Soil is defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust. It is formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. It is in fact an extremely complex, variable and living medium.Soil fertility refers to the ability of a soil related to plants its ease of tillage, fitness of seedbed, and impedance to seedling emergence and root penetration by providing nutrients and suitable soil structure to support the plants/trees growth. A fertile soil has the following properties:
Fertile soil has the following characteristics:
- It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nourishment. This includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
- It consists of adequate minerals such as boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, sulphur and zinc. These minerals promote plant nutrition.
- It contains soil organic matter that improves the structure of the soil. This enables the soil to retain more moisture.
- The soil pH is in the range 6.0 to 6.8.
- It has a good soil structure which results in well-drained soil.
- It consists of a variety of micro-organisms that support plant growth.
- It often contains large amounts of topsoil