Soil Conditioner: How Are They Beneficial?

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If you want to have healthy, strong plants that grow quality vegetables and fruits, chances are you will have to condition your soil. Few of you would naturally have the ideal earth and soil for your plants. It takes dedication, effort, and a good soil conditioner to get there.

Poor soil conditions can affect the health of plants as well as the growth process. A combination of issues like sandy soil, nutrient depletion, low or high pH, and other factors could cause plants to dry up, stunt growth, and even lead to death. Using a soil conditioner can improve the soil quality in your farmland and boost plant growth. 

Soil conditioners, defined as soil amendments that improve the soil structure. Meaning they enhance the physical properties of the existing soil. They can help increase aeration, oxygen penetration, water holding capacity, and nutrient absorption in soil. Moreover, soil conditioners can maintain the pH level as well.

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Compost is also very similar and serves the purpose of soil conditioner. Compost is decayed organic matter that primarily increases the soil’s nutritional content. Soil conditioners also do the same purpose, but only that their particle sizes are smaller. You can continue reading this article to gain complete knowledge of soil conditioners. This info would help you select a suitable substance for your soil irrespective of the soil profile.

What is a Soil Conditioner?

A soil conditioner is a substance that farmers would add to the soil to change the soil properties. In today’s “fast green” world, you might notice an overabundance of fertilizers, which focuses heavily on chemical inputs.

A soil conditioner is primarily a substance added to soil in the farmland or garden to change the soil properties. You can distinctly divide soil amendments into three categories. They include fertilizers, soil inoculants, and soil conditioners.

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Soil conditioners – enhance soil properties, and hence they are often called soil enhancers. These products can alter the soil structure, but that is only part of the effect. Soil properties might include many areas such as soil ph, cation exchange capacity, water holding capacity, or even soil compaction.

Fertilizers – be they organic or synthetic are a kind of soil amendment that provides added nutrients. The primary nutrients that fertilizers add to the soil are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients are also called macronutrients. Interestingly, there are 72 trace elements or micro-nutrients that fertilizers can add to the soil.

Soil inoculants – are soil amendments that usually add biology to the soil to improve the soil food web. Often soil inoculants focus on fungi or bacteria but can also include beneficial nematodes and other biology that play vital roles in the carbon or nitrogen cycle. Remember that soil biology plays a significant role only in a healthy environment.

Irrespective of whether you use compost or soil conditioner, it is necessary that microorganisms break down the elements present in the soil to increase soil fertility. Plants and crops do not absorb nutrients in non-assimilable form. In simple terms, they only consume nutrients processed by microbes and then release them.  

How to Identify Soil Conditioners?

In classifying a soil amendment, farmers primarily evaluate the product based on its impact. Does the product provide nutrients? If so, then it is a fertilizer. You might also ask – does the product deliver biology to the soil? If your answer is yes, then it is an inoculant.

If the selected product does not provide any nutrients or biology but is deemed beneficial for plant life, it is a soil conditioner by default. Many soil amendments might have the properties of a fertilizer, inoculant, or conditioner, but you should be aware of the objective of using them. 

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Note that soil enhancers also add nutrients to the soil. But they do not guarantee the value of the macronutrients. In the USA, the difference can be very negligible. Remember that many of the organic products available provide great soil conditioning and enhancing properties. These properties might include added water retention and beneficial microorganisms especially in loamy soil. The organic materials present in the conditioner provide excellent value to plant roots, thus improving clay soil.

Soil conditioners and soil enhancers can also repair damaged soil, helping maintain the soil quality for plant life. Over time the soil might become compacted and have less air space for roots to function. In such a scenario, soil conditioners help to loosen compacted soils. Moreover, they also help replenish and maintain nutrients for the plants to flourish. You should also know about bio stimulant for plants, which can increase crop yeild.

For the best result, you need to mix the soil and the soil conditioner before planting. However, some soil conditioners work better when placed on top of the soil after the crops are planted.

What do Soil Conditioners Contain?

Soil enhancers or soil conditioners might consist of organic matters from many sources. They primarily include organic compost. These are generally the plant and animal remains that have reached various stages of decomposition. You would typically refer to it as compost. 

When you add compost to the existing soil, it begins decomposing and provides an additional rich food source. The conditions become ideal for the microorganisms in the soil. The microbes eat the plant and animal remains and eventually die. Thus these microbes add themselves to the organic composition of the soil. Humus is the end product of this cycle.

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Note that Humus, which is black or dark brown in color, will not decompose any further. But the Humus is vital to the condition of the soil because it readily chelates soil nutrients. In addition, Humus dramatically increases the water holding capacity of the soil. As you provide organic matter as a soil conditioner, you are helping the plants sustain a healthy life. The biology is less prolific when the farmland soil depletes organic matter, and water tends to drain. Therefore those plants tend to have a more challenging time sustaining life.

If you want to know more about soil, you should understand Cation Exchange Capacity or CEC. The soil can hold and release various compounds and elements that plants need for nutrition through this process called Cation Exchange Capacity.

What is Cation Exchange Capacity?

You can use soil conditioners to balance out the Cation Exchange Capacity within the different types of soil. Because there are various types of soil in your garden or farm, there are multiple levels of the CEC within each of these different types. 

You will find some soil conditioners that will bind together the atoms that plants need to grow. They are also able to release the different nutrients at the time as and when the plant needs them the most. As a result, this soil property can ultimately change through the use of a soil conditioner to the perfect state that a plant might need to grow. 

What Is The Difference Between Compost And Soil Conditioner?

Compost also serves the same purpose as that of soil conditioner. Compost is decayed organic matter that helps improve soil quality. It improves the nutritional content of the new or existing soil. Also, compost can be considered as a nutritive soil conditioner.

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However, one of the general differences between soil conditioner and compost is the particle size. Composts are made of finer materials, and it is usually meant to be dug into the soil. In contrast, a soil conditioner consists of smaller particles than compost. 

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When you repeatedly use the soil, the soil can get exhausted after some years of use. Meaning the soil depletes its ideal physical properties. For example, the soil loses the inter-particle space that is essential for the aeration of the soil. Note that improper aeration causes root rotting. In such cases, you should use a soil conditioner.

Different types of soil, particularly sandy soils, are unable to hold nutrients and moisture for long. Therefore, essential nutrients get washed away from the soil due to leaching. On the other hand, silt soils do not allow water to saturate the soil as it becomes slick when wet. Clay soils are the most challenging type – as the dryness turns clay into dust, and when wet, it turns into a concrete slab.

Therefore, soil conditioners are highly helpful in improving the soil properties of water holding capacity, aeration,  and pH. Organic soil conditioners are known to enhance the quality of soil over a period of time.

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The plant growth is affected drastically due to various factors like degrading soil quality, the use of chemical fertilizers, and climatic conditions. It is, therefore, necessary to use innovative solutions to boost the quality of your soil. Most of the organic products help in restoring natural soil microbiology. They act as soil conditioners and support plant growth by resisting pests and securing nutrients. It keeps the plants green and healthy and provides better quality of crop yield as they enhance immunity, crop vigor, and productivity.

Compost

Compost, on the other hand, is made by decomposing organic waste in a controlled environment. A wide range of materials like fruits and vegetables, animal manure, kitchen waste, and other waste generate from organic sources are used. The commonly found composts have a few characteristics like lightweight, dark color, and it is slightly humid due to moisture content. When you mix compost with sail, it will act like a sponge that retains water. It will then release the water when the roots of the plants need it.

Why Condition Your Soil?

If you plant your crops in simple, unconditioned soil, your plants will not thrive. Poor soil will restrict water and nutrient uptake, thus causing your plants to turn yellow and produce poorly.

Poor soil could also be compacted, which would prevent roots of the plants from growing well and obtaining nutrients from the soil. If your soil is too sandy or lacks organic matter, it might cause plants to become undernourished.

But a soil conditioner can resolve these problems by adjusting the texture of your soil and balancing the nutrients. You can also improve aeration, adjust pH, and water retention with the right soil conditioner.

Why Choose Our Products

Al Ardh Al-Khadra is primarily a soil conditioners manufacturer in UAE. The company focuses on organic agricultural products, which can be ideally used for organic farming in the UAE. Their products like organic fungicides, organic pesticides, organic soil conditioners, and organic plant nutrition are very effective in controlling a wide range of plant diseases. So start shopping online today!

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