Current issue: 54(2)
In soil profiles from a series of uplands of different site types bulk density, density of solids and porosity of soil were clearly related to soil organic matter content and its distribution in the soil profile. Soil organic matter contents were also strongly correlated to effective cation exchange capacity (CEC) and soil acidity. Site fertility was primarily related to the fine fraction (ø<0.06 mm) content in the C horizon and related properties (i.e. CEC). In the humus layer, the content of exchangeable bases and base saturation most strongly related to site fertility.
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The particle size distribution affects several properties of the soil, thus, the ability to define the texture type of the soil as accurately as possible in field conditions is essential. The soil particle size classification devised by Atterberg (1912) is used in Finnish forestry. The study is based on a small laboratory material. The correlation between some characteristics of the soil particle size distribution, field capacity and cation exchange capacity were determined.
The particle size characteristics such as the relative proportion of different particle sizes, average particle size (Md) and parameters depicting the degree of sorting were determined. The relative proportion of soil particles below 0.06 mm correlated best with both field capacity and cation exchange capacity. Similarly, the average particle size and the degree of sorting correlated well with the field capacity and the cation exchange capacity.
The use of sorting characteristics is not well-suited to the type of soil sample material containing a high proportion of particles of varying size as was used in this material. Such characteristics are probably more easily applicable to the fine sand and sand sediments which are predominant in Finnish forest soils. The most useful particle size distribution characteristics in soils having a great variation in particle sizes were the average particle size and the relative proportion of silt and clay. Thus, the nutrient and water status of the soil can be predicted to some extent by examining the percentage of silt and clay, average particle size and the degree of sorting.
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The aims of the present study were to determine physical and physio-chemical properties of some Finnish forest tree nursery soils, and to examine relationships between these properties and the amount of organic matter in the soil.
The following soil tillage layer properties of 33 fields belonging to 8 forest tree nurseries were determined: soil particle size distribution, organic matter content, bulk density and density of solids, total pore space, soil water volume at potentials pF 2.0 and 4.2, available water content and air space at potential pF 2.0, active acidity, electrical conductivity index and cation exchange capacities at pH 4.5 and 8.0. The soil texture class of the tillage layer parent material was sand, only in a few cases did higher percentage of silt and clay indicate a morainic nature of parent material. The amount of organic material in the soils varied within wide limits, reflecting differences in amelioration policy between the single nurseries.
Relationships between the physical properties of the soil parent material and those related to fertility were in most cases strongly influenced by the amount of soil organic matter. Soil density values decreased as the organic matter content increased from 2 to 25%, giving rise to the increase in the total pore space. However, the amount of water held at potential pF 2.0 and the available water content did not increase with increasing organic matter content. This was due to the absence of the particle fraction in the sand. Nursery soil amelioration, involving in most cases a mixture of Sphagnum peat with sand, thus gives rise to an increase in the content of drainable water.
Cation exchange capacities were positively correlated with the organic matter content. However, the absolute number of exchange sites expressed as equivalents in the tillage layer did not increase in accordance with the increase in organic matter content due to the influence of the organic matter content upon the ratio of solids in the voids.
The PDF includes a summary in English.