The earth. The ground we step on when we go to the garden is the source of life in it. Without it, there would be no plants, for they cannot grow on asphalt or on the walls of buildings, or even on roofs.
They contribute oxygen to the atmosphere and, as a consequence, allow us to breathe. They have been on the planet for a long time, but why? What is it that makes them so special? In Gardening On we are going to explain you why is soil important to plants.
What is its importance?
The land is very important to all plant beings. Its roots can penetrate the ground and, by doing so, the plants can remain firmly attached to the ground, which is very beneficial especially if the wind blows a lot and very often in that area. But not only serves as a support, but also as a source of food. And it is that in the earth there are all the nutrients that plants need to be able to develop.
These nutrients begin with the amount of organic matter that is of interest to this soil. The amount of organic matter are the decomposing remains of living organisms that fungi and bacteria are responsible for processing. This organic matter can store a large amount of energy.
Composition of the earth
One of the reasons why soil is so important for plants is its composition. The composition of the earth is as follows:
- Minerals: they come from bedrock, which slowly dissolves. The bedrock is continuously subjected to different external geological agents. It is among these agents we have the wind, the rain and the continuous erosion caused by them. It must be taken into account that these phenomena cause erosion, transport and sedimentation processes. Over the years, the Mother Rock wears away and forms new soil.
- Organic material: they are decomposed animals and plants. It is rich in minerals and can store a significant amount of water. Depending on the type of plant we are planting, a greater or lesser amount of organic matter will be needed to survive. There are plant species that can live in soils poor in organic matter, while other plants need, not only a high organic matter content, but also moisture retention.
- Microorganisms: insects and worms that tear apart organic matter, and fungi and bacteria that are responsible for breaking it down, releasing nutrients. A soil full of microorganisms is a soil rich in nutrients.
- Water and air: they occupy the pores, or spaces between soil particles that are produced by its characteristics. The smaller the pore, the more difficult it is for the plant to grow. It is important that the soils have good drainage so that rain or irrigation water does not accumulate. For the vast majority of plants, puddles are not good for their development. This can be avoided with a good porosity that provides good drainage to the soil.
Types of soils
Once the bedrock has begun to disintegrate to give rise to new soil, different types can be generated depending on the texture and composition. Let’s see what are the different types of soils according to the texture:
- Clayey: one of the reasons why the soil is so important for plants lies in the type of texture of the soil. The clayey texture is one in which clay predominates. They are usually very rich in nutrients but very heavy. Those plants that require a high content of organic matter prefer to grow in clay soils. These soils maintain high humidity levels very well, although they do not tolerate flooding at all. Learn More.
- Sandy: they are those in which there is mostly sand. They do not retain nutrients well, so very few plants can grow in them. Because they have too high a drain, they cannot retain moisture well. This causes the nutrients and water to end up seeping into the lower parts of the soil without the plants being able to make use of them. Learn more.
- Franks: they are those in which the slime abounds. By having the right amount of sand, silt and clay, they constitute the most ideal soils for plants, since they contain the essential nutrients for them, and, in addition, they allow their roots to be properly aerated. It could be said that it is the soil with the best balance between the ideal texture for the plants and the amount of nutrients they need. Learn More.
- Clay loam: are those in which there is enough clay and silt, but little sand. This makes the drainage somewhat worse. In this type of soils, rain or irrigation water is usually stored a lot and can easily become flooded. As mentioned before, ponding is not a good option for most plants.
- Loamy-sandy: are those in which sand and silt abound. However, they are less rich in organic matter and this means that there are many plants that cannot survive in this type of soil since their requirements in organic matter are higher.
Soil in potted plants
Both the gardens, the balconies, the plants need a good soil to be able to grow healthy to show all their beauty. It not only provides the necessary support for roots, but is also the basis for optimal plant growth. When we plant the plants in pots, buckets and balcony planters, the quality of the land is very importantsince the plants only have a very limited space to extend their roots. For this reason, the pot should be changed periodically and allow the plant to develop according to its needs.
On many occasions the quality of the soil that a garden has naturally is not optimal. Thus, opts for using chemistry to improve some of the soil characteristics and adapt them to the plants that we have planted.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about why soil is so important for plants.