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IRISH KATE C.

CAASI BSAE 3E

1. Give 3 Importance of Soil

Besides facilitating plant growth, soils play a huge role in agriculture and the food
industry
Soils are important for agriculture mainly because many of the crops we eat, like
corn, fruits, and some vegetables are planted and grown in soil
Analyzing soils help the farmers to determine which soils are the most fertile, and
will produce the best crops

2. Define and give the 3 types of soil texture

Soil Texture - Texture indicates the relative content of particles of various sizes,
such as sand, silt and clay in the soil. Texture influences the ease with which soil can
be worked, the amount of water and air it holds, and the rate at which water can
enter and move through soil.

Sand
Individual rock or mineral fragments in a soil that range from 0.05 to 2.0
millimeters in diameter. Most sand grains consist of quartz, but they can be of
any mineral composition. Sand is also the textural class name of any soil that
contains 85 percent or more sand and no more than 10 percent clay.
Silt
A soil inorganic separate in the range of 2 to 50 micrometers (or 0.002 to 0.05
mm.). Silt is smaller than sand but larger than clay.
Clay
As a soil separate, clay refers to mineral soil particles which are less than 0.02
millimeters in diameter. As a soil textural class, clay refers to soil material that is
40 percent or more clay, less than 45 percent sand, and less than 40 percent silt.

3. Define and give the 4 types of soil structure

Soil Structure - Soil conditions and characteristics such as water movement, heat
transfer, aeration, and porosity are much influenced by structure. In fact, the
important physical changes imposed by the farmer in ploughing, cultivating, draining,
liming, and manuring his land are structural rather than textural.

Plate-like (Platy)
In this type, the aggregates are arranged in relatively thin horizontal plates or
leaflets. The horizontal axis or dimensions are larger than the vertical axis. When
the units/ layers are thick they are called platy. When they are thin then it is
laminar.

Prism-like: The vertical axis is more developed than horizontal, giving a pillar
like shape. Vary in length from 1- 10 cm. commonly occur in sub soil horizons of
Arid and Semi-arid regions. When the tops are rounded, the structure is termed
as columnar when the tops are flat / plane, level and clear cut prismatic.

Block like: All three dimensions are about the same size. The aggregates have
been reduced to blocks. Irregularly six faced with their three dimensions more or
less equal.

Spheroidal (Sphere like): All rounded aggregates (peds) may be placed in this
category. Not exceeding an inch in diameter. These rounded complexes usually
loosely arranged and readily separated. When wetted, the intervening spaces
generally are not closed so readily by swelling as may be the case with a blocky
structural condition.

4. Define Topography

Topography - is a detailed map of the surface features of land. It includes the
mountains, hills, creeks, and other bumps and lumps on a particular hunk of earth.

5. Define Soil pH

Soil pH is an indication of the acidity or alkalinity of soil and is measured in pH
units. Soil pH is defined as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration.
The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with pH 7 as the neutral point. As the amount of
hydrogen ions in the soil increases the soil pH decreases thus becoming more acidic.
From pH 7 to 0 the soil is increasingly more acidic and from pH 7 to 14 the soil is
increasingly more alkaline or basic.

6. Cation Exchange Capacity

Cations held on the clay and organic matter particles in soils can be replaced by
other cations; thus, they are exchangeable. For instance, potassium can be replaced
by cations such as calcium or hydrogen, and vice versa.
The total number of cations a soil can hold--or its total negative charge--is the soil's
cation exchange capacity. The higher the CEC, the higher the negative charge and
the more cations that can be held.
CEC is measured in millequivalents per 100 grams of soil (meq/100g). A meq is the
number of ions which total a specific quantity of electrical charges. In the case of
potassium (K
+
), for example, a meq of K ions is approximately 6 x 10
20
positive
charges. With calcium, on the other hand, a meq of Ca
++
is also 6 x 10
20
positive
charges, but only 3 x 10
20
ions because each Ca ion has two positive charges.

7. Anion Exchange Capacity

Anion exchange arise from the protonation of hydroxyl groups on the edges of
silicate clays and on the surfaces of metal oxide clays Anion exchange is inversely
related with pH is greatest in soils dominated by the sesquioxides. The anions Cl
-
,
NO
3
-
, and SeO
4
2-
and to some extent HS
-
and SO
4
2
-, HCO
3
-
, and CO
3
-
adsorb mainly
by ion exchange. Borate, phosphate and carboxylate adsorb principally by specific
adsorption mechanisms.

The total exchangeable anions that a soil can adsorb, measured as mill equivalents
per 100 grams of soil. In contrast to CEC, AEC is the degree to which a soil can
adsorb and exchange anions. AEC increases as soil pH decreases. The pH of most
productive soils is usually too high (exceptions are for volcanic soils) for full
development of AEC and thus it generally plays a minor role in supplying plants with
anions.

8. Define and give the importance of soil organic matter

Soil organic matter - non-living components which are a heterogeneous mixture
composed largely of products resulting from microbial and chemical transformations
of organic debris. Soil organic matter can exist in different morphological patterns,
which are the bases of the classification of so called forms and types of humus.

Organic matter contributes to plant growth through its effect on the physical,
chemical,and biological properties of the soil. It has a:
nutritional function in that it serves as a source of N, P for plant growth
biological function in that it profoundly affects the activities of microflora and
microfaunal organisms
physical and physico-chemical function in that it promotes good soil structure,
thereby improving tilth, aeration and retention of moisture and increasing buffering
and exchange capacity of soils.

Humus also plays an indirect role in soil through its effect on the uptake of
micronutrients by plants and the performance of herbicides and other agricultural
chemicals. It should be emphasized that the importance of any given factor will vary
from one soil to another and will depend upon such environmental conditions as
climate and crpping history.

9. Give the Biological Components of the Soil

Bacteria
Fungi
Algae
Plant Roots and Hairs
Worms
Anthropods
Nematodes
Grubs
Beetles; and
Small Animals

10. Give the Role of Pollinators, Decomposers and Natural Pest Enemies

Pollinators
It has often been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites
of food we eat. Most crops grown for their fruits (including vegetables such as
squash, cucumber, tomato and eggplant), nuts, seeds, fiber (such as cotton), and
hay (alfalfa grown to feed livestock), require pollination by insects. Pollinating
insects also play a critical role in maintaining natural plant communities and
ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants. Pollination is the transfer
of pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower of the
same species, which results in fertilization of plant ovaries and the production of
seeds.

Decomposers
A decomposer is an organism that breaks down dead plant or animal
matter. This may arouse the yuk response in many readers, but the fact is that
ecosystems could not function without decomposers. This is because
ecosystems depend on recycling in order to function. Humans are used to
throwing away things they don't want, but in nature, all materials are recycled
endlessly.

Natural Enemies
Natural enemies play a very important role in keeping pest populations under
control. Insects can multiply very rapidly. In the absence of natural enemies,
insect populations "explode" (see example in the box below). But in a healthy
crop this will rarely happen.


11. Define pest and give the different pests

Pest is any organism that spreads disease, causes destruction or is otherwise a
nuisance. Some examples of pests are mosquitoes, rodents, and weeds. Not all
insects are pests. Many different kinds of insects eat other insects and are beneficial
species. Examples of beneficial insects are dragonflies (which feed mainly on
mosquitoes) and lady beetles (which eat aphids, scale insects, mites, and other
insects).