Appu’s father plans on opening an Anthurium flower farm. He read that Anthurium plants require soils with good water absorption capacity along with good aeration. He has three choices: Clayey soil, Sandy Loam soil and coco peat (an artificial soil made from coconut husks). He took 50 g of each soil and determined the volume of water it absorbed. He also determined the soil particle size using a microscope and tabulated the results.
Soil TypeVolume of water absorbed by 50g of soilParticle sizeClayey35 ml0.002 mmSandy Loam15 ml1 mmCoco Peat350 ml1 mm
Which soil should Appu’s father choose?
To determine the water absorbing capacity of soil we need to find the percentage of water absorption. This is given by:
Percentage of Water Absorption = Weight of water absorbed in gramsWeight of soil in grams×100
It is given that the weight of soil taken is 50 g. We have also been given the volume of water absorbed in each case. But to find the percentage, we need the weight of water.
It is important to know that 1 ml of water weighs 1 g. So, 35 ml of water weighs 35 g and so on.
We can then use the formula above to find the percentage of water absorption:
Soil Typepercentage of waterParticle sizeabsorption Clayey35 g50 g×100=70%0.002 mmSandy Loam15 g50 g×100=30%1 mmCoco Peat350 g50 g×100=700%1 mm
Thus, it can be seen that coco peat has the best moisture absorption capacity at 700% while clayey soil also has a good water retention capacity at 70%. Sandy soils absorb water the least.
Also, note from the table the sizes of soil particles. Larger the size of particles, better the aeration. Coco Peat and Sandy loam both have equally good aeration. Thus, the best soil is Coco Peat because the requirement is high water absorption with good aeration.