Demystifying Soil Structure

5/24/2010
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Soil structure is essential to how your plant develops roots.Many gardening websites will talk about the presence of soil structure. In addition, they speak of how that can either help or hinder a plants' growth. Many times a reader may be left wondering, "What essentially is soil structure?"

Soil structure is a collection of individual soil granules that eventually end up clumping together to form the soil itself. The structure is defined by the composition of materials and how they eventually lead to the aggregation of individual soil granules.

Soil structure is responsible for providing the medium in which our plants grow. The structure of the soil depends on the area and how the various sedimentary and geological forces have shaped the soil over time. Also, the aeration of soil can determine the amount of oxygen, nitrogen, root growth and biological activity in the soil.

The aggregation of soil is a critical factor in determining the result of the structure. This happens from clay colloids, or clay particles that are very small. As these form and adhere to the other soil components present in the soil, the structure of the soil is formed.

Good soil structure will have many naturally occurring aggregates present, like those clay colloids, but it will also have a good balance of other soil components like organic matter and micronutrients. Ultimately, a good soil structure where plants will grow in a healthy fashion will depend on the region and the amount of organic matter you work into the soil.