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Soil n composed of sand, silt, and clay, organic matter, living organisms, and pore spaces
Soil n classified according to percentage of sand, silt, and clay they contain.
Soil Particles n vary greatly in size n sand is the largest n silt - medium n clay - smallest
Clay n particles hold moisture and plant food elements more effectively than larger particles.
Soil Profile n consists of 3 basic layers n topsoil n subsoil n soil bedrock
Topsoil n represents depth normally plowed
Subsoil n deep rooting plants send roots down into subsoil
Sandy Soil n silt and clay make up less than 20% by weight n drain well n little water holding capacity
Clayey Soil n must contain at least 30% clay n holds more moisture than is good for plants n poor drainage
Loamy Soil n most desirable soil n equal parts sand, silt and clay
Soil Improvement n Drainage – change soil structure –add organic matter to encourage earth worms
Worms n their tunnels and castings result in better soil structure - aggregation - clinging together
Drainage n drainage tiles n raise planting beds n ditching between beds
Moisture retention n adding organic matter (o.m.) n sources of o.m. n animal manure n green manure - crop grown and plowed under to improve the soil
Sources of O.M. n peat moss n sawdust n mulches - compost or wood chips
Mulches n placed on the surface to help retain moisture n reduce runoff and evaporation n reduce weeds
Moisture retention n irrigation
Fertilizing n fertilize according to soil test results
Diseases n plant resistant varieties n chemicals n soil pasteurization –heat to 180 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Nutritional deficiencies n show on leaves of plants n Nitrogen - pale green leaves n Phosphorus - purple color on underside of leaves
Planting Media Mixes n Soil less mixes n advantages include : uniformity - doesnt vary in pH, fertility or texture
advantages n sterile n lightweight n good moisture retention and drainage n free of weed seeds
disadvantages n light weight - pots tip in strong wind n minor elements are missing n transplants may not adjust well to new media
Content of mixes n perlite n improve aeration n volcanic origin
Vermiculite n exploded Mica n improves aeration
Plant food and fertilizers n divided into two groups n Major elements (macro) n Nitrogen - N n Phosphorus - P n Potassium - K
minor elements (micro) n Calcium - Ca n Magnesium - mg n Sulfur - S n Iron - Fe
minor elements (micro) n Manganese - Mn n Boron - B n Copper - Cu n Zinc - Zn
Plant requirements n large amounts of major elements n relatively small amounts of minor elements
Commercial fertilizers n shows % or pounds per cwt. (100#) of the three major elements in large numbers on the container or bag.
Commercial fertilizers n n 5% N, 10% P, 5% K n remaining 80% is filler n NP&K are always listed in that order.
Soil tests n determine amount of elements needed for various plants.
Nitrogen n generally purchased in one of four forms n Nitrate of soda n ammonium nitrate
Nitrogen n ammonium sulfate n urea formaldehyde
Nitrogen n has most noticeable effect on plants n encourages above ground vegetative growth n regulates use of other elements
Too much N n lower disease resistance n weaken stem because of long soft growth n lower fruit quality
Too much N n delay maturity n increase winter damage to plants
Not enough N n yellow or light green color n stunted root and top growth
N lost easily from soil n leaching - being filtered down through soil with water n not held by soil particles, dissolved in water n O.M. holds insoluble N for slow release
Dont use excess N n quickly lost through leaching n can damage plants
Phosphorous n held tightly by soil particles n not easily leached
Phosphorous n effects plants in several ways n encourage cell division
Phosphorous n flowers and seeds dont form without it n hastens maturity, offsetting quick growth caused by N.
Phosphorous n encourage root growth n makes K more available n increase disease resistance n improves quality of grain, root and fruit crops
Phosphorous n container plants can be damaged by excess P n increases soluble salt content of medium n causes dehydration of roots
Phosphorous n Insufficient P n purple color on underside of leaf n reduced flower fruit and seed production
Insufficient P n susceptibility to cold injury n susceptibility to plant diseases n poor quality fruit and seeds
Potassium n modifies both fast soft growth of N and early maturity of P n is essential
Potassium n increase disease resistance n encourages healthy root systems n essential for starch formation
Potassium n development of chlorophyll n efficient use of CO2
Insufficient K n leaves appear dry and scorched with irregular yellow areas on the surface
Lime n CaCO3- Calcium Carbonate n acts as a plant food n affects soil acidity n soil acidity affects availability of plant food elements
Lime n furnishes Calcium
pH n measure of acidity or alkalinity n pH scale - runs from n most plants grow best from
pH n 7.0 is neutral n pH of 7 or above is alkaline or basic n pH below 7 is acidic
pH n as numbers decrease, solution becomes more acidic. n As numbers increase, solution becomes more basic or alkaline
pH n if soil is too acidic, lime is added to raise the pH n if soil is too alkaline, sulfur is added
Above ground environment n temperature n some plants prefer cool weather n some plants prefer warm weather
Temperature n there are temperatures above and below which plants stop growth n generally, plant growth rate increases as temps increase up to about 90 degrees
Light n must be present before plants can manufacture food n plants vary in light requirement n effects flowering
Photoperiodism n response to different periods of day and night in terms of growth and maturity
Photoperiodism n short day plants n chrysanthemum and Christmas Cactus n bloom when days are short and nights are long
Photoperiodism n long day plants n lettuce and radishes n bloom when days are long and nights are short
Photoperiodism n day length indifferent n do not depend on length of light or darkness n African Violet and tomato
Phototropism n plants appear to grow towards the sun or light source
Humidity n moisture level of the air n most plants grow best in % RH n Relative Humidity
Humidity n too high humidity may cause the spread of fungus diseases
Plant diseases and Insects n reduce production n lower fruit and vegetable quality
Gases and Air Particles n CO2 is vital to plants for Ps n Air pollutants can cause damage
Air Pollutants n Sulfur Dioxide - SO2 - from burning coal n Carbon Monoxide - CO - exhaust from cars
Carbon Monoxide n reduces plant growth n can kill plants
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