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Showing posts from August, 2012

Soil Amendments

Soil Amendments are defined as any material which is added to a soil, in order to increase plant growth and improve plant health. Water - It important to remember that water must first penetrate a soil and the quality of water will dictate how well the water can penetrate. Rain water is better at penetrating the soil than hard well water, because rain water does not have the concentration of minerals that well water does. This concentration of minerals is measured as hardness of water. Because of the mineral hardness of well water there is higher surface tension, limiting the water's ability to penetrate the soil.  A healthy soil will retain water for a much longer period of time and buffer higher pH levels than an unhealthy or depleted soil. Humic Acids play a huge role in water retention, because a single molecule of Humic Acid (if Supramolecular) can hold over 10,000 molecules of water. Humic Substances  -  Humic Substances are complex Carbon compounds found in soil. The

Explanation on Lack of Hardiness

In the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico, Trans Pecos Texas and Northern Mexico, we have many mountain ranges that have an ecotone at the base which I call the Desert Edge Woodland.  It's very arid, dominated by Quercus species and averages between 12 and 15 inches of annual precipitation, rarely higher.  50% of precipitation falls during the summer monsoon season which is not much when you consider that the daily evaporation rate can exceed 1/2".   Despite the aridity the oaks in this ecotone can still reach 40 feet tall or larger and you might assume that when grown for landscaping that these same species could tolerate the same 12 to 15 inches of annual moisture, however they cannot.  Under cultivation the Chihuahuan Desert Native Oak will most likely need about 20 to 30 inches of annual moisture supplemented if planted in Albuquerque, Tucson, El Paso or Las Cruces.  Nothing close to the 12 to 15 inches of its native counterparts.  The reason for the lack of the same hardine

The Bio Geo Chemical Process of Plant Nutrition & Soil Formation

Expanding on the Soil Food Web Abstract: For a Lecture to be given by Michael at the Univerity of Bordeaux Conference Center in Bordeaux, France. The study of plant ecology is complex, for which the question of fluid dynamics and nutrient uptake presents many questions for those of us interested in growing plant material.   It’s particularly relevant in situations such as agriculture, urban horticulture, erosion control and brownfield remediation, where jump starting the biology and manipulating the chemistry of the soil is sometimes essential for sustainable success. Water flows up into the organism, transporting soil minerals that are somehow purified into elements.   Many of these elements, in the case of crops, are hauled away from the site when the crop is sold, while some are re-mineralized back into the soil in the form of decomposing organic debris.    If all goes well, healthy soil, biologically rich in mutualistic microbes and recalcitrant carbons, is the result and we