Calcium Products - Brian Milam
Calcium Product 98G

title-blogronomist

Brian Milam

Brian Milam

Gypsum is gypsum . . . right? Wrong.

 

Gypsum is gypsum…right? Wrong.

Gypsum is just gypsum and any will do, right? Wrong! Just like any product in the marketplace, there are high quality and low quality gypsum's and the adage of you get what you pay for is absolutely true.

Gypsum is a very misunderstood amendment; most people don’t understand the value. Before I talk about how the quality of gypsum can affect its effectiveness, let me give you a general overview of the material.

Gypsum comes in two different forms, both of which can be used in the turf industry. The first is calcium sulfate anhydrite and the second is calcium sulfate dihydrate. As you can read, both forms have both calcium and sulfur as part of the elemental make-up. The difference between the two, however, is directly tied to its effectiveness and that difference is water! The second form, calcium sulfate dehydrate, has 2 additional water molecules associated with the calcium sulfate crystal. It is these additional water molecules that make the elements of calcium and sulfur available to the plant within hours, opposed to days or weeks with the anhydrite form. For additional detailed information on the difference between the two forms, check out this video by Pace Turf.

Hopefully after watching the video you now understand that the ONLY gypsum you should use is the dihydrate form; now it is up to you to find the best form available.
By law, all gypsum bags must have a product analysis printed someplace on the bag. It will look something like this:

Guaranteed Analysis:
Ca (calcium)……………………………………………..#%
S (sulfur)…………………………………………………#%
CaSO4-2H2O (calcium sulfate dihydrate)……#%
Derived from: calcium sulfate dihydrate

The most important line in the analysis is:
CaSO4-2H2O (calcium sulfate dihydrate)……#%.

This is the line that will show you the purity or the quality of the material. The closer that percentage is to 100%, the more effective and efficient the gypsum is for your particular application. As that percentage gets further away from 100% the more material you will need to apply to maximize the nutritional value of the gypsum.

Another major factor in your selection of gypsum had to do with the fineness of the particle that makes up the gypsum in the bag. So what does fineness mean? Fineness has to do with how small the raw material is crushed to and how much can pass through a mesh screen before it is bagged or pelletized then bagged.

Side note: there are various mesh screen sizes. For example, if the screen size is 10 mesh, that means there are 10 holes for every square inch. If the screen size is 200 mesh, it means there are 200 holes for every square inch. Remember, the higher the mesh size the smaller the particle has to be to pass through.

I added the side note is because particle size is directly related to the efficiency of gypsum. The smaller the gypsum becomes the more surface area it will cover. This is important because if you can cover more surface area with less product, you are maximizing the value of the application. The fineness can be found on the bag alongside the analysis.

There are a lot of options in the marketplace for gypsum and to the less educated user, it’s all the same. Now you know why that isn't true. Turn over the bag now that you know what to look for. Check the analysis and mesh factor to make an educated decision. Trust me, your soil will thank you for it and, hopefully, you’ll thank me too!

 

Read more...

Is your turf protected for the winter?

It’s not too late to winterize your turf and protect it from the harmful effects of the winter climate. If your turf is not properly prepared for the harsh winter climates it is going to struggle to re-establish this Spring when it comes out of dormancy.

Did you know that gypsum is the perfect winterizer. If you are not applying gypsum to your lawn before the first day of winter you are really placing undo harm to the turf. Gypsum creates a great enviroment for your turf to go into dormancy. It creates soil structure that allows space for the roots, increases the water holding capacity of the soil so the turf doesn’t go thirsty and it provides an area for maximum oxygen intake for the plant. While all these are great reason to apply gypsum to your turf, the most important reason to apply gypsum before the first day of winter is because of it amazing ability to provide protection against the copius amounts of salt and winter de-icers we apply to our sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. These are the products that not only keep us safe but “burn” the turf in the spring.

If the excess sodium levels are removed from the rootzone, your turf has an excellent chance of survival in the spring. When gypsum is applied the calcium in the gypsum preps the soil for the turf to survive and the sulfur bonds to the sodium  from the salts and de-icers products and flushes the sodium out of the root zone into the sub-soil where it cannot be harmful to the plant.

Give gypsum a try, your turf will thank you for it and your neighbors will wonder why your turf appearance is better than theirs in April and May.

Read more...

Anderson’s to close their Fairmont, IL facility

On December 13th the Anderson’s announced in a letter to their customers that they “elected to cease production of pelletized products at our Fairmount, Illinois facility.”

This is a big surprise since they closed the plant in spring of 2010 for repairs and upgrades. That closure caused wide spread shortage of pelletized lime and pelletized gypsum in the spring of 2010.

Many suppliers upon hearing such news would raise their prices 20-30%. Calcium Products will be keeping its current spring pricing in place. Though we strongly encourage all our dealers to contact their sales reps to plan out their spring needs. History has shown that when this plant is not operating there is a shortage of product in the market place. We are committed to ensuring our customers that prepay, that they will have good product supply for spring.

The one thing that we have going for us is we have some advanced warning of the shortage. We plan on running all plants at full capacity to try and meet the demand but storage is limited. We are working to find additional storage at satellite warehouses and with dealers. Those that can take product early are strongly encouraged to do so.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Blogronomist

ABOUT OUR BLOGRONOMIST PAGE

Maintained by our team of experts, we have a wide array of blog articles from our experts and guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming and growing tips, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

  1. Categories
  2. Archives

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007