Soil Properties

Soil Properties

SOIL PROPERTIES Unit 5.02 SOIL PROFILE Soil layers are called horizons O Horizon A Horizon

B Horizon C Horizon R Horizon SOIL PROFILE SOIL PROFILE

O Horizon Rich in organic matter in various stages of decomposition Dark in color Most fertile layer in soil profile SOIL PROFILE

A Horizon Is the topsoil Lies just below the O Horizon Home to earthworms and soil organisms Brown in color due to organic matter in the soil SOIL PROFILE

B Horizon Is the subsoil Is a clayey soil with a high mineral content Usually brown or reddish due to the large amount of clay SOIL PROFILE

C Horizon Is parent material Consists mainly of clumps of un-weathered rocks SOIL PROFILE R Horizon Is bed rock

Cannot be dug by hand and very few roots can penetrate the bedrock SOIL PROFILE FOLDABLE Use construction paper and markers/crayons/colored

pencils to show the layers of soil. Fold paper hotdog style. Open paper and draw the horizons. Cut a flap for each horizon. Write the horizon names on

the top flaps and the SOIL TEXTURE Sand Silt Clay Loam

SOIL TEXTURE Sand Largest particles Low moisture and nutrient holding capacity SOIL TEXTURE

Silt Medium sized particles Good moisture and nutrient holding capacity SOIL TEXTURE Clay Smallest size particles

High water and nutrient holding capacity SOIL TEXTURE Loam Equal parts of sand, silt, clay Ideal texture for most non container outside plants

SOIL STRUCTURE Refers to how the soil particles fit together Sandy soils typically have a loose soil structure Silty soils have a granular soil structure (best for plants) Clayey soils have a blocky or platy structure

SOIL STRUCTURE Sandy single grain SOIL STRUCTURE Silty - granular

SOIL STRUCTURE Clayey blocky or platy PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SOILS Permeability is the rate at which water moves through the soil Water holding capacity is the ability of a soil to

hold water for plant use Porosity is the amount of air space between soil particles PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SOILS 50% of soil should be PORE SPACE 25% water space

25% air space 50% of soil should be SOIL PARTICLES 45% mineral matter 5% organic matter PROFILING SOIL

SOIL PH Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of soils Soil pH ranges from 0-14 7 is neutral The ideal pH value for vegetable gardens are

5.5-7 SOIL PH Acidic Soils 0-6 (low pH) is considered an acid soil Lime can be added to raise the pH value and make it less acidic

SOIL PH Basic Soils 8-14 (high pH) is considered an alkaline soil Calcium or sulfur can be added to lower the pH value and make it more acidic

SOIL SAMPLING Soil sampling and testing is essential for an accurate fertilizer recommendation for growing plants For gardens and landscapes, take 5-10 subsamples from the site to be evaluated Sample before the growing season

SOIL SAMPLING Soil sampling procedures Create a visual grid of the area to be planted Use a stainless steel soil-sampling probe Take the surface sample to tillage depth or about 4 for lawns and 6-8 for crops Mix the soil samples together

Remove any grass, rocks, or other materials not soil Avoid unusual spots in the lawn or field (those areas can be sampled and sent separately) Place soil samples in a box (provided by your County Extension Office) and send in with a Soil Sample Information sheet to the Agronomic Division Soil Test Lab in Raleigh for a free soil test

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