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Plant Environment: Soil

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Plant Environment: Soil. Components of soil. Weathered rocks (particles). Soil. Decomposing organic matter. Spaces containing water an air. Living organisms (particularly bacteria, fungi, protists). Functions for plants. Substance in which to anchor plants.

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plant environment soil
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Components of soil
  • Weathered rocks (particles)
  • Soil
  • Decomposing organic matter
  • Spaces containing water an air
  • Living organisms (particularly bacteria, fungi, protists)
  • Functions for plants
  • Substance in which to anchor plants
  • Source of mineral elements (except C)
  • Source of water and oxygen
plant environment soil1
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Mineralsoils = soils with less than 20% organic matter
  • Texture characteristics
  • Mineral soil
  • Based on relative amounts of sand, silt and clay
  • Sand: large mineral particles (course grain)
  • Silt: medium mineral particles (medium grain)
  • Clay: small, flat mineral particles (fine grain)
plant environment soil2
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Texture types used for horticulture
  • Sand (> 70% sand)
  • Mineral soil
  • Water drains through quickly; vulnerable to drought
  • Little organic matter
  • Lose nutrients quickly
  • Sandy loam (> 50% sand with remainder silt and clay)
  • Enough silt and clay to hold water and nutrients
  • Warm quickly in spring (used for early-season crops)
plant environment soil3

Good for apples

Plant Environment: Soil
  • Texture types used for horticulture
  • Loam (about same amount of all particle types)
  • Mineral soil
  • Good drainage, but with adequate nutrient and water retention
  • Horticulturally productive soils
  • Silt Loam (> 50% silt, remainder sand and clay)
  • Smooth, flour-like soil
  • Hold large amounts of water
plant environment soil4
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Texture types used for horticulture
  • Clay (> 50% clay, remainder sand and silt)
  • Mineral soil
  • Poor drainage, poor aeration, easily compacted
  • Poor for horticultural production
plant environment soil5
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Texture and water movement
  • Water moves between soil particles down through soil
  • Mineral soil
  • Abrupt changes in soil texture stop flow of water through soil
  • Water accumulates above change in texture (= perchedwatertable)
  • Perched water table inhibits root growth (no oxygen)
  • Avoid perched water tables by mixing different soil textures (for potted plants, transplanting trees)
plant environment soil6
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Soil with more than 20% organic matter
  • Muck soil (highly decomposed)
  • Organic soils
  • Peat (slightly decomposed)
  • Usually formed under long-term conditions of excess moisture
  • sphagnum peat main component of potting mixes
  • Greatly improved water holding of soil
plant environment soil7
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Soil pH not constant; changes with fertilizers, irrigation
  • Soil pH
  • soil pH influences plant growth by:
  • Altering nutrient availability (e.g. several micronutrients most soluble at low pH; several macronutrients least soluble at low pH)
  • Influencing soil microorganisms (e.g. potato grown in acidic soil to escape fungal pathogen)
  • Direct effects of acidification (most plants can tolerate relatively low soil pH)
plant environment soil8
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Effective ways to prevent erosion of topsoil and leaching of nutrients
  • Soil management
  • Plant cover crops in winter
  • Maintain wind breaks; trees and shrubs along edges of agricultural fields
  • Special planting methods such as contour planting, terracing on slopes, no tillage, mulches
plant environment soil9
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Most field soils not appropriate for containers
  • Not free of toxic substances and undesirable organisms
  • Media used in containers
  • Become compacted with repeated waterings
  • Soilless potting mixes used in most greenhouses:
  • Sphagnum peat
  • Partly decomposed bark
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite
plant environment soil10
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Advantages of using mulch
  • Water conservation (reduce evaporative water loss)
  • Mulch
  • Weed control
  • Temperature modification (reduce temperature fluctuations)
  • Protect soil from erosion
  • Improve soil structure as mulch decays
  • Retain nutrients
  • Reduce some insect pests (aphids avoid white plastic mulch)
  • Hydroseeding of turf
plant environment soil11
Plant Environment: Soil
  • Nonorganic
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Types of Mulch
  • Black used to prevent growth of weeds and heat soil
  • Used for high-value crops (e.g. strawberries, tomatoes)
  • Organic
  • Straw, wood chips, shredded bark, dry pine leaves
  • Provides organic matter as decomposes; aggregates soil particles and improves drainage and aeration (but must add N for microbes)
  • Blocks light and therefore controls weed growth
  • Reduces soil erosion and nutrient leaching
  • Reduces soil temperature