Nutrients213-page7 - Plant Nutrients and Soils 7 The...

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Plant Nutrients and Soils - 7 The availability and concentration of minerals is critical for growth. If a needed mineral is absent from the soil, the plant cannot grow properly, if at all. Mineral cycling, which involves the entire food chain, is an important process for ecosystems. (See ecology section) . Disturbed ecosystems may lose minerals in many ways, diminishing plant growth. Soil erosion or other soil loss also depletes available minerals. Soil particle size is very important for plant growth, and particularly for water and mineral absorption and for oxygen availability. We generally have three particle size ranges: Clay (less than 2 um Silt (2 – 20 um) Sand (20 - 400 um) Sand, the largest particle, makes soils that are porous, with good air spaces. Water and minerals leach through sand very well, however, so sandy soils are often dry and mineral poor. Sandy soils can often be saline when found in hot dry areas because water evaporates faster than it can perk, leaving mineral deposits on the soil surface.
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