Organic Matter

Killing Your Way to a Better Future

What is it?

Organic Matter composed of organic compounds that has come from the remains of organisms such as plants and animals and their waste products in the environment. So in short, Organic Matter is dead plant or animal tissue.

Information Concerning Organic Matter

How Can Organic Matter Help the World

Organic matter is stable in the soil. It has been decomposed until it is resistant to further decomposition. Usually, only about 5 percent of it mineralizes yearly. That rate increases if temperature, oxygen, and moisture conditions become favorable for decomposition, which often occurs with excessive tillage. It is the stable organic matter that is analyzed in the soil test. Some advantages of organic matter are: Nutrient Supply. Organic matter is a reservoir of nutrients that can be released to the soil. Each percent of organic matter in the soil releases 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen, 4.5 to 6.6 pounds of P2O5, and 2 to 3 pounds of sulfur per year. The nutrient release occurs predominantly in the spring and summer, so summer crops benefit more from organic-matter mineralization than winter crops; Water-Holding Capacity. Organic matter behaves somewhat like a sponge, with the ability to absorb and hold up to 90 percent of its weight in water. A great advantage of the water-holding capacity of organic matter is that the matter will release most of the water that it absorbs to plants. In contrast, clay holds great quantities of water, but much of it is unavailable to plants; Soil Structure Aggregation. Organic matter causes soil to clump and form soil aggregates, which improves soil structure. With better soil structure, permeability (infiltration of water through the soil) improves, in turn improving the soil's ability to take up and hold water; Erosion Prevention. This property of organic matter is not widely known. Data used in the universal soil loss equation indicate that increasing soil organic matter from 1 to 3 percent can reduce erosion 20 to 33 percent because of increased water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter.

than winter crops; Water-Holding Capacity. Organic matter behaves somewhat like a sponge, with the ability to absorb and hold up to 90 percent of its weight in water. A great advantage of the water-holding capacity of organic matter is that the matter will release most of the water that it absorbs to plants. In contrast, clay holds great quantities of water, but much of it is unavailable to plants; Soil Structure Aggregation. Organic matter causes soil to clump and form soil aggregates, which improves soil structure. With better soil structure, permeability (infiltration of water through the soil) improves, in turn improving the soil's ability to take up and hold water; Erosion Prevention. This property of organic matter is not widely known. Data used in the universal soil loss equation indicate that increasing soil organic matter from 1 to 3 percent can reduce erosion 20 to 33 percent because of increased water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter.

There are some disadvantages For the most part, organic fertilizer is not immediately available to the plants. This "slow- release" feature can be an advantage. However, if there is an immediate need for nutrients, organic fertilizer cannot supply them in a hurry. Furthermore, information on the amount of nutrients and the exact elements in an organic fertilizer such as manure is not readily available to the home gardener. In contrast, when you apply manufactured inorganic fertilizer you know the kinds and amounts of the elements it contains, and this allows you to be more precise in meeting a plant's nutritional needs. The possibility of nitrogen depletion is another drawback of organic fertilizers. Because of complex bacterial action, the addition of a large amount of organic material can cause a temporary nitrogen depletion in the soil and therefore in the plants.