Written by: Angela Thomas, NY City Pest Control

Soil Degradation and Erosion

Soil degradation has become a major concern among many farmers. Degradation can be defined as soil that has been contaminated by:

Salinization: the accumulation of soluble salts, causing reduced soil fertility

Acidification: The buildup of Hydrogen from outside sources like nitric acid or sulfuric acid, which reduces the soil pH

 Soil erosion reduces the crop productivity and causes pollution to the adjacent watercourses.

[http://i.imgur.com/Gqwv3RN.jpg] (Soil erosion)

What qualifies matter as “Organic?”

Most of the organic matter is on top of the soil. Organic matter is a combination of plant and animal residue. It is composed of 45-50 percent carbon, with oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur making up the rest.

Organic matter is an essential component of the soil because it provides an energy source for the microbes present in the soil. Crops become healthy and strong as it improves the ability to store and transmit air and water. It also supplies nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur, which are needed for the growth of plants and soil organisms. Most of all it makes the soil more friable, less sticky, and easier to work. When organic matter is used as mulch or combined into the soil, it is broken down by soil microbes into soil humus.

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How to increase organic matter in the soil

Tillage has long been used to add in crop residue, control weeds and loosen the soil. However, it also reduces soil organic matter, disrupts soil structure, and leaves the soil surface prone to wind and water erosion. It is best to avoid the practice of tillage will be helpful in building organic matter.

It is believed that growing cover crops can help to improve the organic matter in the soil. To get good results, you have to grow cover crops and follow techniques to reduce tillage and soil erosion. Land must be protected and particular attention must be given to situations that could leave soil vulnerable to erosion.

Proper fertilization of the soil is to be followed. Fertilization helps to add the necessary nutrients to the soil. It is important as it contributes to produce quality food. It is up to you to use fertilizers to help replenish the soil. Building organic matter in the ground is crucial in order to enhance the long-term performance of the soil. While results won’t be immediate, adding new organic matter every year is one of the best ways to improve soil health.

 

Article graciously supplied by http://nycitypestcontrol.com/