What Gypsum Does
I intend to fertilize alfalfa and should like to know about gypsum. I
have heard it stimulates the growth temporarily but in three or four
years hurts the land. I have heavy land.
The functions of gypsum are: (a) to supply lime when the soil lacks it;
(b) to make a heavy soil more mellow, and (c) to act upon other soil
substances to render them more available for plant food. These are some
of the soil aspects of gypsum; it may have plant aspects also. It is too
much to say that gypsum hurts the land; it does, however, help the plant
to more quickly exhaust its fertility, and in this respect is not like
the direct plant foods which comprise the true fertilizers - one of
which gypsum is not. It might be best for your pocketbook and for the
mechanical condition of the soil to use it, but do not think that it is
maintaining the fertility of the land (a service which we expect from
the true fertilizers) except as it may supply a possible deficiency of
How Much Gypsum?
How much per acre, how frequently and what seasons of the year are the
best time to apply gypsum?
Of gypsum on alkali, we should begin at the rate of one ton to the acre
and repeat the application as frequently as necessary to achieve the
desired result. If the alkali was quite strong we would use twice as
much. Without reference to an alkaline condition in the soil, and to
give heavy soil a more friable character, which promotes cultivation,
aeration, etc., and, therefore, ministers to more successful production,
half a ton to the acre can be used, applications to be repeated as
conditions seem to warrant it.
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