H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
ARTICLE PAGES:Build a Brick Barbecue
B&Q BUYERS GUIDES:Barbecues
Garden Care & Watering
Garden Tools & Equipment
Soil Types - Soil Quality Analysis
Soil Acidity (pH) - Soil Fertility and Organic Matter
In terms of Soil Quality Analysis; soil texture, soil type usually refers to the different sizes of mineral particles in a particular sample. Soil is made up in part of finely ground rock particles, grouped according to size as sand, silt and clay. Each size plays a significantly different role.
For example, the largest particles, sand, determine aeration and drainage characteristics, while the tiniest, sub-microscopic clay particles, are chemically active, binding with water and plant nutrients. The ratio of these sizes determines soil type: clay, loam, clay-loam, silt-loam, and so on.
Soil Acidity or pH reading
The pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of soil in a solution. An acid solution has a pH value less than 7. While a basic solution always has a pH larger than 7, an alkaline solution (i.e. a solution with positive acid neutralizing capacity) does not necessarily have a pH larger than 7.
Soil pH is an important consideration for gardeners for several reasons; as many plants and soil life forms prefer either alkaline or acidic conditions, some diseases tend to thrive when the soil is alkaline or acidic or the pH can affect the availability of nutrients in the soil.
In addition to the pH the mineral composition of soil; Soil Fertility and Organic Matter, known as humus also plays a crucial role in soil characteristics and soil fertility for plant life. Soil may be mixed with larger aggregate, such as pebbles or gravel. Not all Soil Types are permeable, such as pure clay, which can be used for lining ponds.
There are many recognized soil classifications, both international and national.
Soil conditioning - In a newly landscaped area or garden, freshly excavated subsoil and topsoil need to be managed and depending on ratio of aggregate, sand, clay and humus balances need to be created. Of course soil acidity or alkalinity should be taken into account as well bearing in mind the existing native soil. When planting container grown trees, shrubs and plants be sure to establish an area twice the size high and wide of any plant potential root ball size. Also, in conditioning the soil thoroughly before planting anything enables the plant to establish itself quickly and so play their part in the garden design. Since it is likely that native plants prefer an impoverished soil, the closer to their natural habitat they are in the garden, the better, a poor soil is probably better to manage than a rich soil that has been artificially managed.