Soil Productivity Lab

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Activity 1 – Water Holding Capacity & Capillary Action of Soil 1. Grain size and the amount of air space between particles. 2. Water-holding capacity determines the amount of water a soil is capable of holding. Since water is a necessity of any agricultural endeavor it is important for a soil to have a good water holding capacity. 3. We’d add humus because it has the highest water-holding capacity. 4. It would benefit plants in a dry climate because it could easily take groundwater to the surface. Water would not ‘pool-up’ either so root rot could be prevented.

Activity 2 – Qualitative Analysis of Ion Exchange Capacity 1. Sand, Sand and humus, Collected sample, Sand and clay
2. Crystal Violet and Eosin Y have different charges and soils with a higher capacity hold more colors. 3. The more absorptive samples (sand and humus) have a negative charge while the less absorptive samples have a positive charge. 4. It’s important so the plants have correct nutrients to enable proper growth. 5. I would add clay

Activity 3 – Analysis of Free Ions
1. Soil becomes acidic when plant roots secrete positive hydrogen ions 2. When plants roots secrete positive hydrogen ions, it lowers the pH and raises the acidity, taking away from the negative charge of the soil. This prevents the exchange of cation nutrients. 3. Over cultivation decreases the nutrients in soil and when the infiltration rate is too high, water draining will leech the soil of it’s nutrients. 4. Rotate crops and add fertilizer

5. Nitrogen

Activity 4 – Determination of Soil Permeability
1. The smaller the particles the slower the percolation rate 2. A ditch with sandy soil has a higher percolation rate and would likely flood first 3. Sand or silt

Activity 5 – Particle Size Distribution
1. The soil settles on the bottom and separated into layers 2. Our hypothesis was incorrect, we said there’d be equal amounts of all soils but there was...
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