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Reduce Winter Salt & Animal Urine Damage with Black Gypsum DG®

Posted by Ben Pease, Agronomist, PhD on November 16, 2022

What do deserts, snowplows, and dogs have in common?

They can all be culprits in creating saline or sodic conditions. In regions where little rainfall occurs annually, saline and sodic soil conditions are common. Frequent applications of effluent or poor-quality irrigation water can lead to salt buildup in the soil profile. In areas that receive snowfall, applications of salt-based ice melt products can lead to sodic soil conditions. Animal urine can do a number on home lawns, creating many areas of poor soil and turf health. Wherever you are located, chances are you battle one or more of these issues throughout the year.


Left unchecked, sodic soil conditions can lead to poor turf health and a lack of soil structure. This forces turfgrass managers to search for solutions to aid in the remediation of salt buildup in soils. Without a focus on rebuilding soil structure, soil will become easily compacted and contain little air-filled space for roots to thrive.


Salt damage to turf and ornamental areas is one of the more difficult problems to manage in a landscape after a difficult winter or in areas with high native soil salinity.

It is common for turfgrass managers combating sodic soil conditions to utilize gypsum products to help leach salts from the root zone and improve clay particle structure. Historically, gypsum applications have been made with the anhydrate (CaSO4) form of calcium (one water molecule), which could take weeks to become available for activation. This prolonged activation process severely limits a turfgrass manager’s ability to jumpstart the soil remediation process.


Black Gypsum DG simplifies things, containing humic substances (10% or 21%) and natural gypsum to stimulate soil microbes and soil chemistry, aiding in breakdown of salts in soil and more quickly returning turf to good health.

The gypsum source in Black Gypsum DG is calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO42H20). With two extra water molecules, this version is more water soluble than its anhydrite (CaSO4) counterpart. This improved solubility means that uptake into the turfgrass plant occurs much more quickly. The dihydrate form of gypsum also provides increased application flexibility for year-round soil remediation versus standard anhydrate forms of gypsum.

What sets Black Gypsum DG Apart?

  • A full spectrum of humic substances provide a food source for microbes and enhanced nutrient efficiency over an extended timeframe
  • Gypsum provides calcium and sulfur to improve soil structure, flushing salts through root zone
  • Homogenous granules featuring Dispersing Granule (DG) Technology self-incorporate, and are quickly available in soil and to turf
  • Easier and cleaner to apply or spread
  • Gypsum and humates derived from natural sources

Best Management Practices

  • It is important to survey the site and determine the damage to turf or landscape from salt or animal urine. Determine area to be treated (length by width), adding about 12-18 inches beyond visibly damaged areas.
  • For preventative applications, apply using a drop spreader 3-6 feet into the turf along sidewalk or driveway/street edges.
  • Aerate or power rake turf prior to application, both in fall or spring applications.
  • Apply 12-20 lbs of Black Gypsum DG® per 1,000 ft2 following product label directions. Individual landscape plants including acid-loving plants can be treated.
  • For most effective product activity, apply before rainfall or irrigate after application.
  • Ideal timing for Black Gypsum DG applications is late fall and early spring. In heavily-salted areas, apply in both fall and spring, as a stand-alone in fall and spring, or within a fertilizer blend in spring only.


Product Information

Humic Acid Content: 10%
Product Code: 10005921
Packaging: 50-lb bag
Particle Sizing: 240 SGN
Application Rate: 523-871 lbs/acre


Humic Acid Content: 21%
Product Code: 10005930
Packaging: 50-lb bag
Particle Sizing: 240 SGN
Application Rate: 130-520 lbs/acre


9-12-6 + 36% Black Gypsum DG

Product Code: 10005895
Packaging: 50-lb bag
Particle Sizing: 240 SGN
Application Rate: 175-350 lbs/acre
Features: contains 50% SmartPhos® slow release phosphorus, plus Mg, S, and Fe; Applies 63-126 lbs. of Black Gypsum DG per acre.


22-0-4 + 43% Black Gypsum DG

Product Code: 10005848
Packaging: 50-lb bag
Particle Sizing: 240 SGN
Application Rate: 175-200 lbs/acre
Features: powered by 50% HCU® (Humic Coated Urea) and Black Gypsum DG. Applies 75-86 lbs. of Black Gypsum DG per acre.



Tony Goldsby


Ben Pease is the Agronomist for The Andersons Turf & Specialty business, responsible for research, service, and technical support. Ben received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and earned his doctorate degree from Iowa State University. Ben has also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Cherokee Country Club (Madison, WI) and Whistling Straits Golf Courses (Sheboygan, WI). To contact Ben, click here.

© 2022 The Andersons, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Andersons logo is a registered trademark of The Andersons, Inc. Black Gypsum DG is a registered trademark of The Andersons, Inc. 

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