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Organic Gardening: anyone using "ute-lite" soil ammendment?

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Forum: Organic GardeningReplies: 11, Views: 69
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Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

January 11, 2013
5:44 PM

Post #9382351

one thing i think we gardeners least in areas that cant garden all yr long..
is with the down time..we get to read up.. :)
one soil ammendment im reading on is a utah product.."ute-lite"
its gypsum. exposed to 2000 F temps it "pops" creating a light porus
soil guessing similar to perlite,pumice...
i cant find a source for a gardener like me where i could try it in some
of my potted plants..
i think next week i will call the company up and ask them."hey..why cant i
buy some (not a dump truck load)..??"
so.. wondered if anyone else has heard of it..used it..bought any,,where
you got it...
much thanks..
back to reading.. :)


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 11, 2013
7:47 PM

Post #9382437

Cool, I never heard of expanded gypsum. Just shale, clay and slate. And, of course, rockwool made from melted something-or-other (silicate?)

By the way, I re4cently read a claim debunking the old-fashioned claim that gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) helps to loosen and lighten clay soil.

The new claim was that gypsum only helps if the clay has a lot of salt (Sodium) in it.


Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

January 12, 2013
6:37 PM

Post #9383153

Calcined gypsum yields plaster of Paris, and wouldn't be suitable as a significant (structural) soil ingredient. The product you referred to is expanded shale, and expanded shales in the form of Haydite and others have been along for a very long time. The size of the product you're considering is the most important consideration in determining its suitability for inclusions in your soils, whether it's a garden/bed or container media.

Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

January 12, 2013
7:26 PM

Post #9383197

Having never heard of ute-lite I googled it and came up with this list of garden centers where one can buy it directly retail. Maybe this will have the quantities you are looking for. I am assuming they are Utah stores??? There seems to be a good bit of information about this product. And it says nothing about gypsum just that it is made from shale. I have neither clay nor sandy soil so probably would not find it that necessary but I am always interested in new finds for soil amendments.

This gives info about the products:

This lists some retail centers that carry the conditioner, builder and root zone mix:
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

January 13, 2013
7:58 AM

Post #9383535

u all here are super !!
when i run into dead ends someone here finds a new link,idea,info
on what im looking for..
much thanks !!! the gypsum thing wrong..thanks :)
with this as with ...mmm..other things..size matters..LOL :)
i know with my pumice use in potted plants..i get slightly larger
pieces..and rinse before adding to potting mix..
gardadore.. thanks to u .. i'll check out those links like to try this
product..or at least get some and see if its what i want to use..
again..much thanks..
and if anyone is using it..would like to know what u think of its use...???


Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

January 13, 2013
9:25 AM

Post #9383627

If you're using it in container media - you'll want material that ranges in size from about 3/32-3/16". I've used Haydite extensively, so I'm familiar with expanded shale - if you have specific questions. It's an ingredient that speaks to structure. For that reason its usefulness depends on finding it in an appropriate size for your intended use, and combining it with other ingredients in a size such that the ingredients compliment each other.

Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

January 13, 2013
9:57 AM

Post #9383658

thanks tapla..
i use perlite alot..but with all breaks down in one season
for me.. and.. i cant find a local source of "larger sized" perlite..
so when i read about utelite..and some of my concerns with perlite
would be taken care of with utelite i was intrigued..
size yes.. for my use the 1/4" to even a bit larger seems best in my pots..
especially for my amorphs,and EE's.. i do water more..but it keeps the
soil well drained.. in summer i do have to attend to even more..but the plants
seem to appreciate the good drainage..
i think the size you recommend 3/16" is what would work better for my tropical
amorphs though.. not allowing the pot to dry out to fast.. so very good observation.
and for my amaryllis too..
much thanks Al !!!!!
now this weather.. when is this bitter cold going away.. :)


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2013
4:02 PM

Post #9385049

3/32" = 0.09" = 2.4 mm

3/16" = 0.19" = 4.8 mm

1/4" = 0.25" = 6.35 mm
Madras, OR

January 20, 2013
6:55 PM

Post #9391794

Here is what the extension service in Wash State has to say about gypsum, scroll down to that link


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 21, 2013
2:15 PM

Post #9392707

That is a great page of debunking links.

However, in my case, it "re-bunked" gypsum for me. I have heavy clay soil, and this author supported the claim that gypsum can "improve the structure" of heavy clay soil. So I will keep dipping into the bag I bought, sprinkling a little each year.

(Some of these debunking pages seem to address lawns and landscaping only. I consider a lawn as wasted space that has not yet been turned into a raised bed! I garden.

re-wording that link a little:

- - - -
Use of gypsum is an agricultural practice misapplied to ornamental landscapes.

Gypsum effectively changes the structure and fertility of heavy clay soils, especially those that have been heavily weathered or intensively cropped.

Gypsum also improves sodic (saline) soils by removing sodium and replacing it with calcium.

Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2013
4:37 PM

Post #9392829

rick..dont give me ideas on my lawns..LOL
i hauled in truck loads of rock,soil,bricks..and created several
raised beds..all i need to do now is same in front yard..LOL :)


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 21, 2013
4:58 PM

Post #9392847

>> all i need to do now is same in front yard..LOL :)

I know that feeling too. First I built raised beds wherever I had sun and nothing much growing.

Then I chopped out the low-growing juniper wherever there was sun and replaced them with RBs.

Now I'm working on shady spots, and I cut one flowering bush way back to make room.

Then some tree fellers (they fell trees professionally, not 'three fellows') dropped part of a tree onto my back deck and broke a bunch of boards. It was kind of rotting anyway, so now that will become two raised beds plus one walkway.

I even encroached on a neighbor, after asking and getting permission. Then someone else moved in and I had to move everything back to my own yard! The move occurred just before the Lavatera bloomed and (wishfully) the reseeding and perennial Salvia emerged.

(The first photo shows both yards. Her side is the farthest-back, highest bed, just becoming established from a seed mix. The very last photo shows the beds on "my side" of the sidewalk. That one is still there. The last photo shows what her side looked like before and after. Mostly bare clay and weeds, a little scraggly grass.)

Both yards are part of a manufactured-home park, so neither of us owns the yard. We just rent the spaces.

It's a habit-forming obsession, rolling your own beds!

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