Gypsum to loosen up soil

   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #1  


Veteran Member
Feb 21, 2005
Central WI
I've been told that gypsum can be used to loosen up heavy clay soil. Anybody with any experience on this?
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #2  
I heard the same thing a couple years ago and did some research on the internet.. It seems (like most everything else) some say it will, some say it wont.. I cant really tell it made much difference.

good luck
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #3  
I have heard of using it to change the pH of soil, but not to "loosen" it.
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #4  
I use sand.....lots and lots of sand and till it into the clay. Works pretty good. Helps drainage also. Gypsum does work I just think it takes a bit longer to do the job.
If your doing this for a garden area just add some manure or fertilizer of some sort and till away.
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #5  
What does it do to the PH? Lower it, similar to lime? Are you talking about just throwing drywall into the garden? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Just curious, I've never heard this. I was considering adding sawdust and manure into my garden for next year, just not sure how to obtain it reasonably.
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil
  • Thread Starter
I read a couple of articles about it. Gypsum does not affect PH. Lime would. I think sawdust will leach nitrogen so adding some would be a good idea.

I till a garden for a guy who added sand to his. He used the tailings from washed sand. His works up earlier and better than mine.

This year I added lots of shredded leaves, and I also typically add dried manure from the neighbors cow yard scrapings. My soil is still a little "bally" in spring so I'd like to get it loosened up.
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #7  
Interesting...... Thanks.... Think I like the sawdust idea better, but now I've heard of it...
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #8  
Do a search about it it has been covered here b4 a lot.

it basacally turns a clay molicule into a sand like one but does take a while and will do a better job if there is already a deep clay problem than just tossing in some manure. of corse using both is much better. sawdust can over do the Nitrogen very quickly and does not compost really fast unless it is worked in well best done in winter or late fall for sawdust.

mark M
   / Gypsum to loosen up soil #9  
From the North Carolina State University site:

What is gypsum?
Gypsum, is calcium sulfate. It doesn't change the soil pH. Applying gypsum to an acid soil (pH less than 5.5) can have adverse effects on certain crops by displacing soil aluminum, which is toxic to plant roots. Use lime until your pH is at the desired level. Then use gypsum to add more calcium.
Can gypsum be used instead of lime?
No. It doesn't change the soil pH. Use lime until your pH is at the desired level. Then use gypsum to add more calcium.
Does gypsum improve the soil?
On high sodium soils, gypsum will improve the structure of the soil without changing the pH. Most soils in North Carolina don't contain high sodium levels.
What is landplaster?
The same thing as gypsum.
Why is landplaster used on peanuts?
To provide calcium without changing the pH. Peanuts don't have the ability to translocate adequate calcium to the fruit so the pegs must touch calcium to form properly. Sandy soils don't hold calcium so land plaster (gypsum) puts the calcium there when it is needed. Clay soils have the ability to hold calcium so landplaster isn't needed on peanuts grown in clay soils.


When I was growing peanuts we used agricultural gypsum extensively. The best way to loosen up heavy clay soil is to add organic matter. you can do this by applying and plowing in some type of manure. We use chicken litter. Also, you can grow some kind of cover crop, winter or summer, and plow it down. This is best done with a moldboard plow.