What Is soil Chemistry and its importance in plant growth

Soil Chemistry

Soil Chemistry

Soil chemistry can be defined as the study of chemical characteristics of the soil. The chemistry of soil is primarily affected by soil organic matter, mineral components, and environmental factors. Soil organic matter is chiefly made up of carbon, hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and smaller amounts of Sulfur and other elements.

Soil Chemistry is important for production as it not only determines what will grow in your soil but also how it will grow and produce. The components of soil exist in all 3 phases. Solid-phase includes Soil organic matter (S.O.M) and mineral constituents. It constitutes around 45-50%. This part is relatively constant. However, the liquid and gas phase, which includes soil water and soil air constitutes 20-30% each are quite dynamic and change as the soil dries or wets.

Important chemical properties of soil include:

  • Cation Exchange Capacity (C.E.C):

it is the total capacity of soil to hold exchangeable cations. It affects the ability of soil to hold essential nutrients. It influences soil structure, nutrient availability as well as soil PH. The availability of nutrients in the soil and their uptake by plants is also affected by CEC e.g., soils with low CEC develop potassium and magnesium deficiency.

  • Soil PH.

Soil PH is also referred to as soil reaction. It is an indication of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. It is defined as a negative logarithm of Hydrogen ion concentration. Soil Ph. is an important factor that affects nutrient availably as well as nutrient leaching capacity It also influences soil bacteria complex. Most soils have 3.5 to 10 PH.

  • Organic Soil Carbon:

It refers to only the carbon content of soil organic matter. It is difficult to measure S.O.M in total, therefore soil organic carbon is measured. Soil organic matter constitutes of dissolved organic matter, particulate organic matter, humus, and resistant organic matter

  • Soil Sodicity:

Solidity in the soil is the presence of a high proportion of sodium ions relative to other cations in soil. Solidity is caused by  Na+  ions attached to clay in the soil.  Na+ ions weaken the bond between the soil particles affecting soil structure.

  • Calcium Carbonate Concentration:

Calcium carbonate concentration (CCC ) is an important parameter associated with soil fertility and chemistry. Black soils are rich in Calcium carbonated. As lime dissolves in soil Calcium moves to the surface thus reducing the acidity of soil by releasing carbon dioxide and water through the reaction of acidity with CO3. Too much calcium carbonate concentration is bad for soil as it may raise the PH of soil to levels which plants cannot tolerate.

  • Soil Nutrients:

Major Soil nutrients include Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium apart from these there are many micro and macronutrients in soil that is required for plant growth. These nutrients affect each other’s availability and uptake by plants. One nutrient may enhance or prohibit uptake of other nutrients moreover there availability and uptake by plants are also influenced by the PH of the soil and other related factors.

All the chemical properties of soil vary from soil to soil. The chemical and physical properties of soil determine soil structure, color as well as the crops that will grow profitably into it.

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