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Topsoil is the upper surface of the Earth’s crust, and topsoil is usually not any deeper than approximately eight inches. The Earth’s topsoil naturally mixes rich humus with minerals and composted material, which results in a nutritious substance on which plants and trees can thrive. Topsoil is quite possibly one of Earth’s most vital resources, because topsoil is a delicate nutritional balance that provides food for many of the animals on Earth, either directly in the form of plant material or indirectly in the form of products from animals that eat plants. The lack of good topsoil would result in the lack of healthy plants which would result in the lack of proper nutrition for the animals. Therefore, topsoil is clearly a necessary component of the circle of life.

The nature of topsoil is quite delicate, but was topsoil understood until very recently. Traditionally, farmers rotated their crops because rotation seemed to create a better crop yield. They did not understand, however, why this was. In the 1930’s during the Dust Bowl, farmers planted profitable crops again and again, rather than rotating the topsoil. By doing so, they accidentally stripped the topsoil of nutritive value. The soil, which was formerly topsoil, was no longer suitable for plants. Since plants hold topsoil to the earth, the effect was that even light winds would pick up whatever topsoil remained and transported it somewhere else.

Modern farming practices emphasize crop rotation to conserve limited topsoil. Farmers rotate crops; specifically allow fields to lay fallow, and plant nitrogen fixing plants to promote soil health. Many times farmers will also plow different materials into the topsoil to enrich the humus, and spread compost and manure on it to enrich the topsoil, thereby making the topsoil more nutritious and rich. Healthy topsoil has dark brown appearance and feels moist, and crumbly. Unhealthy topsoil will look gray and will feel the same all over.

There are four main nutrients in topsoil: Nitrogen, phosphorus, topsoil delivery, and magnesium. Ideally, all four should be present in topsoil to ensure that the topsoil is balanced and healthy. Each of these nutrients serves a vital role in helping plants to thrive.

Nitrogen is the main nutrient which causes plants to grow and is needed to ensure the proper growth of leaves, branches, and stems. Weak, short, and the yellowing of leaves are signs that the topsoil might be lacking adequate nitrogen. However, too much nitrogen in the topsoil is just as detrimental to the plant and can cause, for example, excessive leaf length at the expense of shorter flowers.

Phosphorous is the nutrient responsible primarily with plant development. Deficiencies will be apparent through stunted roots while the leaves on the plants may appear green or purple.

Potassium is important for photosynthesis. In addition, it promotes flower and fruit development. The yellowing and eventual death of leaf tissue would be a pretty good sign that the topsoil is lacking potassium. The plant will also be more easily susceptible to diseases when lacking potassium.

Published at: Recent Health Articleshttp://recenthealtharticles.org

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