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Soil Temperature And Its Importance

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Germination of various seeds requires different soil temperature ranges.  For example, maize starts to germinate at soil temperatures from 7 to 100C.
  3. Most organisms within soil thrive at temperatures between 25-350C.
  4. Nitrification requires a soil temperature of 320C.

Soil temperature influences aeration, soil moisture content, and the availability of plant nutrients.

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