Collect And Study Soil From At Least Two Different Sites

Aim

To study soil samples from two different sites and analyse their properties such as texture, moisture content, water-retaining capacity and pH. Also, the study aims to correlate the plants found in such soil.

Necessary Materials & Apparatus

For this experiment, roadside soil and garden soil are to be used. Apart from these samples, other materials are also required:

  • Dropper
  • Beaker
  • Tile
  • Measuring cylinder
  • Filter Paper
  • pH paper booklet
  • Test tubes
  • Distilled water
  • Funnel
  • Universal pH indicator solution
  • Wire gauze
  • Burner
  • Crucibles
  • Weighing scale/ balance
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Petri dish
  • Glass rods
  • Tin box with perforated bottom

Procedure

The following are the steps taken to prepare the soil samples for experiments to analyse various properties.

To study the pH of the Soil Samples

  • Take the roadside soil and put it into a beaker containing water. Repeat the same step for the garden soil sample as well.
  • Next, take a test tube and pour the two soil solutions separately through filter papers using a funnel.
  • The collected filtrates in the test tube are now ready for pH testing.
  • Using a dropper, put a few drops of universal indicator solution to the test tube.

To study the texture of Soil Samples

  • Collect 50 gm of soil in a measuring cylinder.
  • Pour a little water into the measuring cylinder and shake.
  • Wait for the particles to settle down.
  • The particles in the measuring cylinder will start to settle down in layers. Record the thickness of these layers.

To study the Moisture Content of Soil Samples

  • Put the two samples of soil in individual crucibles.
  • Weight the soil samples using a weighing balance.
  • Place the crucibles over the bunsen burner and heat it until it becomes dry.
  • Weight the crucibles and record the weight of the dry soil samples.
  • The samples are now ready to be used to determine the moisture content of the soil.

To study the Water Holding Capacity of Soil Samples

  • Take a soil sample (garden soil) in a mortar.
  • Grind it into a fine powder using a pestle.
  • Place a filter paper at the bottom of the tin box.
  • Weigh the entire contents of the tin box.
  • Now, add the powered soil into the box.
  • Use the glass rod to press and tap the box so that the soi is uniformly layered.
  • Now, the weight of the tin box is to be measured and recorded.
  • Next, take two glass rods and place them parallel to each other. Ensure that the distance between the two is not large.
  • Position the tin on the two glass rods in a way such that the bottom is in contact with the water.
  • This setup should be left undisturbed until the water seeps through the upper surface of the soil.
  • Now, remove the tin and allow all the water to flow out from the bottom
  • Wait until no more water percolates from the tin. Then, wipe the bottom dry and use the weighing machine to note down the weight.

Observation

To study the pH of the Soil Samples

  • When the universal pH indicator is added to the test tube containing the soil solution, the colour changes. These colour changes can be tracked using the pH colour chart. Roadside soil has a pH level of 7 while garden soil has a pH level of 6. Most crops grow between pH levels of 6.0 and 7.0.

To study the texture of Soil Samples

  • Using a soil textural triangle, draw the corresponding percentage of the soil components (silt, clay & sand).
  • The resultant lines which intersect indicate the type of soil. 

To study the Moisture Content of Soil Samples

  • The sample where the initial and final weight is the larger indicates a higher moisture content. Lower values mean the moisture content is quite low.

To study the Water Holding Capacity of Soil Samples

  • The water holding capacity of the soil is determined by the quantity of water held by the soil sample versus the dry weight of the soil sample. 

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