Fact or fallacy

From the Old Guy With The Pony Tail 

Fact or fallacy


Gypsum will help to loosen a compacted clay soil.


In the long term, Gypsum can efficiently help to loosen a heavy textured clay soil only if high sodium is the cause. Sodium causes larger soil particles (soil aggregates) to break down. Clay soils depend on these larger particles for air and water permeability. Gypsum is calcium. Calcium displaces the sodium and helps clay soils to cement together creating these larger soil aggregates that air and water can percolate thru.


In the short term, there is no easy way to improve the texture of a heavy clay soil other than to physically blend either sand or organic matter such as compost. In order for sand to be effective it needs to be a very high percentage of the finished product. Compost is the better choice and can be blended at lower rates. Compost can be added using the technique of aeration and topdressing where an aerating machine is used to pull cigar shaped cores from the soil and deposit them on the surface. Compost can then be spreads on the surface and dragged into the aeration holes, mixing with the soil. No more than 1/8” to ¼” of compost should be added in one application. Multiple applications are required for positive results.