Characteristics of a Fertile Soil

Characteristics of a Fertile Soil. characteristics of a fertile soil can be observed from plant stand. a fertile soil is one that contains high contents of or rich in organic manure. so in this post i am going to show you how to identify a fertile soil

general characteristics of a fertile soil

. High cation exchange capacity (C.E.C.)
one of the best characteristics of a fertile soil is Good water holding capacity
3. Adequate humus contents
4. Good granular (Spheroidal)
5. for any soil to termed fertile it must be Easily tilled (good workability)
6. Essential elements available in required forms and amount.

Sometimes, a soil may not be able to produce good crops even if it is fertile. This is because of the inability of the soil to make nutrients available to the crops in the right amount. This can happen because of several factors such as:  \"soil

factors that reduces the fertile characteristics of soil

(a) Too much acids or bases in the soil.
(b) Poor soil structure.
(c) The proportion of the different soil particles present in the soil (Texture).
(d) Climatic factors such as amount of rainfall and temperature.
(e) The nature of the clay lattice.
(f) Cation exchange capacity of the soil.

 Methods of Soil Fertility Management

to maintain good soil characteristics, There are several methods that can be used to maintain the fertility of the soil. They include bush fallowing, cover cropping, rotation cropping, application of organic and inorganic fertilizers.

1. Bush fallowing
This is the practice of leaving a farm-land uncultivated for a period of time. This is to allow the soil to regain its lost nutrients in natural form. For instance, leaves from the shrubs and herbs drop and decay thus adding manure to the soil.

1. It can effectively maintain soil fertility in areas with low pressure on land.
2. It protects the soil against erosion.
3. Fallen leaves decompose to increase organic matter content of the soil.
4. Evaporation of soil water and leaching of minerals are reduced.
5. There is also a build up of living organisms in the soil which arc useful for soil modification and
1. It is a very slow process of maintaining soil fertility.
2. It does not suit the increasing demand for land due to population increase.
3. The period allowed for fallow is not enough for adequate replacement of lost nutrients.

2. Cover Cropping
This is the growing of crops purposely to provide cover for the. soil. Crops such as melon, cowpea (trailing type), groundnut, sweet potato, and others could be grown along side the main crops to provide cover for the soil. Others like pueraria. niucuna and centrosema can be used in plantations or on fallow lands.

1. They protect the soil against erosion.
2. Evaporation of soil water is reduced.
3. They prevent the leaching of useful mineral elements in the soil.
4. They suppress weeds on the farmland
5. Their fallen leaves decompose to add organic matter to the soil.
6. Where legumes are used, they help to increase the nitrogen content of the soil due to the action of root nodule bacteria
7. They can be worked into the soil as green
8. They help to maintain fairly stable soil temperature \”\’

1. Cover crops compete with the main crops for nutrient elements and available water.
2. They increase the rate of loss of water in the soil through transpiration.

3. Rotation Cropping
This is the growing of crops on a piece of land year after year in a definite order.

1. The use of a good rotational system of cropping enables soil to be used continuously without rapid loss of essential nutrients.
2. It is an ideal system to be used where land is scarce.
3. It is a labour saving system as the same land is prepared for planting every year.
4. Weeds are effectively checked.
5. Erosion is reduced because the land is not exposed.
6. It reduces the build up, of host specific diseases and pests.

The major disadvanitage of this method is that continuous tillage of the surface soil renders it loose and easily eroded.\’

Manures are plants and animal materials that are added to the soil to supply nutrients needed for the growth of crops. A well decomposed organic matter is called humus. Humus is a rich source of plant nutrients suitable for vegetable gardening.

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