SOIL percolates oxidized sulfuric materials. Effects of soil

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SOIL pH

Samples 4, 5, 6 which are the soil from the farm, soil
from mines and the black soil from the mines respectively, are acidic as they
have pH less than 7.it is important to note that sample 6 is the most acidic,
while sample 4 is the least acidic among the 3 samples.

Possible
causes of the soil acidification

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Sample 4-since
this is from the farm we expect the possible cause of soil acidification to be
fertilizers and acid forming organic materials. The application of chemical
fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate, urea etc. results in strong inorganic
acids being produced when these fertilizers are oxidized in the soil by microbes.
It is important to note that not all the H+ ions will be consumed by
the bicarbonate released when plants take up anions, as such the remainder is
the primary cause of the soil acidification. Similarly organic compounds such
leaf litter, sewage sludge or animal manure decrease the soil pH, through
oxidation of ammonium nitrogen or by organic and inorganic acids being formed
during decomposition.

Sample 5 and 6-these
soil samples are from the mines as such, we expected the likely cause of the soil
acidification to be exposure of potential acid sulfate material. These
materials are exposed in situations where pyrite- containing materials are
excavated and as a result they came into contact with water and air thus there
is production of large quantities of sulfuric acid .these potential acid
sulfate material may also be exposed when sulfur bearing normally anaerobic
soils are exposed to oxygen because of mining activities and as such there is
oxidation of sulfur. Acid mine drainage is another cause of soil acidification
when it comes into contact with soil as it is an extremely acid (0.5-2.0 pH
range) and toxic brew formed when water percolates oxidized sulfuric materials.

Effects of
soil acidity

Aluminum toxicity-when the soil pH drops below 4.8,
there is an increase in Al+3 concentration
and also other species of aluminum gain increased solubility. The presence of
large concentration of aluminum results in stunted root system in plants as it
damages membranes and restricts cell wal7expansion so roots cannot grow
properly. In order to solve for soil acidity one may consider adding lime,
gypsum, organic matter to the soil to increase the pH .Limes include Calcitic
limestone, dolomitic limestone, wood ashes etc.

Samples 1, 2, 3 are alkaline soils as they have a pH
greater than 7, however they are weak alkaline soils as they are close to the
neutral point 7.As it is expected that these soils have nutrient deficiencies
as such lack the micronutrients zinc, copper, iron and manganese as a result
they are generally not suited for plant growth, as the optimum pH range for
most plants is between 5.5 to 7.0.One can solve soil alkalinity by simply
adding fertilizers to the soil such as urea.

SOIL EC

Samples from the mine (black) and those containing the
hydrocarbons oil, and petrol have the highest EC readings. This may be due to
the fact that the high concentration of charged ions in the oil, petrol
impacted areas. Sample 5 had a very low EC value this may be caused by
extensive leeching of the soil thus losing its soil content .It is important to
note that EC less salt would mean less electricity conducted thus low EC
reading.

Effects of
salinity on plant growth

Soluble salts lower the osmotic potential of the soil
water thus making it more difficult for roots to remove water from the soil. It
is important to note that younger plants are more susceptible to salinity than
older ones. Soil solution high in salts often delay, or prevent germination and
can also cause plants to lose water to their surrounding(more concentrated
solution) through osmosis.IT is important to note that as salt content in the
soil increases microbial activity decreases.

 

 Soil pH vs Soil EC

As observed from the results when the soil pH
increases the soil EC decreases thus it can be said that they have an inverse
relationship.

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