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Does applying chalk to the soil harm soil life?

Hey y’all!

I’m working in Chinandega, Nicaragua, and we have a lot of problems with soil-borne pathogens and insects. The local ag folks suggest applying chalk to the soil to kill off fungi and deter grubs and gusanos alambres, but I haven’t been able to find a lot of literature backing that up. Does anyone have experience with this or know what other effects chalk might have on the soil?

Thanks so much!

Well, nobody has replied to you for a week. I suspect that it is because your question raises all kinds of preliminary issues.

IF you have tested your soil and you find you have a seriously acid soil, and IF you intend to plant something that does not like an acid soil, and IF you have taken advice from “ag people” as you call them who are really experts and have seen and know your soil [and tested it or assessed it by looking at its history of growing and what grows there now], and IF you have found the grubs and wireworms do not respond to other solutions such as crop rotation or digging and raking combined with poultry, and IF you have some special reason for killing off fungi [which are usually important for soil health, and IF the area involved is too large for intensive measures such as soil heating with plastic sheeting, and IF … etc etc.

In other words, nobody would lime for just pest removal without using lime for adjusting soil pH or improving some clay soils with poor profiles. And yes chalk will kill pests but also beneficials as well.