Author Topic: Introduction to Soil Organic Matter  (Read 1993 times)


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Introduction to Soil Organic Matter
« on: April 14, 2011, 03:29:00 PM »
Soil Organic Matter

Soil organic matter (SOM) is one of the most important parts of the soil system. It consists of both living and decaying plant and animal materials. SOM is the ďlivingĒ part of the soil and is largely responsible for the cycling of nutrients through a healthy soil. It usually makes up only a small percentage, two to 10 percent, by weight of soil.

Establishing and maintaining the soilís organic matter is a high priority for organic lawn and turf management. Organic matter is essential for beneficial soil microorganisms that interact with the soil and grass roots. Organic matter also affects the physical characteristics of the soil. It is lighter than silt or clay and makes soils looser and easier for roots to grow and increases the surface area of the roots. Organic matter is the major water and nutrient holding component of the soil. It absorbs water many times its weight and in the process swells, increasing the pore space through which water can move in the soil. Organic matter such as compost improves soil drainage and helps prevent soil compaction. Organic matter also adsorbs (attracts and holds) minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium and ammonium, making them more readily available to grass roots. Finally, organic matter improves a soilís short-term productivity by adding nutrients and by changing the soilís moisture- holding capacity. Long-term soil productivity is improved by the continual slow release of nutrients as the organic matter decomposes.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 03:45:48 PM by admin »