Friday, October 10, 2008

Soil Correction

Our soil test results have consistently shown over the years that we are deficient in calcium largely due to the fact we irrigate with effluent water. Effluent water is very high in sodium and chlorides which over time destroy the structure of the soil. As a result our soils have taken on the same characteristics as the water and become less than desirable for plant growth.
Each year we test our soils to determine the amounts of amendments to be applied to offset the detrimental effects of the effluent water. Through irrigation each year, we apply over 550 lbs of sodium per acre from the effluent water. It takes a tremendous amount of gypsum being applied to keep up with the sodium, let alone offset it.

Gypsum Being Applied To a Fairway Gypsum Being Applied To a Approach

Major benefits associated with gypsum usage are:

  • Improvement of soil structure by loosening compacted soils.

  • Gypsum decreases pH of sodic soils

  • Amends and reclaims soils high in destructive sodium. Sodium has the opposite effect of calcium in soils by destroying structure and reducing water, air movement and root growth.

  • Replaces harmful salts. Sodium, chlorine and many other salts in higher levels in irrigation water and soil are detrimental to plant growth and development since they rupture and destroy plant cells.

  • Helps with high bicarbonate irrigation water. Bicarbonates form free lime when water evaporates resulting in reduced available calcium and increased soil pH. The reduction of available calcium also leads to loss of soil structure and reduced water infiltration.

  • Enhances water use efficiency. Twenty-five to 100 percent more water is available in gypsum treated soils vs. untreated soils; less irrigation water is required to achieve the same results.
  • Along with composts, manures and other plant materials, use of gypsum helps rebuild the supply of soil organic matter.

    From the standpoint of plant nutrition and as a soil amendment, gypsum uniquely helps soils be more productive and more fruitful than any other single product.