Gypsum question

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Gypsum question

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:18 pm

A trusted practitioner suggested yearly doses of gypsum to flush sodium. Do any species dislike garden gypsum? Also, I am having a little trouble with the dosage. How easy is it to over do it?

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Re: Gypsum question

Post  Rubarb on Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:44 pm

I'd never even heared of doing this Embarassed and so swatted up a bit on the internet and to be honest ............ I'm probally still none the wiser about the subject Very Happy

I do have the hunch and personal mind-set tho if you have to flush soil types after/ durring use then your forcing growth to harshly or doing something badly wrong?.
I know we all add feeds and diferent chemicals to soil to build up plants and trees that even nature can't suply sometimes but never to the point where water can't wash them or the harm out (apart from big disasters with PH levels).

That said I'll hold my hands up and agree "I'm totally ignorant of this" so......

I hope these pages might help:

Gypsum and calcium cabonate on plants

Myths of gypsum PDF file

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Re: Gypsum question

Post  63pmp on Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:36 am

Gypsum provides calcium, which is a valuable plant nutrient. If your water is soft, that is, has some sodium present, then calcium will help prevent it from being taken up by the plant. Excess sodium causes marginal leaf burn.

Generally a teaspoon of crushed gypsum every month or so is adequate. Excess will not harm a plant, but it may clog up the potting mix. The best sized particles are about the same as those used in your potting mix, but smaller particles dissolve quicker, giving a hit of calcium.

The sulphate in gypsum is good at inhibiting chloride uptake, which is often present in sodic waters.

Bonsai potting mixes have very little in common with garden soils, I would disregard the previous links.

Paul

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Re: Gypsum question

Post  MrFancyPlants on Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:32 pm

Thanks for the input. I guess I don't need to worry about over doing it too much, as a teaspoon a month is way more than I have been using. I had a feeling this was the case since at least some plants are capable of growing in pure gypsum such as at the White Sands National Monument .
It is also interesting that in the Myth's article that Rubarb posted, too much gypsum is indicated for having "negative effects on mycorrhizal inoculation," and may cause various mineral deficiencies. I may limit my dosage to just a pinch per pot every few months, and maybe a pinch over the shoulder for good luck while I am at it.
I have a feeling that this will help counter the fertilizer salt buildup especially for plants indoors that might not get as vigorous of a flush from normal watering as their outdoor brethren.

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Re: Gypsum question

Post  63pmp on Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:21 pm

Hi Mr Fancypants

Unfortunately, gypsum won't help with salt build up in your pots. You will have to take them outside every now and then and give them a good flushing.

You would have to add a lot of gypsum in fine powder form to affect nutrient uptake, but it can be done. Thing with gypsum is that it has very low solubility, but, the finer the particles the quicker it dissolves, larger 2-4 mm particles are best, releasing calcium slowly. Gypsum is a standard addition to commercial potting mixes. Excess calcium can affect ammonium, magnesium and potassium uptake as well, as an excess of any one nutrient can affect others. Excess of calcium causes the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. calcium will also form a white precipitate with phosphate.

Many minerals affect mycorrhiza, excess nitrogen and phosphorus will do the same. Additionally the benefits of mycorrhiza in bonsai is also arguable. I would argue that if you have soft water then a slight addition of gypsum will be of greater benefit then having mycorrhiza.

In bonsai pots, where CEC is negligible compared to ground soil, the benefits of gypsum far outweighs the negatives. Especially if you have sodium in your water.

Paul

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