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Soils

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Soils Eat, Drink and Breathe the Good Life Dr. Alan Stevens Kansas State University Soils Eat, Drink and Breathe the Good Life Dr. Alan Stevens Kansas State ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Soils


1
Soils
  • Eat, Drink and Breathe the Good Life
  • Dr. Alan Stevens Kansas State University

2
  • Grow the roots and the top will take care of
    itself
  • . . . . Old Willy

3
  • How to enable your plant roots to
  • eat, drink and breathe the good life

4
What does soil provide? Anchorage . . . hold
on Nutrients . . . . . Eat Water . . . . . . .
Drink Oxygen . . . . . breathe
5
  • Mineral Composition Particle Relative
    Diameter
  • Clay 1 x
  • Silt 100 x
  • Coarse Sand 10,000 x

6
  • Soil Texture
  • The relative proportion of clay,
  • silt, and sand particles present
  • in the soil.

7
Soil Textural Triangle illustrates 12 textural
classes
8
Soil Structure Clay, silt and sand particles
are organized (glued together) into aggregates
or soil structural units. How they are
organized within aggregates and the aggregates
organized within the soil influences water
movement and retention, aeration, nutrients, and
root growth.
9
Soil Structure
10
Soil Structure Think of a sugar cube.
Hundreds of individual grains of sugar glued
together to form an aggregate in the form of a
cube.
11
Soil Structure What happens if I step on the
sugar cube ? Can I put the sugar cube back
together ? What would be needed ? Glue !
12
Specific Surface Area a given volume of soil has
differing specific surface areas depending on the
proportion of clay, silt and sand in the soil.
Particle Specific Surface Area Clay
100,000 x Silt 100 x Coarse Sand 1
x
13
Specific Surface Area A thimble full of clay
particles has 100,000 times the surface area of
the same thimble filled with sand particles.
14
  • Specific Surface Area
  • Water holding capacity
  • Internal drainage
  • Runoff potential
  • Nutrient retention
  • Herbicide application

15
  • Porosity The size of pore spaces between
    soil particles determine the air and water
    characteristics of the soil.
  • Aggregated soils have excellent porosity.
  • Soils with excellent porosity have excellent
    permeability for air exchange, water movement,
    and root growth.

16
Aeration Drainage Not
because A comes before D
17
Photosynthesis Respiration Photosynthesis
Makes the food for the plant and stores it in
plant tissues. Requires water from the soil.
Respiration Breaks the food down into the basic
building blocks for plant health and growth.
Requires oxygen from the soil and gives off
carbon dioxide into the soil.
18
Soil Aeration Soils must contain sufficient
large pore space to allow oxygen to penetrate to
the deepest of roots and carbon dioxide to exit
from the soil.
19
Soil Aeration Get the good gas in and the bad gas
out
20
Soil Aeration Respiration Oxygen limited
roots are only 25 efficient Nutrient Uptake
Decreased levels of oxygen in the root zone
decrease the uptake of N, P, K, Zn, Cu, and
B Microbial Activity Oxygen deficient soils
have decreased numbers of beneficial organisms
and increased numbers of pathogenic organisms
Root Growth Oxygen deficiency or carbon
dioxide toxicity kills root cells Seed
Germination Germination is reduced when
oxygen levels are reduced
21
Aeration Management Promote soil particle
aggregation Maintain large, open pore spaces
Avoid destructive practices Dont smash the
sugar cubes ! If you must, then supply some
glue to reform them.
22
Aeration Management Maintain high organic
matter in the soil
23
Manage the soil to provide a healthy
environment for growth
24
Manage the soil for water uptake and gas exchange
25
  • Why do we
  • Use an aerator ? Verticut or dethatch ?
  • Topdress a lawn ?

26
What is the effect of a layer of mulch in a shrub
bed ? Can too much be a bad thing ?
27
Amendments to Garden Soils Organic materials
Compost Manure Peat moss Sand
Gypsum Other Snake oils
28
Grow the roots and the top will take care of
itself
29
Fertility Fertilizers Nitrogen Highly
soluble Leaches down out of root zone
Volatilizes Exits soil as a gas into
atmosphere One of three main fertilizer
elements Vegetative growth The addition of
nitrogen stimulates plant growth in ever
increasing amounts
30
  • Phosphorus
  • Relatively insoluble
  • Attaches strongly to soil particles
  • Used by the plant
  • One of three main fertilizer elements
  • Primary function is energy transfer within
    plant process
  • Is not responsible for stimulating flowering

31
Phosphorus Applying fertilizers
containing high percentages of phosphorus does
not increase flowering of plants in the
landscape! High P fertilizers only serve to
cause extraordinary high levels of P to build up
in the landscape over time. High P
fertilizers increase the pollution potential of
our landscapes.
32
Nitrogen/Phosphorus Ratio Is Nonsense!
Phosphorus has nothing to do with flowering! It
is the level of nitrogen that controls vegetative
growth vs. flowering The presence or absence of
excess nitrogen influences flowering!
33
Phosphorus A plant only needs sufficient
phosphorus to meet its needs. More than enough
is a waste and goes unused by the plant. The
unused phosphorus carries over in the soil. If
more is added next year, the buildup only
continues.
34
Fertilizer Apply only what the plant will
use Fertilize to maintain plant health and
controlled vigor Fertilize with knowledge of
what you are doing and the effect on plant growth
and pollution potential.
35
Enable your plants to eat, drink, and breathe the
good life !
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