Soils are the building block
- Soils support growth and development of plants, microbes, and insects
- If you understand the basics of soils you will be able to provide proper nutrients and water requirements for plant development and growth
- It will tell you how to proceed with your revegetation plan
The Soil Profile
O Horizon- Organic matter layer varies 0-2 inches
A Horizon- Topsoil layer is 2-10 inches
B Horizon- Subsoil layer is 10-30 inches
C Horizon- Substratum layer is 30-40 inches
Of all the components of the soil, organic matter is the most important and misunderstood.
- It is a reservoir of nutrients and water
- Aids in reducing compaction and surface crusting
- Increases water infiltration
How much Organic Matter is in soil?
An acre of soil measured to a depth of 6 inches weighs approximately 2,000,000 pounds, which means that 1% organic matter in the soil would weigh about 20,000 pounds per acre. Remember that it takes at least 10 pounds of organic material to decompose to 1 pound of organic matter, so it takes at least 200,000 pounds (100 tons) of organic material applied or returned to the soil to add 1% stable organic matter under favorable conditions.
What are the Benefits of Organic Matter?
Organic matter is a reservoir of nutrients that can be released to the soil. Each percent of organic matter in the soil releases 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen, 4.5 to 6.6 pounds of P2O5, and 2 to 3 pounds of sulfur per year. The nutrient release occurs predominantly in the spring and summer, so summer crops benefit more from organic-matter mineralization than winter crops.
Organic matter behaves somewhat like a sponge, with the ability to absorb and hold up to 90% of its weight in water. A great advantage of the water-holding capacity of organic matter is that the matter will release most of the water that it absorbs to plants. In contrast, clay holds great quantities of water, but much of it is unavailable to plants.
Soil Structure Aggregation
Organic matter causes soil to clump and form soil aggregates, which improves soil structure. With better soil structure, permeability (infiltration of water through the soil) improves, in turn improving the soil’s ability to take up and hold water.
This property of organic matter is not widely known. Data used in the universal soil loss equation indicate that increasing soil organic matter from 1% to 3% can reduce erosion by 20% to 33% because of increased water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter.
Soil preparation is KEY to a successful revegetation project
- Soil must be tilled, ripped or disked to a minimum of 4-6 inches
- Organic Matter is best turned into the soil
- Leaving soil in a roughened or firm seedbed will be key to planting seed
Arkansas Valley Seed supplies a wide range of soil amendments for your project. The following amendments replaces the need of traditional organic matter from cow manure or compost.
Biosol 7-2-1 slow-release organic fertilizer and amendment. There is an increased effect on the formation of humus, root mass, and living microbial biomass in the soils. This amendment provides nutrients throughout the growing season.
Humate provides humic acid to soils. This soil conditioner helps with absorption and microbial stimulation. This is essential for the plants ability to take in vital nutrients.
Mycoapply Mycorrhizae endo/ecto ultrafine powder to supply 4 species blend of mycorrhizal fungi. Provides increase yields, increases flowering and fruiting and survivability. Promotes Rooting, Nutrient uptake and self-sufficient plants.
The Rocky Mountain Planter’s Kit is a premier fertilizer and soil amendment product for planting and transplanting new plants. The planter’s kit will increase root mass and strengthen the roots, allowing plants to maximize water and nutrient intake while reducing transplant shock. Combining Biosol Forte, Menefee Humate and MycoApply
For questions regarding this blog or soil health please email
Dave Weigand – firstname.lastname@example.org