The soil layer of the earth is critical in maintaining plant life, offering mechanical support, and supplying water and nutrients.
Soil functions as a major storage mechanism of heat, collecting energy throughout the day and releasing heat to the surface during the night. Over the course of a year, soil retains energy during warmer seasons and releases heat to the air throughout colder seasons.
Why is soil temperature important?
- Soil temperature directly affects plant growth. In other words, nearly every crop slows down its growth when soil temperatures are below 90C and above 50 0C.
- Germination of various seeds requires different soil temperature ranges. For example, maize starts to germinate at soil temperatures from 7 to 100C.
- Most organisms within soil thrive at temperatures between 25-350C.
- Nitrification requires a soil temperature of 320C.
Soil temperature influences aeration, soil moisture content, and the availability of plant nutrients.