a mulching mower so clippings can work down into the soil and add organic matter. Clippings do not contribute to thatch. 

Copyright 2006