Using Gypsum For Hard Soil

Q: We’ve been in our new house for our second spring. It has been very difficult getting fescue to grow from seed, so we’re considering Bermuda sod. A friend suggested putting gypsum down with the lime I continue to apply because the soil is so hard. Is gypsum a good idea? Might it help? 

A: Gypsum, calcium sulfate, will not affect the soil pH, nor will it help soften the soil. Gypsum is used in large agricultural fields to soften the crust of the soil. In a homeowner situation, this does not occur. Gypsum is sometimes used to neutralize sidewalk salt in winter, and it’s very useful for that. Chemically calcium sulfate does not react with calcium carbonate in garden lime to lower pH.

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