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  • Writer's pictureAndy Hemmer

Diatomaceous Earth in Soil

soil amended with diatomaceous earth and other fertilizers

Gardening enthusiasts are always on the lookout for natural and effective ways to improve the health of their soil. One such hidden gem in the world of soil amendments is diatomaceous earth (DE). In this blog post, we will explore the wonders of diatomaceous earth in soil and delve into the scientific studies that support its efficacy.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Pile of diatomaceous earth on table

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock composed of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms. These microscopic diatoms have hard shells made of silica, which is the primary component of diatomaceous earth. DE comes in various forms, including powder and granules, and is widely used for a multitude of purposes, including pest control, water filtration, and soil improvement. For a more comprehensive look into what is diatomaceous earth, please click the link.

Diatomaceous Earth in Soil: A Natural Soil Amendment

diatomaceous earth being applied to garden soil
  1. Improves Soil Structure: Diatomaceous earth has a unique porous structure that can enhance soil aeration and drainage. When incorporated into the soil, DE particles create channels that allow for better water retention and root penetration. This improved structure is conducive to the overall health of plants.

  2. Nutrient Retention: DE has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), meaning it can hold onto essential nutrients and release them gradually to plant roots. This property contributes to better nutrient availability, promoting healthy plant growth.

  3. Natural Pest Control: In addition to its soil-enhancing properties, DE acts as a natural pest control agent. Its abrasive nature damages the exoskeletons of insects, leading to their dehydration and death. This dual function makes it an excellent choice for both soil improvement and pest management. For a more comprehensive look at how to use diatomaceous earth for pests, please click the link.

  4. pH Regulation: Diatomaceous earth is neutral in pH, making it an ideal choice for balancing soil acidity or alkalinity. This can be particularly beneficial for gardeners dealing with imbalances in their soil pH.

  5. Environmental Benefits: Unlike synthetic soil amendments, diatomaceous earth is a natural and eco-friendly option. Its use contributes to sustainable gardening practices, minimizing the environmental impact associated with chemical alternatives. Its amazing that diatomaceous earth combined with commercial fertilizer out-performs just using commercial fertilizer. This allows for less use of synthetic fertilizers. The University of Cundinamarca in Columbia released a study on the effect of diatomaceous earth as a sustainable alternative in commercial interest crops. Please click that link to check out the study!


Incorporating diatomaceous earth into your garden soil can be a game-changer, providing a range of benefits from improved structure and nutrient retention to natural pest control. The scientific studies cited in this blog post support the efficacy of diatomaceous earth in soil management, making it a reliable and sustainable choice for gardeners looking to boost the health of their plants and soil alike.

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