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Garden plant residues can improve soil

Date:
February 15, 2016
Source:
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of
Summary:
Leaving some of your plants and vegetables up over the winter is a good thing, say investigators. According to a new article, plant "litter" that remains after a harvest is called "residue." Leaving the residues in place over the winter, instead of pulling them up or tilling them into the soil surface, provides numerous benefits for the soil and your garden.
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When there is no plant residue left to cover the soil, it can form a crust. This reduces the soil’s natural ability to soak up rain and snowmelt, and can increase erosion.
Credit: Kate Norvell

Garden Plant Residues Can Improve SoilIntentionally or unintentionally, many gardeners have left plants in their gardens over the winter. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) February 15 Soils Matter blog post explains this is actually a good thing… and something everyone should consider on a yearly basis.

According to blog writers Kelley House and Kate Norvell, both certified professional soil scientists, plant "litter" that remains after a harvest is called "residue." Leaving the residues in place over the winter, instead of pulling them up or tilling them into the soil surface, provides numerous benefits for the soil and your garden.

• Plant residues reduce erosion and the loss of valuable topsoil.

• Having plant residues on the soil surface prevents something called soil crusting.

• Residual plant material reduces weeds by covering and shading the soil.

• Plant residues provide shade, regulating soil temperature.

• Cooler soil temperatures also aid in the retention of soil moisture, which in turn is favorable for seed germination in the spring and crop growth.

• Crop residues provide micro-habitats that protect and benefit the germinating plant seeds and establishing seedlings.

• Plant residues provide a source of organic matter for the soil.

To read the entire blog post, visit https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/what-is-the-effect-of-leaving-some-of-the-vegetable-crops-up-over-the-winter-how-does-that-improve-soil-conditions/


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Materials provided by American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of. "Garden plant residues can improve soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160215124440.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of. (2016, February 15). Garden plant residues can improve soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160215124440.htm
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of. "Garden plant residues can improve soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160215124440.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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