Plant World

Soil, Gardening, and Farming

What is the composition of synthetic soil?

In 1900 the American chestnut (Castenea dentata Marsh) was an important forest tree widespread across eastern North America until the chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica) devastated it, reducing it to small trees and stumps. In central and southern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and southern New England, the chestnut formed almost half of the hardwood forest. In its entire range, the species dominated the deciduous forests making up almost one-quarter of the trees.

Synthetic soil is composed of a variety of organic and inorganic materials. Inorganic substances used include pumice, calcinated clay, cinders, vermiculite, perlite, and sand. Vermiculite and perlite are used for water retention and drainage. Organic materials used include wood residues, manure, sphagnum moss, plant residues, and peat. Sphagnum peat moss is also helpful for moisture retention and lowers the pH of the mixture. Lime may be added to offset the acidity of peat. Synthetic soil may also be referred to as growing medium, soil mixes, potting mixture, plant substrate, greenhouse soil, potting soil, and amended soil. Most synthetic soils are deficient in important mineral nutrients, which can be added during the mixing process or with water.


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