Factor Affecting Soil Fertility To Maintain Soil Health
For an ordinary person, the soil is “like dirt.” A wise farmer or rancher will take care of the soil because he knows how important the top 6 inches of soil is to survive. People often don’t pay attention to soil in the plant-animal-soil continuum because it doesn’t clearly show stress. Animals and plants show signs of stress in physical health. But you must look at the soil more attentively to track good health. Knowing factor affecting soil fertility is crucial to maintaining soil health. Soil feeds the plants, which in turn feed the animals that feed us, which feed us.
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Moreover, Some people don’t know much about soil fertility, though the soil health is very crucial to crop production. for most people soil is just part of the ground that grows plants, trees, and crops.
Few people know that many things impact and affect the soil fertility that determines success of crop production. So here we present you this article for understanding factor affecting soil fertility.
Meaning And Types Of Soil Fertility
Soil fertility is the ability of the soil to make nutrients available to the crops that grow in it. As the plants grow, they need certain nutrients, but they don’t want too many toxic. It is a soil property that can change with various factor affecting soil fertility.
Furthermore, It is very important to manage soil fertility to ensure that crops get the nutrition for optimum crop production. Soil fertility is the key to making farming more sustainable. Likewise, Knowing types of soil fertility is helpful in understanding factor affecting soil fertility.
The soil itself has nutrients, and part of them is ‘inherent fertility.’ The inherent fertility has a limiting factor from which fertility is not decreased.
Likewise, soil fertility develops by external application of manure, fertilizer, tillage, irrigation, and so on is “acquired fertility.” The acquired fertility also has limitations. Experiments show that just adding more fertilizer doesn’t make a big difference in the yield.
Physical Factor Affecting Soil Fertility
It refers to the relative proportions of the various size groups of individual particles or grains in soil. The minerals of different sizes are responsible for maintaining the structure of the soil.
In general Sand, Silt, and clay are three major types of soil particles. It is a crucial factor affecting soil fertility as it influences several other soil properties. Those are density, porosity, water and nutrient retention, organic matter decomposition, infiltration, etc.
Sand particles promote drainage and entry of air into the soil. It cannot hold the water and nutrients in the soil. Especially sand is important for aeration in soil.
While Silt retains more water and nutrients than sand. Therefore soils dominated by silt particles have a high fertility status. Moreover, It provides appropriate conditions for the plant’s growth when other growth factors are favourable.
On the other hand, pores between clay particles are very small and complex, so air and water movement are very slow. This factor affecting soil fertility can attract and hold positively charged ions. This characteristic is important because many important plant nutrients are positively charged ions. For example, Calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The term soil structure describes how soil particles (sand, Silt, and clay) are grouped into aggregates. An ideal soil structure for plant growth is often granular or crumb-like. It is because it provides good movement for air and water through various pore sizes, and it also affects root penetration. This factor affects soil fertility when the ideal is stable and resistant to erosion.
Water Retention Capacity
Water holding capacity refers to the quantity of water that the soil can store for use by plants. The capacity for water storage varies, depending on soil properties. These are organic matter, soil texture, bulk density, and soil structure, which affect water retention and the depth of the root zone. This factor affecting soil fertility is directly related to moisture availability for plants.
Chemical Factor Affecting Soil Fertility
Soil pH is an important property that affects several soil reactions and processes. This factor affecting soil fertility impacts soil processes like ion-exchange reactions and nutrient availability.
Soil pH measurement is on a scale of 0 to 14, where a pH of 7.0 is neutral, readings higher than 7.0 are alkaline, and readings lower than 7.0 are acidic. Most plants tolerate a fairly wide pH of 5.5-6.5, representing the middle range.
Plants require water, air, light, suitable temperature, and 18 essential nutrients to grow. Each is equally important to the plant, yet each is required in vastly different amounts. Essential elements have two categories based on These differences. They are macronutrients (primary and secondary) and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are those that plants demand at relatively high levels for plant nutrition. Plants need this factor affecting soil fertility in the greatest total quantity as fertilizer.
Macronutrients play a role in the important metabolic process of plants. A few examples include Nitrogen for Chlorophyll, Phosphorus for Photosynthesis, Potassium for enzyme activity, and Calcium for cell growth.
Unlike macronutrients, Plants need Micronutrients only in trace amounts and include iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chloride (Cl). Plants need These factor affect soil fertility in very small amounts. But they are just as important to plant development and profitable crop production as the major nutrients.
The importance of micro-elements in plant nutrition is high, and you should not neglect them. The following are a few essential micronutrients and their role in plant growth: Boron for reproduction; Chlorine for root growth; Copper for enzyme activation.
Biological Factor Affecting Soil Fertility
Soil organic matter consists of a wide range of organic substances, including living organisms, remains of organisms, and organic compounds produced by current and past metabolism in the soil. This factor affects soil fertility and supplies available plant nutrients (N, P, and S). Further, It augments the soil’s cation exchange capacity and is food for soil organisms from bacteria to worms.
Organic matter is an important element in the nutrient and carbon cycles. Organic matter, like clay, has a high surface area and has a negative charge making it an excellent supplier of nutrients to plants. In addition, as this factor affecting soil fertility decomposes, it releases nutrients such as N, P, and S that are bound in the organic matter’s structure. Hence, It imitates as a slow-release fertilizer.
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Various types of organism live in the soil. This factor affecting soil fertility brings the unavailable nutrients into the available form. Different types of bacteria, fungi and algae live in the soil.
Further, nitrifying bacteria fix nitrogen from air. Consequently, adequate microorganisms are one of the most important signs of healthy soil.
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People who grow plants and crops on top of a loose layer of land need to make sure the soil is healthy. The health of the soil and the amount of fertilizer it has are very important to how well plants and crops can grow for both humans and animals. In addition to that Fertile soil results in high yield and better quality of plants. Hence, If you want to maintain the fertility of the soil, it is important to understand factor affecting soil fertility. It helps in selective modification in soil for the good health of soil, plants, and animals. Therefore, consider above mentioned factors affecting soil fertility to manage the soil health.
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