Soil Characteristics. Soil. a layer of natural materials on the earth’s surface containign both organic and inorganic materials and capable of supporting plant life. Soil. The material covers the earth’s surface in a thin layer.
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Purposes of organic matter: affects the soil structure by serving as a cementing agent, returns plant nutrients to soil (P, S, N), helps store soil moisture, makes soil more tillable for farming, provides food (energy) for soil microorganisms, which makes the soil capable of plant production