The Incredible Capacity Of Soil To Absorb Moisture
The Incredible Capacity of Soil to Absorb Moisture
The capacity of soil to absorb moisture is generally known as its water-holding capacity. This is an important property of soil, as it affects the amount of water available for plants, and how quickly it is lost from the soil. In this article, we will explore the various factors that affect the water-holding capacity of soil, and how to measure it.
Factors Affecting Soil Water-Holding Capacity
There are several factors that affect the ability of soil to absorb and retain moisture. These include the type of soil, the amount of organic matter present, the degree of compaction, and the presence of salts or other minerals.
Different soil types have different water-holding capacities. For example, sandy soils have the lowest water-holding capacity, while loamy soils have the highest. Clay soils have a medium water-holding capacity, while silt soils have a slightly lower capacity than clay.
Organic matter, such as compost and manure, can greatly improve the water-holding capacity of soil. This is because organic matter helps to bind soil particles together, creating air spaces that allow for more water absorption.
Compacted soil has less air space for water absorption, and thus has a lower water-holding capacity. This is why it is important to avoid compacting soil when cultivating it.
Salts and Minerals
The presence of salts or other minerals in soil can also affect its water-holding capacity. If the concentration of these substances is too high, they can cause the soil particles to become hydrophobic, meaning they repel water rather than absorb it.
Measuring Soil Water-Holding Capacity
The best way to measure the water-holding capacity of soil is to use a soil moisture meter. This is a device that measures the amount of moisture in the soil by using a probe to measure the electrical conductivity of the soil. This measurement is then compared to the amount of moisture in the soil when it is saturated, and the difference is the amount of water held in the soil.
In conclusion, the capacity of soil to absorb moisture is an important property that affects the amount of water available for plants, and how quickly it is lost from the soil. Different soil types have different water-holding capacities, and the presence of organic matter, compaction, and salts or other minerals can also affect this capacity. The best way to measure the water-holding capacity of soil is to use a soil moisture meter.
Leave a Reply