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Importance of Soil Aeration?

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1. Plant and root growth: Soil aeration is an important factor in the normal

growth of plants. The supply of oxygen to roots in adequate quantities and theremoval of CO2

from the soil atmosphere are very essential for healthy plant

growth.

When the supply of oxygen is inadequate, the plant growth either retards or

ceases completely as the accumulated CO2 hampers the growth of plant roots. The

abnormal effect of insufficient aeration on root development is most noticeable on

the root crops. Abnormally shaped roots of these plants are common on the

compact and poorly aerated soils. The penetration and development of root are

poor. Such undeveloped root system cannot absorb sufficient moisture and

nutrients from the soil

2. Microorganism population and activity: The microorganisms living in the soil

also require oxygen for respiration and metabolism. Some of the important

microbial activities such as the decomposition of organic matter, nitrification,

Sulphur oxidation etc depend upon oxygen present in the soil air. The deficiency of

air (oxygen) in soil slows down the rate of microbial activity.

For example, the decomposition of organic matter is retarded and nitrification

arrested. The microorganism population is also drastically affected by poor

aeration.

3. Formation of toxic material: Poor aeration results in the development of toxin

and other injurious substances such as ferrous oxide, H2

S gas, CO2 gas etc in the

soil.

4. Water and nutrient absorption: A deficiency of oxygen has been found to

check the nutrient and water absorption by plants. The energy of respiration is

utilized in absorption of water and nutrients. Under poor aeration condition (this

condition may arise when soil is water logged), plants exhibit water and nutrient

deficiency5. Development of plant diseases: Insufficient aeration of the soil also lead to the

development of diseases. For example, wilt of gram and dieback of citrus and

peach.

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