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Properties of Soil

Plant and Soil Science Standard 4 Objective 2. Properties of Soil. Objectives. Explain Soil Components Describe the physical characteristics of soil and soilless media Describe the biological activity within soil and soilless media

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Properties of Soil

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  1. Plant and Soil Science Standard 4 Objective 2 Properties of Soil

  2. Objectives • Explain Soil Components • Describe the physical characteristics of soil and soilless media • Describe the biological activity within soil and soilless media • Describe the chemical properties of soil and soilless media • Explain the characteristics of water movement in the soil and soilless media

  3. SOIL • Mixture of mineral matter, organic matter, water, and air. • Properties of soil

  4. Air25% Mineral Matter 45% Water 25% Organic Matter5% 4 Soil components • Average soils will contain45% minerals and 5% organic matter. • The components air and water equal the other 50%.

  5. Soil components • The two components Water and Air change depending on the amount of water or rain fall a soil receives. • The four parts of a soil: • mineral • organic matter (HUMUS) • water • air

  6. 5 Soil Formation Factors 1. Parent material-Thematerial that soils will be formed from. 2. Climatic factors* Most influential of the four factors. a. Temperature b. Rain c. Wind *Active factors

  7. Soil Formation Factors 3. Relief (topography)The elevation or slope of the land.Soil Formation Factors 4. Biota* (biosphere) All Living organisms in an environment 5. Time-The amount of time that materials have been weathered, determine the type of soil and it’s properties.

  8. Soil Profile • consists of 3 basic layers • topsoil • subsoil • soil bedrock

  9. Topsoil • represents depth normally plowed

  10. Subsoil • deep rooting plants send roots down into subsoil

  11. Master Horizons • O-(organic) formsabove the mineral soil. This horizon is usually found inforested areas. • A-This is the top soil. It is a dark humus layer where most plant rooting occurs

  12. Master Horizons • B-zone of illuviation or accumulation from zones above it. • C-parent material composed of wind-blown silt(loess),river deposits or glacial till, • R-Bedrock

  13. Soil • classified according to percentage of sand, silt, and clay they contain. • We call this Soil texture!

  14. Soil Physical Characteristics • What is Soil Texture? • It is the proportion of three sizes of soil particles. • Which are: • Sand (Large) • Silt (Medium) • Clay (Small)

  15. Soil Structure Soils have three different particle sizes The largest particles are sand. They range from 2.0-.005 mm in diameter

  16. Soil Structure Particles that are between.005-.002 mm in diameter are considered silt. The soil particles .002 mm in diameter and smaller are clay particles.

  17. Soil Texture • What is Sand? • It is the largest and is further divided into four subcategories. • They are: • Very coarse sand • Coarse sand • Medium sand • Fine Sand

  18. Soil Texture • Sand • it is the largest soil separate and is composed mainly of weathered grains of quartz. • Sand is also gritty to the touch. • Sand grains will not stick to each other. • silt and clay make up less than 20% by weight • drain well • little water holding capacity

  19. Soil Texture • Sand • What will sand do to the soil? • It will improve the soil by improving the water infiltration and aeration

  20. Soil Texture • Silt • is the medium sized soil separated. • Silt particles are silky or powdery to the touch • Silt grains will not stick to one another just like sand grains. • Silt is the best soil as it has the ability to hold large amounts of water in a form plants can use.

  21. Soil Texture • Clay • is the smallest size soil separate. • It is composed of tiny crystals • Clay is formed by chemical reactions between weathered minerals to form tiny particle of new minerals. • Clay will hold more plant nutrients than any other separate. • Clay grains will stick to one another. • must contain at least 30% clay • holds more moisture than is good for plants • poor drainage

  22. Loamy Soil • most desirable soil • equal parts sand, silt and clay

  23. Soil Texture

  24. Soil Texture • There are 12 textural classes which can be seen in the next slide.

  25. Soil Texture • Pass out picture of triangle and lets see if we can classify some soils.

  26. Soil Texture • 1. • 40% sand 22% clay and 38% silt • What is the soil classified as?

  27. Soil Texture • 2. • 30% sand 30 % clay and 40 % silt • What is it?

  28. Soil Texture • 3. • 40% sand 10 % clay and 50% silt • What is it?

  29. Soil Texture • 4. • 40 % sand 30% clay and 30% silt. • What is it?

  30. Soil Texture • Ribbon Method • See if you can make a ribbon and with which one? • Which one feels grittiest? • Which one feel powdery? • Soil Sedimentation Method • Place soil in a jar • Mix soil and water • Let it settle

  31. Time for a lab • Before we begin put everything away (this could get a little dirty) • Pick up lab sheets • Soil Texture by Feel Answer Sheet • Soil Texture Flow Chart • You will need to texture each of the four samples of soil • Keep your area as clean as possible

  32. Biological Properties • The Soil Ecosystem • Interaction of biotic andabiotic factors in a soil environment. The process of organisms growing and decomposing.

  33. Chemical Properties • Important for plant growth and availability of nutrients • Dissolved mineral salts determine soils • Acidity: pH of less than 7.0 • Alkalinity: pH of more than 7.0 • Neutrality: pH of 7.0

  34. Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) • Total number of exchangeable cations soil can hold (amount of its negative charge) • Depends on amounts and kinds of clay and organic matter present • Increases as organic matter increases

  35. Properties of Soil Clays Clay particles are stacked in layers like sheets of paper. Each clay sheet is slightly separated from those on either side. Each sheet has negative charges on it. Negative charges have to be balanced by positive charges called cations. 1/20,000 in

  36. Cation Retention onOrganic Matter Hydrogen Nutrients Increasing pH increases cation exchange capacity of organic matter Neutral pH, 7 (“sweet” soil) Low pH, 4 - 5 (acidic soil)

  37. Cation Exchange Capacity • Cation exchange capacity (CEC) is the total amount of cations that a soil can retain • The higher the soil CEC the greater ability it has to store plant nutrients • Soil CEC increases as • The amount of clay increases • The amount of organic matter increases • The soil pH increases

  38. Transportation of Soils • Gravity-colluvial • water • stream-alluvial • ocean-marine • lake-lacustrine • ice -glacial • wind-aeolian

  39. Erosion • One of the largest environmental problems stemming from agriculture is erosion. • Erosion lowers productivity because of the loss of topsoil.

  40. Erosion Prevention/Reduction • 1. Minimum or No till farming-Leaving stubble in the fields to hold soil and planting over it. • 2. Terracing-Planting crops in a zig-zag formation.

  41. Erosion Prevention/Reduction 3. Leave crop residue to cover the soil! Utilize mulches! 4. Use cover crops! Use windbreaks. Use contour farming and strip cropping.

  42. Types of Water in Soil Gravitational water is water that soil is unable to hold Capillary water is held against the force of gravity Free moving capillary water Moves in all directions

  43. Types of Water in Soil • Capillary water is held against the force of gravity • Available capillary water (field capacity) • Water left after capillary movement stops • Unavailable capillary water • Water not available to plants

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