soil.docx - Soil Analysis Lab Purpose To determine the...

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Soil Analysis Lab Purpose: To determine the textural and compositional characteristics of soil as well as the chemical characteristics. Hypothesis: The textural and compositional characteristics of the soil will not be well enough for plant growth. Procedure Day 1: Soil Texture Place a 40 to 50 mL of soil sample in the graduated cylinder. 2. Add water until the total volume of soil and water is about 80-100 mL. 3. Cover the top of the graduated cylinder with a piece of plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. 4. Invert the cylinder several times until the soil is thoroughly suspended in the water. You may have to shake the cylinder to mix the water and soil thoroughly. 5. Place the cylinder on the table and let the soil material settle for at least 30 minutes. The different soil materials will settle to the bottom at different rates depending upon their particle sizes: sand size > silt size > clay size. 6. Estimate and record the volume of the sand, silt and clay layers using the marks on the graduated cylinder. There should be at least three reasonably distinct layers in the graduated cylinder representing sand (bottom), silt (middle) and clay (top). There may also be a dark humus layer above the clay layer, or possibly floating on top of the water. 7. Be sure to record the volumes of the three layers and the total of volume of your sample, and calculate the percent composition by volume for each layer. Day 2 Determine pH 1. Use the dried soil that you previously placed on the drying paper. 2. Determine the pH of the soil following the procedure provided with the soil test kit. Note: During this test you must allow the soil to settle for about ten minutes. 3. Record your pH data. Determine primary soil nutrients 1. Use soil on drying on the paper for this test. 2. Determine the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous contents of the soil sample following the procedure provided with the soil test kit. Note: During each of these tests you must allow the soil to settle for about ten minutes.

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