Calcium is an essential plant nutrient responsible for the integrity of cells and plant structure. It is one of the most abundant metals on Earth and serves as a secondary macronutrient in gardening.
Though it is not required in quantities of Nitrogen, Phosphorus,s, and Potassium, calcium is crucial for plant growth, and it makes plants less susceptible to diseases and pests.
Calcium promotes the healthy growth of plants in a wide variety of ways. For instance, it loosens the soil to allow it to absorb more water and increases the strength of a plant’s cells.
9 Ways To Add Calcium To Your Soil
Calcium is an essential plant nutrient, but it is not needed to be applied every season or year because it is available in neutral soils, while in acid soils, it is applied in large amounts like gypsum. It is an essential component of some Phosphorus and Nitrogen fertilizers.
There are different ways to add Calcium to the soil, and it depends on the state of your soil. It is advisable to start with a solid foundation of healthy soil and then add Calcium fertilizers as needed. Here are a few methods ;
1 . Lime
Lime is considered one of the biggest Calcium boosters you can give to your soil. It raises the soil making it less acidic. It contains magnesium which can be helpful to your soil if it has low magnesium levels.
2 . Foliar Spray
Foliar Spray contains calcium chloride. Calcium chloride, Calcium acetate, or Calcium nitrate. It is the quickest remedy for acute calcium deficiency as plants tend to absorb nutrients more efficiently through leaves than roots.
It is also used to remedy container plant tissue, especially seedlings and transplants. Though Foliar Sprays do not amend the soil, they should be considered a supplement to proper soil nutrition management.
3 . Bone Meal
Bone meal is made up of the ground-up bones of animals. It is a good soil additive that can raise calcium levels in your soil.
It contains nitrogen and Phosphorus and is considered a more balanced fertilizer. However, Bone Meal raises the pH range of the soil and should not be used on alkaline soil.
4 . Eggshells
Eggshells are a slower way to add Calcium to soil because you have to break them down for the Calcium to become available for use by plants. You can add eggshells to the soil when planting seedlings or compost as an organic matter.
5 . Wood Ash (Calcium Carbonate)
Wood ashes from hardwoods are considered the best for soil amendment. It increases the calcium in your soil and provides half of the amount of calcium as lime. It also includes potassium, boron, and Phosphorus.
However, it increases the pH of your soil and shouldn’t be used if your soil is neutral or borderline alkaline. Keep in mind that ashes from softwoods are harmful to plants.
6. Collodial Phosphate – Calcium Oxide
Colloidal Phosphate is also known as soft or rock phosphate. It is a source of calcium that doesn’t contain as many other options on the list. It is less soluble and moderately raises the pH.
7 . Ground Oyster/ Clam Shell Flour (Calcium Carbonate)
The shells have low solubility and take several years to be effective. It is a good source of calcium and will supply slightly to raise soil pH over time.
8 . Dolomite Lime (Calcium Carbonate)
Dolomite Lime contains magnesium carbonate and is a good source for raising pH on low magnesium soils. If your soil test records high magnesium levels, choose another calcium product.
9 . Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate)
Gypsum is a fast-acting calcium supplement with low Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). It is pH neutral and not like other additions.
Benefits Of Calcium in The Soil
1 . Healthy Plant Tissue
Calcium is a component of cell walls and is essential for cell division, the permeability of cell membranes, and nitrogen utilization.
2 . Early Season Growth
Calcium leads to greater root mass and faster growth in spring. It promotes plant uniformity as a critical factor among new crops and forages growers.
Calcium protects the plant from chewing pests and microorganisms.
4 . Nutrient Uptake
Calcium takes nutrients up into the plant where they need to go. It enters the plant through the soil or leaves and moves the nutrients through the water to the leaves and wherever it needs to go.
5. Root Systems
Calcium is essential for the development of root systems that uptake various nutrients. Also, enzymes necessary for cellular activity within the plant depend on calcium for development.
Signs Of A Calcium Deficiency In Plants
Calcium is highly immobile in the plant and affects new tissue, especially meristems, first. Symptoms of calcium deficiency first appear on younger leaves and tissues, whereby growth is inhibited, and plants have a bushy appearance. The symptoms include;
- Parachute shaped leaves
- Information and dying of tips (meristems)
- Chlorosis among the leaf margins
- Dark veins.
- Stunted growth
- Internal tips burn-in cabbages.
- Blossoms end rot in tomatoes and peppers. Etc
Plants That Respond Most To Calcium
Plants need calcium to thrive, but some need it more than others. Here are some plants that will thrive the most if given a Calcium boost;
- Apple trees
- Brussels sprouts
- Peach trees
- Conifer trees
- Cherry trees
How To Tell If Your Plants Need Calcium
One noticeable symptom of knowing if your plants are low in calcium is stunted growth, curly or withered young leaves, or leaves with burnt-looking edges. Another way to determine whether you need to add Calcium to your soil is by undergoing a professional soil test.
A professional soil test analyzes both the calcium level and the pH of your soil. It also provides an overall profile of your soil and states the soil’s cation exchange capacity (CEC). You can also conduct a home test or submit a soil sample to an online service for professional testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 . What Is The Fastest Way To Add Calcium To Soil?
Adding Lime has proven to be the easiest and fastest way to add Calcium to the soil. It contains magnesium which can be helpful to the soil, and it raises the soil pH making it less acidic.
2 . What Fertilizer Is High In Calcium?
Fertilizers in calcium include wood ash, bone meal, shells (egg, clam, or oysters), gypsum, lime, and calcium Nitrate.
3 . Are Eggshells high in Calcium?
Eggshells are high in calcium. They contain 27 essential microelements, but they mainly contain calcium carbonate.
4. What Is The Best Source Of Calcium For Plants?
Foliar feeding with calcium-rich eggshells is considered the best source of calcium for plants.
5. How Do You Fix Low Calcium In Soil?
Most times, adding agricultural lime to acid soils can fix calcium in the soil