Acidic soil is a condition in which the pH of the soil is below 7.0, making it more acidic than neutral. This condition can have a significant impact on plant growth and the overall health of the ecosystem. The causes of acidic soil are varied and can include natural factors such as weathering of rock and mineral deposits, as well as human activities such as industrial pollution and acid rain. In this essay, we will explore the different causes of acidic soil, including both natural and human-induced factors, and their effects on the environment and agriculture.
Soil is a naturally occurring substance forming the thin uppermost layer of the earth’s surface made by the accumulation of the weathered materials on which plants and animals live.
Acidic soil can be defined as those having PH less than 5.5 in 1:1 water extract.
soil acidity affect many biological and chemical reaction
The following are factors which may cause the soil to become acidic:
Parent materials.Rocks like granite and rhyolite are acidic rocks and on disintegration and decomposition of these rocks results in the accumulation of acid soil materials.
Organic matters. The carboxylic, enolic, and phenolic materials present in organic matter debris, dissociate releasing hydrogen ions thus contributing towards soil acidity.
Climate. In heavy rainfall areas, the continuous leaching process removes most of the calcium carbonate and gypsum from soil giving rise to increased soil acidity.
Roots biomass and soil organisms. Respiration by plant roots and soil microorganisms are major contributing factors to soil acidity.
Carbon dioxide liberated during respiration reacts with water to produce carbolic acid which in turn breaks down to produce hydrogen ions.
On another hand when plants exchange cations with the external medium they give an equivalent number of hydrogen ions thus contributing to soil acidity.
How to fix high pH soils (alkaline soil) on your farm
make sure your farm have good drainage which may help to flush out things which cause high soil PH for example magnesium. having good drainage does not make soil PH drop instantly however over time it will decrease.
apply elemental sulfur to your farm
Acidic soil is a serious problem that can have a significant impact on plant growth, biodiversity, and overall ecosystem health. The causes of acidic soil are varied and include natural factors such as weathering of rock and mineral deposits, as well as human activities such as industrial pollution and acid rain.
Human-induced causes of acidic soil, such as industrial pollution, acid rain, and deforestation, can be addressed through government regulations, pollution control measures and sustainable land management practices.
However, in natural causes such as weathering of rock and mineral deposits, which are inevitable, can be mitigated by using appropriate agricultural practices such as liming, which helps to neutralize the acidity in the soil.
It is important to recognize that acidic soil is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. By understanding the causes of acidic soil, we can take steps to mitigate its impact and preserve this vital resource for future generations.
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, the fitness of seedbed, and impedance to seedling emergence and root penetration by providing nutrients and suitable soil structure to support the plants/trees growth.
Rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nourishment. This includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Nitrogen: Nitrogen is essential for plant growth. It is used to make proteins, which are the building blocks of cells. Nitrogen is also used to make chlorophyll, which is the green pigment that allows plants to photosynthesize.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus is also essential for plant growth. It is used to make DNA and RNA, which are the genetic material of cells. Phosphorus is also used to make ATP, which is the energy currency of cells.
Potassium: Potassium is essential for plant growth. It helps to regulate the water content of cells and to transport nutrients throughout the plant. Potassium also helps to strengthen cell walls and to protect plants from diseases.
In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, other essential nutrients for plant growth include:
Calcium: Calcium is important for cell division and for the formation of cell walls.
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for photosynthesis and for the production of chlorophyll.
Sulfur: Sulfur is important for the production of proteins and for the formation of amino acids.
Iron: Iron is important for the transport of oxygen throughout the plant.
Zinc: Zinc is important for the formation of enzymes and for the regulation of plant growth.
Consists of adequate minerals such as boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, and zinc. These minerals promote plant nutrition.
The minerals listed above are also important for plant growth, but they are not essential. They are called secondary nutrients. Secondary nutrients are not as necessary for plant growth as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but they can still play an important role in plant health.
For example, boron is important for the transport of sugars throughout the plant. Chlorine is important for the production of chlorophyll. Cobalt is important for the formation of vitamin B12. Copper is important for the formation of enzymes. Manganese is important for photosynthesis. Molybdenum is important for the nitrogen fixation process. Sulphur is important for the production of proteins. Zinc is important for the formation of enzymes.
The amount of nutrients that a soil needs depends on the type of plant that is growing in it. Some plants are more demanding than others. For example, nitrogen-fixing plants, such as legumes, do not need as much nitrogen as other plants.
The pH of the soil is also important for plant growth. Most plants prefer a neutral pH, which is around 7.0. However, some plants prefer acidic soils, while others prefer alkaline soils.
The texture of the soil is also important. Soils with a good texture have a balance of sand, silt, and clay. Sandy soils are too loose and do not hold water well. Clay soils are too sticky and do not allow water to drain well. Loam soils are the best type of soil for plant growth. They are a mixture of sand, silt, and clay and they hold water well without becoming too soggy.
The organic matter content of the soil is also important. Organic matter is made up of dead plants and animals. It helps to improve the structure of the soil and to hold water and nutrients.
It contains soil organic matter that improves the structure of the soil. This enables the soil to retain more moisture.
Soil organic matter is the decaying remains of plants and animals. It is essential for healthy soil because it improves the soil structure, which means that the soil is more crumbly and allows for better drainage and aeration. Soil organic matter also helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is essential for plant growth.
The amount of soil organic matter in a soil can vary greatly. In general, soils with higher levels of soil organic matter are more fertile. There are a number of ways to increase the level of soil organic matter in a soil, such as adding compost, manure, or other organic matter to the soil.
The soil pH is in the range 6.0 to 6.8.
The pH of a soil is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Soils with a pH of less than 7 are acidic, while soils with a pH of greater than 7 are alkaline.
Most plants prefer soils with a pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.8. This is because the nutrients that plants need are most available in soils with this pH range. If the soil pH is too acidic or too alkaline, it can make it difficult for plants to absorb the nutrients they need.
There are a number of ways to adjust the pH of a soil, such as adding lime to acidic soils or adding sulfur to alkaline soils.
It has a good soil structure which results in well-drained soil.
Soil structure is the arrangement of the particles in the soil. A good soil structure has a balance of sand, silt, and clay particles. This allows for good drainage and aeration, which are essential for plant growth.
Well-drained soil means that the water can move through the soil easily. This is important because it prevents waterlogging, which can drown plants. Well-drained soil also helps to prevent the buildup of salts in the soil, which can also be harmful to plants.
There are a number of things that can be done to improve the soil structure, such as adding organic matter, rotating crops, and avoiding tilling the soil too deeply.
It consists of a variety of micro-organisms that support plant growth.
The soil is home to a variety of micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and algae. These micro-organisms play an important role in the breakdown of organic matter and the cycling of nutrients in the soil. They also help to suppress plant diseases.
A healthy soil contains a diverse population of micro-organisms. This diversity is important because it ensures that the soil can function properly even if some of the micro-organisms are killed off by environmental factors, such as drought or flooding.
There are a number of things that can be done to promote the growth of micro-organisms in the soil, such as adding organic matter, rotating crops, and avoiding using pesticides.
It often contains large amounts of topsoil.
Topsoil is the layer of soil that is closest to the surface. It is the most fertile layer of soil because it contains the most organic matter. Topsoil is also the most important layer of soil because it is where plants get their nutrients from.
Topsoil is constantly being lost due to erosion. Erosion can be caused by wind, water, and human activities. It is important to protect topsoil by planting cover crops, reducing tillage, and building terraces.
Afforestation is the planting of trees where trees had never existed while reafforestation means planting trees where the forest had been cleared. The planting of trees plays a big role in soil conservation.
Trees can be planted on homesteads, on the field, or on special tracts of land to form the forest. They can also be planted on embankments of terraces.
The following are roles of trees in soil conservation:
They protect the soil below from raindrop erosion by reducing the force with which it falls on the ground.
They provide shade and reduce the loss of moisture through evaporation.
They act as windbreak hence reducing wind erosion.
The roots of trees bind the soil particles together. Holding of soil particles by roots help to reduce soil erosion and washing away of nutrients by run off
They reduce the speed of running water thus reducing its erosive power.
The leaves of trees decay to supply humus to the soil which improves the infiltration rate of the soil. Also humus provided by decaying tree leaves provide much needed nutrients to vegetation and become food to micro organisms
Soil conservation refer to measures that are taken to protect the soil from destruction .
The main measures that are taken to conserve soil include maintaining soil fertility and quality, preventing soil loss or erosion, and preserving the soil.
Maintenance of soil fertility and quality;
The natural richness and fertility and richness of the soil should be maintained in order to ensure continued soil productivity. This can be achieved in the following ways.
this involves changing the crops planted on the farm, by alternatively planting leguminous plants such as beans with other crops such as maize to maintain nitrogen level in the soil
this involves planting crops and rearing animals on the same farm.
mixed farming is important in maintaining soil fertility because the remains of crops are used to feed livestock while cow dung and other animals excrete are used as fertilizers for crops in the farm
mulching is the act of covering the farm with dry grass and crops to maintain soil moisture and when the grass dry they provide the soil with hummus.
mulching is helpful in maintaining soil quality and fertility because they protect the soil from the elements of soil erosion and they provide the soil with moisture and needed soil nutrients from humus
bush fallowing involves resting the overcultivated land for some years to help it recover lost nutrients.
Proper application of chemical fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers are essential for replenishing the nutrients that are lost from the soil through crop production. However, it is important to apply them properly in order to avoid damaging the soil.
The first step is to have the soil tested to determine the nutrient levels. This will help you to determine how much fertilizer to apply and which nutrients are needed.
The next step is to apply the fertilizer at the correct time. Fertilizers should be applied before planting or during the growing season, depending on the type of fertilizer.
The fertilizer should also be applied at the correct rate. Over-applying fertilizer can damage the soil and pollute waterways.
Finally, the fertilizer should be incorporated into the soil. This can be done by tilling or disking the soil.
Drainage trenches are used to remove excess water from the soil. This can help to prevent waterlogging, which can damage the soil and reduce crop yields.
Drainage trenches should be dug at a slight slope. This will help the water to flow freely through the trenches.
The trenches should be deep enough to remove the excess water. The depth of the trenches will depend on the soil type and the amount of water that needs to be removed.
The trenches should be spaced evenly. This will help to ensure that the entire area is drained effectively.
Proper ploughing technique
Ploughing is the process of turning the soil over. This helps to aerate the soil, which improves drainage and root growth. It also helps to incorporate organic matter into the soil, which improves fertility.
The ploughing should be done at the correct depth. The depth of the ploughing will depend on the soil type and the crop that is being grown.
The ploughing should be done at the correct time. Ploughing should be done in the fall or early spring, when the soil is moist but not wet.
The ploughing should be done in the correct direction. The ploughing should be done in the direction of the slope, if there is one. This will help to prevent erosion.
Intercropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same field. This can help to improve soil fertility and quality in a number of ways.
Intercropping can help to reduce erosion. When different crops have different root systems, they help to hold the soil in place.
Intercropping can help to improve soil aeration. Different crops have different leaf sizes and shapes, which helps to create a more diverse microclimate in the soil.
Intercropping can help to improve soil fertility. Different crops take up different nutrients from the soil, which helps to prevent nutrient imbalances.
Intercropping can help to attract beneficial insects. Different crops attract different insects, which can help to control pests and diseases.