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Soil Erosion: Water Moves Soil!. Horizon “O”: Organic Layer All soils do not have this Found beneath vegetation Contributes OM to all other layers Horizon “A”: Topsoil Other than location, no “official” or regulated definition Critical to plant growth Critical to landscape success

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Soil horizons

Horizon “O”: Organic Layer

All soils do not have this

Found beneath vegetation

Contributes OM to all other layers

Horizon “A”: Topsoil

Other than location, no “official” or regulated definition

Critical to plant growth

Critical to landscape success

Should be removed prior to construction and stock piled on site

Horizon “B”: Subsoil (a transition zone)

Much of the exposed soil in areas where construction has occurred

May contain accumulated soluble salts beneath cultivated areas

Horizon “C”: Parent Material

Little or no soil development.

Usually contains various sized rocks

Horizon “D”: Bedrock

You Get What You Pay For

Soil Horizons

What is Topsoil?

Poison Hemlock!


Soil properties

Physical Properties

Soil Horizons

Soil Texture, Consistency, & Structure

Soil Compaction (Bulk Density)

Soil Moisture

Chemical Properties

pH

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)

Biological Properties

Microorganisms

bacteria

fungi (e.g. mycorrhizas)

protozoa

nematodes

Macroorganisms

arthropods

earthworms

nematodes

Decomposition / Nutrient Recycling

Aeration

Aggregation (e.g. “microbial glue”)

Biological

Chemical

Physical

Soil Properties:

SOIL TEXTURE

pH

CEC

SOIL MOISTURE

SQUIRMEES

SOIL STRUCTURE

They Are Not Independent!



Trouble on the horizon

Topsoil

A:

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

Trouble on the Horizon

Organic

O:

Squeeze Play!

Note: Topsoil Remains, but it is compressed

COMPACTION!



Characteristics of soil compaction
Characteristics of Soil Compaction:

  • Impermeable (hard!) soil:

    • High resistance to water penetration and movement (low infiltration and drainage)

    • High resistance to root penetration

  • Low Water Holding Capacity

  • Low Oxygen Holding Capacity


Root needs
Root Needs

  • Water

  • Warmth

  • Oxygen [O]: the #1 element needed for root health

    • 25% of the soil volume

    • At 5%, root growth stops

    • At 2%, roots decline and die


Soil structure and compaction

Mineral Particles: 45%

Mineral Particles: 75%

Air: 25%

Air: 12%

Water: 25%

Organic Matter: 5%

Water: 12%

Organic Matter: 1%

Soil Structure and Compaction

Good Soil Structure

Poor Soil Structure

Soil Pores

Soil Pores


Your soil may not be compacted

Your Soil May Not be Compacted

Several Soil Problems Mimic the Characteristics of

Soil Compaction


Trouble on the horizon2

Topsoil

A:

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

Trouble on the Horizon

Organic

O:

Gone in 60 Seconds

Exposed Subsoil: Mimics Compacted Soil!


Trouble on the horizon3
Trouble on the Horizon

Topsoil Removed

Topsoil Stockpiled


Trouble on the horizon4
Trouble on the Horizon

Only 2-3” of topsoil returned!



Subsurface plow compaction zone

Topsoil

A:

Compaction Zone

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

Subsurface Plow Compaction Zone:

Organic

O:


Subsurface tilling compaction zone

Topsoil

A:

Compaction Zone

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

Subsurface Tilling Compaction Zone:

Organic

O:


Subsurface rototiller compaction zone
Subsurface Rototiller Compaction Zone

Front Tines

Weight

Weight

Rear Tines


Built on a farm field1
Built on a Farm Field?

Plowing: Washing-Out Clay Particles


False clay layer horizon
“False” Clay-Layer Horizon

Illuviation: Deposition of Particles in Lower Level

Eluviation: Downward Movement of Soil Particles by Water

Clay Particles


False clay layer horizon1

Topsoil

A:

Clay Layer

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

Perched Water Table:

“False” Clay-Layer Horizon:

MORE WATER

WATER

Organic

O:


Upside down soils

Topsoil

A:

Clay Layer

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

"Upside-Down Soils:

Acts Like Compacted Soil!

Organic

O:


Upside down soils1
“Upside-Down” Soils:

Lower layers are brought to the surface


Upside down soils2

Clay Layer

Subsoil

B:

Parent Material

C:

Bedrock

D:

"Upside-Down Soils:

Note: some topsoil may remain beneath the false clay layer



Other soil perspectives

Other Soil Perspectives Compaction Zone:

A really big guy?

…or just a small shovel?


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