Soil Inspection

Inspection of your soil and the plants growing in it will give you a better insight into soil structural conditions. Start by digging some shallow pits, a good spade depth is usually sufficient.

Is the soil hard to dig?
Hard compact soils restrict root growth and drainage
Photograph showing a farmer experiencing difficultury digging the soil with a spade.

Lots of fine fibrous white roots are present in a well structured soil. Fine fibrous plant roots are an integral part of the structure of krasnozem soils as they bind the smaller soil particles into larger aggregates and stabilise these with organic material.
Photograph showing a cross section of soil with fine fibrous plant roots throughout.

Many large clods
Clods are created during the first cultivation. Clods may be hard to break apart and will bake like bricks after a few days in the sun.
Phfotograph of soil which has formed clods.

Surface crusting
Poor structure stability allows rain and irrigation to break down aggregates into a fine slurry which forms a crust when dry. Crusts can prevent seedling emergence and reduce infiltration.
Photograph of hardened soil which has cracks and surface crusting.

Roots and clods
Roots grow down cracks in the soil rather than into compact clods.
Photograph of soil broken up into clods and veined with white roots.

Bent plant roots
A sure sign that plants are having difficulty sending their roots through compact soil layers.
Photograph of seedlings and roots which are growing sideways because of difficulty of roots penetrating the soil.

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