Gypsum improves the soil structure by allowing proper drainage, increasing calcium levels, and improving salinity. But most people often get confused about how much Gypsum should be applied to their lawn and end up putting in too much.
But can you put too much Gypsum on your lawn?
Gypsum is great for soil amendment of your lawn as it helps remove toxins and break down compacted soil. But adding too much gypsum to your lawn can have a negative impact. Using excessive gypsum will eliminate vital nutrients like manganese, iron, and aluminum, which can cause poor grass growth.
This article will discuss how much Gypsum you should add to your lawn and what happens if you put too much. Let’s dive into it.
What is Gypsum?
Let’s first discuss what Gypsum is to clear out the concept.
Gypsum is also specified as calcium sulfate (CaSO4.2H2O).
It is a natural mineral for improving soil structure and plant growth by adding nutrients.
Gypsum helps to provide calcium and sulfate to the soil, which is one of the necessary nutrients.
This mineral is generated by sedimentary rock.
Due to the evaporation of water, salt water is created mainly containing calcium and sulfates.
As time goes by, the minerals compress, which creates Gypsum.
How is Gypsum beneficial for soil and grass?
Let’s discuss some benefits of Gypsum for the lawn:-
1. Brilliant source of calcium and sulfur
Calcium is one of the important nutrients for the growth of a plant.
It also helps in promoting root growth and increases the plant’s capacity to absorb other nutrients like ammonium nitrogen.
On the other hand, sulfur is also required in the soil as it helps synthesize protein and promotes lateral root growth.
Lack of sulfur slows down the maturity stage and causes stunted growth of a plant.
Calcium and sulfur are not always available in the soil itself, so Gypsum helps boost these nutrients in the soil.
2. Helps in improving the soil structure
Calcium in the Gypsum helps break down the dense soil and allows proper air circulation.
Compact soil in your lawn can create a huge issue since it becomes difficult for the soil to absorb moisture.
Because of this, the water will stay above the soil surface, creating a big mess over your lawn.
Gypsum helps loosen the soil by breaking packed clumps into tiny particles and making it porous.
This helps the soil absorb water and minerals more efficiently and encourages stronger grass growth.
3. Heals salt damage
Salt and glycol-based products can cause extreme damage to the grass in your lawn.
The situation worsens if the salt is laid in one specific place for a prolonged period.
Too many salts can cause dehydration as it absorbs all the moisture from the soil, leaving the grass completely weak.
To resolve the damage, you must remove the salts from the soil.
The calcium sulfate mixture in the Gypsum helps to dislodge the salts from the soil, restoring good soil structure.
4. Reduces aluminum toxicity in soil
When the pH level drops and the soil become extremely acidic, it damages the grassroots and stops root growth completely, especially when the aluminum in the soil is in huge quantity.
If this situation comes, Gypsum helps break down the subsoil and promotes root penetration.
This allows the roots to recover and enhances deeper rooting.
Can you put too much Gypsum on your lawn?
If you add Gypsum incorrectly, it can damage your whole lawn.
Are you wondering how? Let’s discuss the following:-
1. Leads to nutrient deficiencies
If you have added Gypsum to your lawn to keep the grass healthy and notice no difference, it means you are adding it incorrectly.
Using too much Gypsum on your lawn can eliminate necessary nutrients from the soil, such as aluminum, manganese, and iron leading to nutrient leaching.
Nutrient leaching means the soil easily loses all nutrients through irrigation and rain without holding it.
Deficiencies of these nutrients can hinder the health and growth of the grass, leading to stunted growth.
2. Decreases the sodium content
If the soil already contains low salt levels, Gypsum can entirely vanish the salt from the soil.
By adding too much Gypsum, the soil can face salt deficiency.
Because of this, the grass will absorb water excessively and even die.
You should always analyze the soil in your lawn to check whether it needs Gypsum.
3. Reduces moisture retention
As Gypsum helps loosen the compact soil, adding too much can decrease moisture retention.
Too much Gypsum will make the soil extremely loose, and the grass will not be able to take the moisture quickly, leading to weakness.
Due to loose soil, the water will not be able to stand for a long time and will drain quickly without letting the roots absorb.
4. Harm the plants or grass
Adding Gypsum to the acidic soil only helps to some extent.
But if you think that adding more Gypsum to the soil can raise the pH level, then you are wrong.
Gypsum doesn’t convert acidic soil to alkaline soil.
On the other hand, if the soil pH level is less than 5, adding too much Gypsum can harm the grass or even kill them.
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Is it compulsory to add Gypsum to your lawn?
If you decide to add Gypsum to your lawn, it is important to do a soil analysis to know whether your lawn needs Gypsum.
Gypsum requirement also depends on the soil type.
For example- people staying in coastal places need to apply Gypsum on their lawns to decrease the salt content of the soil.
While in areas where the soil has low sodium levels, adding Gypsum is unnecessary as it can cause salt deficiency.
Especially in the case of sandy soil, where adding Gypsum can easily create too much calcium build-up.
How much Gypsum should you add to the soil of your lawn?
If you don’t want to overuse, it is necessary to know how much Gypsum you should add to your lawn.
Otherwise, the lawn can face various issues which can become difficult to cure.
Try to apply 40-50 pounds of brown granular Gypsum per 1000 square ft. of soil (2.20 pounds per 10 square ft.).
After adding Gypsum, it will be enough for 3 years. But if you want, you can also apply it 2 to 3 times a year, depending on the requirements of your lawn.
If you have a new lawn with a compact soil structure, you must add 300 pounds of Gypsum per 1000 square ft.
To add, you can use a fertilizer spreader and slowly water the lawn.
To get good results, you must aerate the soil before applying Gypsum. Otherwise, it will just sit on the lawn.
It is different from applying Gypsum in your garden as compared to lawn.
In the case of the garden, you should apply 20-30 pounds of Gypsum per 1000 square ft.
The quantity of Gypsum also depends on the level of magnesium and sodium in the soil.
You must do a soil test to determine the nutrient content and then add it accordingly.
How to apply Gypsum to the soil? Should you add water after applying it?
If you are spreading the Gypsum all over your lawn, you should always water it after applying.
As you already know, Gypsum helps to eliminate nutrients and unnecessary elements, so watering after adding Gypsum helps to regulate this method.
There is one more method of adding Gypsum.
You should first aerate the soil with the help of an aerator and then spread Gypsum all over the lawn.
You don’t need to water the lawn because of the porous areas, as it already goes deep into the soil.
Also, don’t ever add Gypsum to damp and compact soil.
Instead, wait until the soil is dry, and then spread Gypsum with organic matter all over your lawn and water it.
But if you plan to add Gypsum on the lawn just before rain, you must avoid watering the soil surface.
Also, avoid mixing the Gypsum with the soil, and don’t ever overwater the surface. You must provide moisture steadily.
Soil Amendments with Gypsum for clay soil
When you are adding Gypsum to your lawn, it is best to add soil amendments to it.
If you are wondering if soil amendments are only beneficial for plants in your garden, then you are wrong, as it same goes for grass too.
Gypsum itself is considered a soil amendment, and along with that, you can also add manure and organic composts to get better results.
Adding manure and organic matter can encourage grass to grow efficiently.
Also, applying Gypsum with it can help loosen the compact soil, encouraging the roots of the grass to penetrate more fluently, making it greener and healthier.
Well, it is not compulsory to add soil amendments with Gypsum.
It depends on the condition of your lawn.
If you feel the grasses in your lawn are not growing properly, this is the best thing to do to restore its health.
Can we add fertilizer and Gypsum at the same time?
It is not recommended to add fertilizer and Gypsum together.
They both are two separate things.
Fertilizer works instantly on the soil, while Gypsum takes at least 2-3 months to fix the soil composition.
So, it doesn’t make a difference if you will add them together.
As fertilizer and Gypsum fragment sizes differ, one can drain out from the soil more quickly than the expected time if they are added simultaneously.
Also, you must add fertilizer by mixing it into the soil, while Gypsum is supposed to be spread on the lawn after aerating the soil surface.
Fertilizer is usually applied before planting in the spring, while Gypsum is applied in the fall.
Also, fertilizer is added once a year to promote grass growth, but Gypsum depends on the soil quality and how often it needs to be added.
Either 2-3 times a year or after every 3 years.
Before applying fertilizer or Gypsum, you need to do a soil test to check the nutrient content, density, and deficiency.
Gypsum improves compact soil, provides nutrients, and decreases sodium content.
But, overdoing anything doesn’t cause any benefit to you.
Make sure you never add Gypsum too much.
Instead, always do a soil test to know the requirements and apply them accordingly.
Applying 40-50 pounds of Gypsum per 10000 square ft. is enough for your lawn.
How to know if the lawn requires Gypsum?
Your lawn will require Gypsum only when it suffers from calcium deficiency and sodium damage. Common signs include stunted and unhealthy growth, and yellow spots on the grass, which will later convert to brown.
When should you add Gypsum to your lawn?
The best time to add Gypsum to your lawn is late fall.
This is because the lawn will stay stress-free during the winter season and can thrive beautifully, especially when you live in the coastal regions.
Are lime and Gypsum the same thing?
Lime and Gypsum aren’t the same things. Lime can raise the pH levels as it is more alkaline. In contrast, Gypsum is neutral and doesn’t have any effect on the soil pH level. Also, Gypsum comprises calcium sulfate, while lime comprises carbonate, oxide, and calcium.
Can you apply grass seed and Gypsum together?
If the soil is loamy, you can spread grass seed after adding Gypsum to your lawn.
But in the case of clayey soil, it is best to give some time to the soil to improve its texture. Gypsum will change the texture of the clay soil after 2-3 months. So, if you need the best results, you must wait a few months before sowing the grass seeds.
Reference: Soil Science Society of America, The Ohio State University, Use of Gypsum on Soils, ScienceDirect.