Soil Fertility

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  • soil fertility
    • organic matter
      • contains nutrients
      • retains moisture
      • improved structure
      • provides food for organisms
      • testing for organic matter content
        • weigh dry sample, burn at high temperature, reweigh
    • texture
      • clay
        • small pore spaces
          • can become waterlogged
          • negatively charged particles, retains nutrients
      • sand
        • large pore spaces, drains well
        • good root penetration
        • nutrients easily leached
      • silt
      • measure by sedimentation or soil sieve
        • soil triangle
    • water - nutrients dissolved in it
      • measure - weigh, evaporate the water and reweigh
    • pH - extreme conditions will denature root cell proteins
      • measure with barium and universal indicator
    • soil structure
      • crumb, blocky or platy peds
    • thermal capacity
      • water has high specific heat capacity, so wet soils retain heat
        • important for seed germination and biochemical reactions
    • aeration - for decomposition and nutrient recycling


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