Lime vs gypsum

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Platinum Service, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Platinum Service

    Platinum Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Can someone fill me in on the difference between lime and gypsum. I have used both in the past, lime as a regular maintenance item and gypsum to remediate compacted clay type soil. Not sure I was using it correctly but it gave the results I was looking for. My understanding is that they both lower the PH of the soil but that gypsum does it more effectively. Am I on the right track or did I miss the train all together? A local sod producer is telling me that gypsum is no more effective than lime and therefore a waste of money.
  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Lime will raise pH and boost calcium levels in your soil.

    Gypsum will boost calcium and sulfur levels in your soil without affecting pH.

    They both do much more than that, so do a google search. Your local sod producer knows how to juice up seedlings and sell sod. I don't know how much he knows about soils other than his own.
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    It depends, man I lean on that answer a lot !

    What you are hoping for in a result from a soil test is a 6:1, 7:1 Ca:Mg Dolomitic lime has a lot of Mg, a lot is relative. Calicitic lime has very little Mg. Mg once high is very difficult to remediate.

    If your Mg is high use calicitic lime, if its a nonissue use dolomitic lime

    They use to make landing strips in WWII with gypsum, makes great drywall though, enough said

    The soil biology (or I should say rhizobacteria) actually make all this PH chasing a non-issue
  4. TMGL&L

    TMGL&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    I have some of Organica's "microbial conditioner" which has lime in it. Do I risk damaging my lawn with it. Should I get a soil test done first?

    Has anyone used this stuff? ... Good or Bad results?
  5. Elden

    Elden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    Bill you mentioned dry wall. Please expound upon that.

    The reason I ask is because, I just sent in some soil samples from a lawn that was hydro seeded. I think the person may have used some typed of hydrated lime or something of the nature at a high rate. When I was digging in the soil there was about a 1/4" crust on the top of the surface.

    Could this have something to do with the dry wall you mentioned?
  6. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    It's not going to damage any lawns applied at 5lbs per thousand, but you might want to soil test your lawns anyway. We live in an area where people love to put lime down every year. Why? Because the farmers do it. So, testing is a good thing. That product seems a little expensive for what it is.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I completely agree with Natty Lawn in that you could be wasting alot of effort for nothing...if you're doing all these soil amendments without the benefit of the knowledge of a PROFESSIONAL soil test result.

    If your goal is to "lower the pH"...and you know your pH is alkaline (high)...then what you should be applying, incrementally, to lower it is "split-pea SULFUR"...usually found under the trade name "Dispursul 90".

    When you open a bag of sulfur and sniff it, it'll smell like the 4th of July !!! (no kidding!)


    (The remaining 10% of the inactive ingredient in the sulfur bag is ALWAYS help keep the somewhat-unstable "dust" down in the product.)
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Marco's great points

    Here on the east coast with the hardwood forests we normally have a slightly acid soil, which is great for the fescues and ryes that are typically used.

    Soil testing is always recommended and it is very cheap typically less than $15.00, 10 minutes to get the soil from the site. So you charge $50.00 for a soil test, not a big hurdle for most customers

    would you go to the doctor and let them sniff you and then write a perscription? probably not, get the soil facts straight. after several hundred of them you will get better feel for your area's soils and be able to perform your job better
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Drywall is made from gypsum
  10. TMGL&L

    TMGL&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    If soil is alkaline and you wanted to lower the pH how do you go about lowering it? is CT the only option?

    I understand that fungally dominated soils have a naturally lower pH and bacterially dominated soils tend to be higher...I might have that backwards...anyway...

    If a property's pH isn't ideal, can it be assumed that it isn't teaming?

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