SOIL HEALTH INDICATORS

How do I know if my soil is healthy and what are indicators of soil health ?  Plants thrive in healthy soils and are not overtaken by pests (weeds, insects, diseases).  Weeds are the first colonizers of unhealthy, compacted or newly formed soils. Usually something is missing (soil organic matter (SOM), a certain nutrient, soil too tight) and weeds thrive under these conditions until the condition improves.  Insect and disease pest also thrive, because the plant is sick and easy prey.  Just like the lion or wolf in the wild, the sick and weak are consumed.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Healthy soils have deep loose soil for good root growth.  The soil should be dark in color meaning that the soil has plenty of SOM.  Healthy soil should be slightly moist, crumble,  have soil aggregates that fall apart, and have an “earthy” smell. When it rains, the aggregates should stick together and not turn to mud.  Read the entire article>>

From Ohio’s Country Journal
By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, and Jon Traunfeld, University of Maryland Extension