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San Joaquin Valley Soils (Research Paper Sample)

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what is soil texture, why they are important, and what makes soil in kern county, c.a, so important and valuable in export and locally.

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San Joaquin Valley Soils
Due to technological advancement and increased use of machinery in farming, soils are getting prone to deterioration and inability to sustain good productivity over time. Another factor exposing the soil to the threat of deterioration is increasing horticulture and agricultural practices. The type of soil texture in a certain place plays a significant role to determine the productivity in that geographic region holding other factors constant. Since different crops do well in different soil textures, it is paramount to understand the soil structure and texture in your locality before planting your crops. Most people tend to confuse soil texture and soil structure, but they mean completely different things. This research paper aims at explaining soil texture, its importance and the significance of Kern County, CA soil.
What is soil texture?
This is the qualitative classification tool used by agronomists in the laboratory and field to determine the different classes of soil depending on their physical texture. The classification can then be distinguished by the textual feel that can be clarified further using grading sieves to separate clay, sand and silt. In this regard, soil texture can be defined as the size of particles in your soil sample. Particles are differentiated based on their physical size and textural feel. Sandy soil is determined by the large particles that tend to be grainy. Loam soil is compared to a chocolate cake texture, and it feels moist, light and crumbly. It has medium sized particles, unlike clay soil that contains the smallest particles. Silt contains the smallest particles that characterize clay soil that is usually sticky, dense and hard (Christensen).
There are various ways of determining the soil structure in your garden, but the most common is the ribbon method and a lab test. The lab test gives you the percentage of sand silt and loam in your soil sample. The results are compared with the textual triangle to determine its textural class. The textural triangle has 12 textual classes that include; silt, silt loam, silty clay loam, loam, sandy clay loam, loamy sand, sand, sandy loam, sandy clay, clay loam, silty clay, and clay. They are usually determined by the percentage level of either clay, silt or clay. This can be explained further using the following figure.
Source: /mauisoil/a_factor_ts.aspx
Under the ribbon method, soil texture is classified based on the ribbons formed by the soil particles. The soil is said to be fine textured if the formed ribbon remains flexible and for a considerable long period. If there is no ribbon formed and the sample breaks into less than ¾ inch pieces, then the texture is medium. When the sample leaves no stain, contains gritty material and has no ability to form a ribbon, the texture is coarse. In California, San Joaquin is the state soil after it was officially designated in 1997 (Sousa). San Joaquin Valley has different types of soil textures that change as one approach San Joaquin River. Clay soil dominates the valley at 52%, clay loam at 35%, sandy loam at 9% and loam at 4%, but it contains a higher fraction of montmorillonite mineral. The finer textures soil is found near the San Joaquin River mostly due to silt deposition. The soils contain clay contents approximately forty to sixty percent. As one moves from East to West in the valley, the soil becomes coarsely textured gradually. The panache Creek has a distinct feature characterized by sandy loam soil deposits. The organic matter is quite low, and gypsum is present especially in the downslope soils (Schoups, Hopmans and Young). Production sustainability of agricultural products in a certain area depend on soil fertility that is influenced by soil structure and texture as well.
Importance of soil texture
Soil pH and fertility plays a significant role in determining how well your plants will grow. The soil textures discussed in this paper have their potential benefits and drawbacks, especially on the plants. The soil texture is known to affect the water-holding capacity of your garden. This is determined by the ability of soil to retain water that will be used by plants for a given period. The fineness or coarseness of your soil will determine the rate at which water is lost through infiltration and the ability of water retention for a long time.
It also affects the permeability that refers to the ease of water and air passage through the soil. Plants do well in the type of soil where water is easily stored, and aeration is effective for proper growth. Soils texture determines the soil structure that in return plays an important role in determining the physical fertility of the soil. Fine textured soil tends to have a more stable structure with a lot of micro pores that help to reduce water passage hence more retention. On the other hand, coarse-textured soil conduct water much faster due to the many macropores that reduce water retention capability.
The soil structure in your garden will determine the ease of soil workability. This is the ease or difficulty experienced when preparing the land for planting or timing the right time to cultivate after rain. Most people prefer the type of soil that will not make their work daunting and hectic. In most cases, fine particle soils tend to get waterlogged during rainy seasons and brings about workability challenges.
It is important to acknowledge that the type of soil texture in your land will determine the types of crops to grow. Crops that grow beneath the surface such as carrots and onions will not do well in fine-textured soil. Soils that get waterlogged easily after a rain or excessive irrigation leads to aeration problems and plants are unable to pick nutrients effectively leading to poor growth and results (Singh, Pathak and Prakash).
The resistance of soil to erosion is also a function of soil texture. By understanding the type of soil texture in your land, then you can determine the best measures to control erosion and reduce the loss of fertility. Fertility has a direct relation to soil texture that determines retention of nutrients and water. Since leaching of nutrients is a function of soil texture, coarse textured soils tend to be less fertile compared to fine soils. This is because the fine textured soil can retain more nutrients and water for a remarkably long time. The soil is also able to maintain a good balance between soil air and soil moisture that helps plants to pick nutrients thus providing a conducive environment for growth.
What makes the soil in Kern County important?
Kern County is located in California, and its economy is heavily linked to petroleum extraction and agriculture. The County is characterized by different soil textures depending on the location. Apart from using fertilizers and other enhancers, the soil in the county is fertile and able to sustain agricultural practices. The soil is rich in nutrients necessary for crop production and basic plant nourishment. The necessary nutrients include potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen that are readily available in the soil. The soil in Kern contains optimum organic matter that in return helps to improve the soil structure. The key advantage of the organic matter is that it helps the soil to retain nutrients and water necessary for crop growth. The soil of Kern County contains large amounts of topsoil that help to boost its fertility. The fact that most of the agriculture productive areas in the county are slightly slanted makes the soil good for farming due to good drainage of excess water. It also ensures that there are minimal or no cha...
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