What is soil physical fertility?

Physical properties and processes of soil affect soil fertility by altering water movement through soil, root penetration of soil and water logging. Important physical properties that affect fertility include soil structure and texture. Structure is the amount of aggregation and pores in soil and texture is the proportion of clay and sand particles in soil. Both affect soil fertility by affecting water movement through soil, root penetration and water logging. Erosion is an important physical process that decreases soil fertility. When soil structure and texture are unfavourable for water movement through soil water erosion and waterlogging may be increased. Soil salinity is a chemical property but can affect soil physical fertility by decreasing the movement of water through the soil.
Physical soil characteristics important to soil physical fertility include:

  • soil structure,
  • soil texture,
  • water repellence.

Physical processes related to soil physical fertility include:

  • aggregation,
  • water infiltration,
  • waterlogging,
  • soil erosion.

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