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Old 03-18-2010, 03:49 PM
TheOmegaMan TheOmegaMan is offline
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Default how much gypsum should I add to clay soil?



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how much gypsum should I add to soil that has a lot of clay to it. I need to know in terms of one part soil, to what part gypsum.

If I have a 2 1/2 gallon buck of sifted clay soil and a 2 1/2 gallon bucket of organic material how much much gypsum should I mix with the clay soil before I mix it with the organics?

Some say not to add at all. Others say it helps break down the clay soil. Any experience with gypsum?

thank you, TheOmegaMan
Old 03-18-2010, 04:42 PM
fulminated fulminated is offline
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My limited experience with clay soil is that you're not going to fix it over night. It's going to take, possibly, years to turn clay soil into nice, fluffy loam. Of those folks I've talked to and exchanged opinions about it, you're better benefited by amending your soil with compost and organic matter every opportunity you get.

Not that gypsum hurts, but if you've already got a good compost pile or "green manure" going, you can save yourself some time.

To answer your direct question, this guy says 40 pounds to 1000sqft.

http://www.humeseeds.com/gypsum.htm
Old 03-18-2010, 09:45 PM
BeerandGuns BeerandGuns is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulminated View Post
My limited experience with clay soil is that you're not going to fix it over night. It's going to take, possibly, years to turn clay soil into nice, fluffy loam. Of those folks I've talked to and exchanged opinions about it, you're better benefited by amending your soil with compost and organic matter every opportunity you get.

Not that gypsum hurts, but if you've already got a good compost pile or "green manure" going, you can save yourself some time.

To answer your direct question, this guy says 40 pounds to 1000sqft.

http://www.humeseeds.com/gypsum.htm
That has been my experience with my last two gardens, both loaded with clay. It's a matter of compost. I added gypsum to my current garden and don't find it did anything. Compost is showing a difference. When my garden was smaller I would occasionally add bags of topsoil and peat moss but this became uneconomical with the new house and much larger garden.

I did a lot of research on the subject and fastest fix I've come across is adding sand. The problem is you have to make sure you add enough or you basically end up with concrete.
Old 03-18-2010, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerandGuns View Post
That has been my experience with my last two gardens, both loaded with clay. It's a matter of compost. I added gypsum to my current garden and don't find it did anything. Compost is showing a difference. When my garden was smaller I would occasionally add bags of topsoil and peat moss but this became uneconomical with the new house and much larger garden.

I did a lot of research on the subject and fastest fix I've come across is adding sand. The problem is you have to make sure you add enough or you basically end up with concrete.
green sand, supposedly, will help. But then you run into that cost versus benefit thing.

I'm lucky. My garden is 5 8 x 4 x 12" raised beds. Top soil was $135 15 cubic yards. Compost was $40 for 1.7 tons, and the wood was 8 dollars for a 14ft run. I've got 2 more beds to build this weekend. The first three wore me out.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:24 PM
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Another vote for compost over gypsum.
Something about being free makes it the best soil amendment for me.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOmegaMan View Post
how much gypsum should I add to soil that has a lot of clay to it. I need to know in terms of one part soil, to what part gypsum.

If I have a 2 1/2 gallon buck of sifted clay soil and a 2 1/2 gallon bucket of organic material how much much gypsum should I mix with the clay soil before I mix it with the organics?

Some say not to add at all. Others say it helps break down the clay soil. Any experience with gypsum?

thank you, TheOmegaMan
I have heavy, salty clay soil. Gypsum helps but it takes several seasons to do so. You can't really add too much, so no worries there. I added about half an inch and tilled it in. It helped a lot but it's going to take several treatments. If you want to save money on the gypsum, go to the landfill. They generally have construction material sorted out. Sheetrock is just gypsum betweem sheets of paper. It's easily crushed or powdered.

For clay, you really need to add organics and sand also though, to improve the texture. About an inch of sand tilled in for a couple years is a good start, and several inches of compost. It's going to take a few seasons for the soil to improve. You'll be able to follow the progress and know when to stop adding what down the road.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:20 PM
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No gypsum, but you can try very course sand. However, NEVER work the soil when it is wet, and trying to add organics over time will probably help more than the sand.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:11 PM
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Don't bother with the gypsum. Add sand and a lot of compost or go the route of raising your beds with a topsoil filler and sand. Even with topsoil in your raised bed you may want to consider a layer of sand under the bed to help drainage a bit.
Old 03-19-2010, 10:51 PM
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We have clay soil here in Oklahoma. I built ours up pretty well over a few years by simply tilling in the straw mulch from the garden each fall, leaves, and sand. It has gone from red clay to beautiful black rich soil.
Old 03-20-2010, 12:30 AM
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I don't associate clay soils with acid soil, have you tested it yet?
Folks usually add lime when the soil is much lower than they want.
I am targeting a ph of 6 - 6.5 for pasture land and for the orchard.
Old 05-21-2011, 07:23 PM
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Gypsom can make the soil very acid so be careful. Good old horse manua works wonders, need to did it well in. Blood and bone if you can get it in the US even alpaca manua put through a mulcher and spread as a find power is a great way to imporve soil.
Old 05-21-2011, 09:06 PM
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Gypsum is pH neutral, it will not acidify the soil.

Add as much as you like. I don't think in buckets, I think in square metres and I could if I wanted do a 10 litre bag in that area. How much have you got to spend?

Certainly however sand, maybe an inch. An inch of sand is very good and it's cheap. If you use builders sand beware, it could be full of lime.
Old 05-21-2011, 09:16 PM
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15 - 30% gypsum does not break down the clay it just loosens the soil and makes crumblyer. The clay portion will still be clay. If your soil is acidic it will break down the gypsum after awhile and you'll have to add more especially if you are not making raised beds. Clay seems to swallow stuff somehow.
Old 05-21-2011, 11:00 PM
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In most areas, you can get wood chips and leaves from landscapers and the companies that clear the rights of way for power companies for free. It makes a great base for compost, but it does take a long time (years) to break down. I have found that mixing in 50 lbs of Nitrogen fertilizer per 4-5 cubic yards takes about a year off the process. (Nitrogen is needed to break down leaves and wood) It takes a long time, but is worth it.
Old 05-22-2011, 10:00 AM
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Lots of experience with clay and adding admendments ....... very very course sand, almost pea gravel ..... lots of organics ........ compost, ground leaves, manure ect ....... but don't forget the lime to balance out the ph .......
Old 05-22-2011, 01:38 PM
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Gypsup takes several seasons of adding it to begin to break down the clay. You can add a lot of it. It won't have a negative effect. You can get it for free at the city dump. They usually seperate out building materials. Sheetrock is just gypsum and paper.
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