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# Part I: Calculate and record the percent sand, silt and clay in the soil sample 5.

6% clay 78.4 % silt 22% sand Use the soil textural triangle to determine the texture of the soil sample Silt Loam PART 2 Postlab QuestionsWrite out and respond to the following questions. 1. Use the soil triangle to determine the type of soils with the following particle sizes a. 20% silt, 10% clay, 70% sand -> Sandy Loam b. 30% sand, 10% clay, 60% silt -> Silt Loam c. 10% silt, 50% sand, 40% clay -> Sandy Clay d. 30% clay, 30% sand, 40% silt -> Clay Loam e. 60% clay, 10% sand, 30% silt -> Clay f. 40% sand, 10% silt, 50% clay -> Clay 2. List and describe three ways in which soil pH affects an ecosystem. PH is chemical measure of the soil reflecting the hydrogen (acid forming) ion activity. It expresses the degree of acidity or alkalinity in terms of pH values. The scale of measuring acidity or alkalinity contains 14 divisions known as pH units. It is centered around pH 7 which is neutral. Values below 7 constitute the acid range of the scale and values above 7 make up the alkaline range. PH scale is logarithmic, not linear. That is, a soil with a pH of 8.5 is ten times more alkaline

than a soil with a pH of 7.5, and a soil with a pH of 4.5 is ten times more acidic than a soil with a pH of 5.5. The pH condition of soil is one of several environmental conditions that affect the quality of plant growth. While many plants grow in a 3.5 to 10.0 range and some plants have a rather specific pH requirement, a near neutral or slightly acidic soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is generally considered ideal for the majority of plants. The major impact that pH extremes have on plant growth is in the availability of plant nutrients and concentration of the plant toxic minerals. In highly acidic soils, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium become tied up and unavailable, and manganese can be concentrated in toxic levels. At pH values of 7 and above, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, boron, and manganese become less available. Acidity can be reduced by applying some form of lime; ground agricultural limestone is the most frequently used. The finer the grind the more rapidly it becomes effective, but the amount needed depends on the extent of pH change needed for the plants to be grown as affected by the soil texture and OM content. The surest method of knowing what action is needed is to have the soil tested. 3. What types of vegetation does soil of the type and pH you sampled best support? -> Grasses, bamboo, wetland and aquatic plants, vegetables, fruit trees, berry bushes and ferns, to name a few. 4. What would be the ideal type and pH of soil to have around a home? -> The ideal type of soil is loam and pH at 6.0-7.5 5. What would be the ideal type and pH of soil for agriculture? -> The ideal type of soil is loam and pH at 6.5-7.5 6. How do farmers adjust the pH of soils? -> Limestone or sulfur into the soils to neutralize

PART 3

A: Using the method described above, try to classify your soil as mostly sand, mostly silt or mostly clay. How did you classify your soil based on this by hand method? What lead you to this conclusion? -> We didnt feel the soil sandy, and we then mold the soil to form an easily deformed ball and feel smooth and silky. B: Now use the dichotomous key to classify your soil. What soil texture would you classify your sample based on this method? -> Silt Loam C: Do it again with the flow diagram- how would you classify your soil now? -> Silt Loam

D: Did your answers to all of the methods agree with each other? Why or why not? Yes, all of the answers agree with each other. The "by hand" method, the dichotomous key and the flow diagram each concluded that the soil that we used in this lab was silt loam.

Conclusion In conclusion, there are a variety of methods to determining what type of soil. Some people simply pinch moist soil between their finger and thumb. If it feels gritty, it contains a lot of sand. If it feels sticky and can be molded into a ball, it contains a lot of clay. If it feels quite smooth, almost like flour, it contains a lot of silt. The best soil for plant growth is a loam which contains a high amount of silt mixed with a low amount of clay and a middle range of sand.