Flow of Water within the Soil and the Nutrient Cycle

2023 Words Jan 29th, 2018 8 Pages
Introduction:
“Plants can absorb water over their entire surfaces, but the greater part of the water supply comes from the soil (Larcher, 1995, p.223).”
Many factors affect nutrient availability, all of which are interlinked and are vital in the overall cycle of nutrients. For example, the ability of water to transport nutrients to the rhizosphere unimpeded is important. A factor which is considered to be central to nutrient cycling is the soil micro-organisms, which break down soil organic matter (SOM), releasing nutrients back into the soil through mineralization. If nutrients are cycled well plants are more likely to grow to their optimum potential.
The purpose of this assignment is to look at the flow of water within the soil and how it can affect the cycling of nutrients, while outlining the remedial methods needed for sustaining suitable nutrient levels.

2. Soil:
In agriculture, soil can cause limitations to plant growth through (a) depth, stoniness, texture and structure which together can influence the amount of water which can be held in the profile and the ease with which roots can penetrate and (b) the availability of nutrients (Rowell, 1994). There are four main constituents of soil: mineral matter, organic matter, air and water (Fig. 1.1). 2.1 Soil texture:
The preferred texture type is called loam, which is a mixture of three elements, sand, silt & clay. Courtney & Trudgill (1976) explain that sand particles…

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