North Carolina State University


Changing the world from the ground up

The winter of 2014 was devastating to golf courses throughout North Carolina. Unexpected low temperatures wreaked havoc through out the State. Agronomy the study of agricultural science that deals with the study of crops and the soils in which they grow can teach you how to protect against soil and vegetation destruction.

Chemical vs. Mechanical Weathering

Mechanical weathering - physical disintegration of an object into smaller fragments, each with the same properties as the original. Occurs mainly by temperature and pressure changes.

Chemical weathering - process by which the internal structure of plants/vegetation is altered by the addition or removal of elements.

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Soil Facts

Soil Horizons- A soil horizon is a layer generally parallel to the soil crust, whose physical characteristics differ from the layers above and beneath.

Soil Composition- While a nearly infinite variety of substances may be found in soils, they are categorized into four basic components: minerals, organic matter, air and water.

Soil texture is an important soil characteristic that influences storm water infiltration rates.

Rate Of Soil Formation


Parent Material- soil is formed from mineral or organic material

Time- Soil takes many years to form, some of the younger soils get characteristics from the older soils.

Climate- This is the most important factor in soil formation. The two most important key factors are temperature and precipitation. They both determine how quickly weathering will be and what kind of organic materials will be available.

Relief- This has to do with the landscape position and the angle it has. The greater the angle the greater potential for run off. The effect on soil will be poor if the angle is greater.

Organisms- Plants and animals on or within the soil have an effect on the richness of organic matter. Plants provide lots of vegetative residue that are added to soils. Their roots hold the soil together and they also provide shelter from the sun and other environmental conditions. Animals such as insects earthworms and fungi help the break down of organic material, aeration and mineral and nutrient cycle.

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing is gathering information or data without making physical contact with the soil.

Information such as precipitation, wind and temperature extremes can be used to address any environmental concerns related to plants and vegetation.

Importance of soil

Soil is a vital part of the natural environment.

It influences the distribution of plant species and provides a habitat for a wide range of organisms.

Soil is used for plants,allows gas exchanges to happen between the land and air, and is also used for wildlife.It also holds and cleans water, and is used for constructing structures like buildings and roadbeds.

Common misuses of soil and the negative consequences

Industrialization has caused soil to become contaminated due to the release of pollution into the air. This air pollution is brought back to earth when it rains and is absorbed into the soil. The result can be contaminated plants and vegetation.

Soil Stewardship

Become entrusted in the management of soil and have an impact on the environment. Soil is a living thing which can be healthy or unhealthy. We have the power to keep the soil healthy and we have the power to kill it.

Crop yield has improved dramatically in the 20th century due to more sophisticated crop protection chemicals, genetic improvements, and genetic analysis.