Can You Apply Gypsum and Fertilizer Together?

If you’re looking for a mineral to improve your soil quality, you may have stumbled across gypsum. Gypsum has a lot of added benefits when used in soil, so you might be wondering how it fares when paired with a fertilizer. Is it a good idea to apply gypsum and fertilizer together?

You cannot apply gypsum and fertilizer together. This is because gypsum is meant for conditioning soil. Gypsum is often used on dense clay soil, which it breaks down and aerates over time, resulting in better water absorption. It is always best to apply fertilizer and gypsum separately. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss more about gypsum, what it is, its purpose, when it should be used, and a few other frequently asked questions about this soil enhancer. So, if you want to learn more about using gypsum in your yard or garden, read on. 

What Is Gypsum?

First, it’s essential to understand precisely what gypsum is and where it comes from. Gypsum is an organic soil enhancer and is actually one of the first forms of fertilizer to be used. As a result, it was extremely popular in the early 19th century. But what exactly is gypsum, and how does it occur in nature? 

Gypsum is a mineral that is often found anywhere with naturally occurring high salt content, such as in lakes, limestone, and shale. This mineral contains high calcium levels, making it a great addition to poor-quality soil, especially if your soil contains clay. 

As for its appearance, gypsum often looks like a yellowish-white crystal. The crystals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are sleek and square, while others may grow tiny crystal spines that resemble small sea urchins. If you’ve ever been out hiking in a desert, you may have encountered small deposits of this mineral as they can usually be found near shale rocks. 

What Does Gypsum Do?

Now that you know more about this mineral and where it occurs in nature, it’s time to discuss what it does. Gypsum contains some pretty great minerals, or it wouldn’t be such a widely used method of improving your garden soil. But what exactly does it do?

Gypsum breaks down dense soil to allow better water absorption. This, in turn, allows the soil to better hang on to precious minerals and water, resulting in healthier plant life. In addition, if used correctly, it can promote better plant root development, leading to hardier crops. 

As you can see, there are many benefits to using this sort of soil enhancer. Gypsum greatly aids soils in dry areas with poor water absorption and too much clay. This is because, over time, gypsum can alter the soil it’s been added to by breaking it down. It’s especially effective if you have recently aerated the dirt since the gypsum is better able to penetrate the soil. 

When Should You Apply Gypsum?

Understanding when to use gypsum is extremely important. Gypsum isn’t always necessary in every garden. Places with nutrient-rich soil with proper drainage may not benefit from its use as much as thick clay soil will. However, you can always test your soil to see if your garden requires a little gypsum. 

You should apply gypsum if your soil has a lot of clay in it. Clay soil tends to have high levels of sodium, which can appear as a white layer of crust along the top of the soil. If you notice this, or a soil test indicates high sodium, using gypsum will greatly benefit your plants. 

As I previously stated, gypsum isn’t always necessary, and many gardeners go their whole lives without applying any. However, depending on the soil content where you live, you may just benefit from this mineral. As I said, the best way to be sure is to test your soil.

I personally recommend using Luster Leafs 1602 Soil Test Kit (available on This kit is great because it’s a rapid test and contains enough components for 20 different soil tests. Plus, it’s beginner-friendly if you’ve never used a soil testing kit before. 

Can You Put Gypsum Around Plants?

Now that you understand the benefits of adding gypsum to poor-quality soil, you might wonder how this mineral works around plants. So can you safely put gypsum around your plants? 

You can put gypsum around plants. Gypsum is meant to improve your soil’s quality by improving drainage, allowing for better nutrient absorption, and aiding in water absorption. Plants can greatly benefit from all of these things. Just be sure not to apply gypsum too often. 

As you can see, gypsum is entirely safe to apply around your plants. You should only worry if you’ve been applying gypsum frequently and in high amounts. If that’s the case, you’ll start to notice your plants drooping and even dying as certain necessary minerals will have been depleted from the soil. 

How Often Should Gypsum Be Applied?

Gypsum can significantly improve your lawn or garden’s health if you live somewhere with poor soil or soil with a lot of clay. However, knowing when gypsum should be applied and when to hold off is essential. Like humans, plants need a good balance of anything you apply to them.

Gypsum should be applied no more than 2-3 times per year. This mineral can be a great tool if you have poor-quality soil. However, if you have a healthy, thriving yard or garden, there is a chance that you do not need to use gypsum at all. Gypsum is meant to improve poor-quality clay-heavy soil. 

So if you already have a thriving, healthy yard, it’s probably best to forgo this mineral. However, if you’re struggling to keep your plants healthy, gypsum might just help. But again, I recommend using a soil test kit before applying gypsum so you know exactly what nutrients your soil needs. If you apply gypsum without having a full understanding of your soil quality, you may do more harm than good to your plants. 

Can You Apply Too Much Gypsum to Soil?

Gypsum is a powerful mineral that can alter your soil. It has many benefits, but there are also some drawbacks to using this soil enhancer. So can you apply too much gypsum to soil? 

You can apply too much gypsum to the soil. However, applying too much gypsum removes essential nutrients from the soil, like aluminum, magnesium, and iron. Without these nutrients, you will begin to notice stunted growth amongst your plants. So be sure to apply sparingly. 

It can be easy to over-apply gypsum if you aren’t careful, so it’s best to add it in moderation. Each package of gypsum will have specific instructions about the application process, and it’s best to follow those as closely as you can for the best application. Also, if you don’t think your yard or garden needs this mineral (based on a soil test), it probably doesn’t. 

How Do You Add Gypsum to Dirt?

Finally, I want to talk about the application process for gypsum. It’s relatively simple to apply and won’t take long if you’re working with a small land area. So how exactly do you add gypsum to your soil? What is the best method of application? 

You add gypsum to dirt by using a broadcast spreader. This is the best way to ensure complete coverage as you pass over the soil. When applying gypsum, you should follow the instructions listed on your bag, as these will explain the gypsum to soil ratio you should use when applying it. 

A broadcast spreader is a fantastic way to spread this soil enhancer quickly. Plus, they’re so easy to use. Of course, if you don’t have one, you can always try to apply the gypsum by hand, but it’ll be far less effective. 


Ultimately, gypsum and regular fertilizer shouldn’t be applied together. Gypsum is simply a soil enhancer that breaks down the soil to provide better water absorption, while fertilizer is meant to impart new nutrients into the soil. Both are fantastic for the health of your garden but should be applied separately once the gypsum has had time to work. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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