Calcium amendment: what is the role of calcium in the soil?

calcium-amendment

Is your soil compact, crusting or waterproof? Acid-loving plants are appearing? These main visible signs indicate that the calcium content of your soils is low. The calcium amendment – also called a basic mineral amendment – has a direct impact on improving your yields. Due to its concentration of calcium, a major constituent of limestone, this type of amendment promotes soil neutrality, its biological activity, and its cation exchange capacity. Keep reading to learn about the role of calcium in the soil.


A physical, chemical, biological role

Calcium has a primary physical role since it facilitates the work of the soil, making the structure of the soil stable via:

  • better permeability of air and water;
  • greater root penetration;
  • a neutralizing action of the clay-humic complex. 

The second important role of calcium is its chemical role, which allows the regulation of the pH of soils as well as the increase of ion exchanges. Its physical effects also have a favorable impact on the fixation of phosphorus. The last role of calcium is biological. Thus, its action promotes an optimal environment to stimulate soil microorganisms.

An essential element

Like magnesium and phosphorus, calcium is an essential element for optimal plant fertility. This is all the more true since the calcium content of the soil varies constantly depending on the types of fertilizer applied or the action of leaching, constantly generating acidification or decalcification phenomena. Calcium therefore requires regular monitoring via soil need analyzes.

These analyses are essential to determine the formulas of amendments required according to the calcium content of the soils and the trends relating to the various types of soil:

  • Limestones;
  • Non-limestone loaded with exchangeable calcium;
  • Non-limestone and not loaded with exchangeable calcium.

Calcium intake and calcium amendment

There are different products, mainly lime and limestone, that add calcium to soil. Among the cooked products that can be used are calcium hydroxide or calcium oxide. Raw products that can be used include dolomite, crushed limestone, and chalk. The input elements must be chosen according to the purpose of liming.

Do you want to know more about the calcium amendment?

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