Soil  - Soil is a substance made up of sands, silts, clays, decaying organic matter, air, water and an enormous number of living organisms.  Is it alive or dead?  Yes, is the answer.  We have no word for a substance that is both living and dead - wood, soil.  See section 1 in "Logging - What it is".  Soils and wood share a common problem:  They are thought of as dead substances.  This has come about because wood products research gained an early lead over research on wood in living trees.  With soils, many texts still define soils as loose material of weathered rock and other minerals, and also partly decayed organic matter that covers large parts of the land surface on Earth {without proper respect to the living}.  Soils are alive with many organisms in winter.  Remember, the best fishing places in the world are in cold water.  See “bacteria” “amoebae”.  Soil actinomycetes are very tolerant of water stress.  Actinomycetes often give that "good earth " aroma after a rain.   Insects keep nitrogen high in the soil.  In forests, the ice-injured trees add much needed carbon as cellulose for soil organisms.  Forest practices during the last several decades have removed so much cellulose that we believe soil organisms are starving.  Coarse Woody Debris is a bio-indicator of healthy soil and forest.  (See Logging – What it is”– my doc).  The fungi play a major role in recycling essential elements from symplastless organic matter.  The fungi often do this in association with many other organisms in the soil: bacteria, insects, worms, amoebae, nematodes, and small animals.  Many of the fungi associated with mycorrhizae have mushroom fruit bodies. Others have a variety of fruit bodies above ground and below ground.  The major point is that the members of the natural system are all connected.  When the connections begin to be broken, the system will suffer.  You can kill soil.  You can kill a forest.  You can kill many living things that depend on a healthy forest.  How?  By breaking connections.  Shedding of non-woody roots adds a great amount of carbon to soils.  About 95% or more of the nitrogen and sulfur is in an organic form in most surface soils.  Root hairs and mycorrhizae are alive and well in midwinter in nonfrozen soils during warm spells and non-frozen soil below frozen soils.  Would you buy and use a product that gave you perfect teeth, but rotted your gums ?  We must care for the soils.  People who call wonderful soil dirt need help.  People who call beautiful soil, dirt, should have their mouth washed out with wound dressing.  When a tree is wounded, you should not treat only the wound but the entire tree.

Dictionary MAIN PAGE
Text & Graphics Copyright © 2007 Keslick & Son Modern Arboriculture
Please report web site problems, comments and words of interest, not found.