Soil is the uppermost layer of the earth’s crust. It is the means that enable a tree to grow and nourish. Trees derive the nutrients, oxygen, and water that are important for their growth through the soil. Soil also provides strength to a tree so that it can withstand windstorms.
Soil is mainly composed of sand, silt, clay, and gravel. Based on the proportion of these constituents a soil is classified into various types. Different types of soil are loam, clay, clay-loom, silt-loom, and so on.
Every tree has its own requirements. Therefore, they require different soil types to grow and nourish. For a tree to survive the soil in which it is planted must fulfill its nutritional requirements. Understanding the following characteristics of soil will help you to decide what soil type best suits your tree.
Soil texture refers to the proportion of sand, silt, and clay in the soil. Soil texture is important as it affects many other properties of soil. These properties include: –
- Structure of soil
- The ability of soil to store water
- Availability of oxygen, water, and nutrients
Soils that contain a well-graded mixture of sand, silt, and clay are known as medium textured soils. These soils are favorable for growing most types of plants.
Soil structure means the pattern that multiple soil particles form while bonding with each other. Soil with a good structure allows enough water and nutrients to be stored.
Compacted soil means that the voids from soil have been eliminated. Since voids are responsible for storing water and air, fewer voids mean less water and oxygen for the tree. Highly compacted soils are not suitable for most types of trees.
Soils are poorly drained if water pools on its top for a period covering days after a wet period. Roots of sensitive plants rapidly die in soils containing a high level of moisture and can not perform oxygen-requiring respiration. Conversely, the foliage dies, from lack of water. Drowning plants show the same symptoms as those suffering from drought: drooping leaves and browning leaf margins.
Most of the naturally occurring soil has a pH of 5-8. A change of one pH unit means that the acidity of the soil has increased or decreased ten times. It is advised that you conduct a soil pH test with a pH kit that is available at most of the garden stores.
Knowing the level of salt in the soil is vital. A higher level of fertilizers salts can cause desiccation or “drying out” of leaves. Roadway deicers, such as sodium chloride, can get stored in soils that are near to heavily salted roads or sidewalks. If high concentrations are found in the soil, the salts can draw moisture out of plant roots, causing desiccation of the entire plant.
Different Soil For Different Tree
As discussed earlier every plant has a different soil type that suits it the best. For instance, Almond, apple, apricot, bay laurel, and citrus trees require well-drained soils. Date palms grow on a wide variety of soil types from sand to clay. Ironwood trees grow best on sandy and rocky soils. Therefore, you must carefully study your soil type before you plant your new tree.