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Calcium to Magnesium Ratio

There has been a lot of interest in ideal soil ratios. It has been shown however that such a thing is unlikely to exist. Having said that, too much of one or more cations can prevent the uptake of other cations. As such a minimum calcium to magnesium ratio has been established and is generally agreed to be useful in preventing nutrient deficiencies. Ideally, the calcium to magnesium ratio should be greater than 3 for healthy soils. If the value is less than 2, plants will find it difficult to take up potassium. The soil structure may also degrade due to dispersion.

Remedial action includes boosting calcium levels through the addition of gypsum or lime. If the pH of the soil is neutral or alkaline, don't use lime as this will increase the pH further. As such, gypsum is probably the best material to use for boosting calcium levels gently. If soil is very calcium deficient, a specialised calcium fertiliser may be used. If magnesium levels are high and the pH is low, dolomite may seem to be a useful amendment but avoid the temptation because it can actually upset the calcium to magnesium ratio further.

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