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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