It is true that NPK is used in greater percentages than calcium, but calcium is used more by weight and volume than any other nutrient. Calcium is rarely considered as a nutrient at all, only as a soil buffer to adjust pH.
Calcium should be considered the most important nutrient, and more than simply just a tool to move the pH scale. It plays a major role in the physiology of the plant, strengthening its physical structure, increasing nutrient uptake and protecting from disease. The importance of calcium in the soil, includes; the reduction of soil compaction, increased water infiltration, and helping to provide a better environment for the proliferation of beneficial bacteria. Some research even suggests that calcium plays a role in weed populations. To associate calcium only as a buffer of pH is agronomicly ignorant.
Calcium neutralizes soil acidity
Improves soil structure and quality
Prevents soil crusting
Reduces soil salinity
Reduces erosion and phosphorous loss
Improves water penetration
Promotes root development
Calcium stimulates growth of ""soil life"", including nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Every plant needs calcium to grow
Calcium helps create a healthy environment for your plants
Only nitrogen and potassium are required in larger amounts by plants
Once fixed, calcium is not mobile in the plant
It is an important constituent of cell walls and can only be supplied in the xylem sap
If the plant runs out of a supply of calcium, it cannot remobilize calcium from older tissues
If transpiration is reduced, the calcium supply to growing tissues will become inadequate
Calcium is found in many minerals in soil, but is relatively insoluble.
A common misconception is that if the pH is high, adequate calcium is present
High levels of other cations such as magnesium, iron, sodium, and potassium can increase pH
Plant available calcium determines the uptake of all other nutrients into the plant
It is the carrier of all other nutrients to the plant
As calcium content in the plant drops so can the protein, mineral and energy levels of the plant
Calcium is not considered a mobile nutrient, but can leach with excess nitrogen
Over fertilization of nitrogen and potassium will reduce calcium availability
High potassium levels reduces the uptake of calcium
You will usually find an increase in all mineral levels in a plant following the correction of low calcium
Calcium plays a critical metabolic role in carbohydrate removal.
Calcium neutralizes cell acids
Study after study shows calcium at the optimum level will decrease disease in most plants
Yield, quality, taste, shelf life and disease resistance are all functions of good calcium uptake
SuperCal SO4 and SuperCal 98G are great sources of calcium. Our pelletized processing makes it easy to add calcium to your dry fertilizer program. See your local dealer or give us a call to see how easy it can be to reduce input costs, and increase yields.
The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!