FIRST GROUPING OF SOIL ELEMENTS
As an introduction to soil chemistry we need to start off by thinking of a magnet.
A magnet has two charges to it.
If you place a second magnet along side the first one - what happens?
- A positive end &
- A negative end.
The opposite charges [poles] attract to each other and like charges [pole] repel each other.
In your soil the same natural attraction is found.
Your soil is made up of small particles that have negative charges. Elements with a positive charge are
attracted to them. Just like the opposite poles in the magnets above.
The elements that have a positive [+] charge are collectively called cations ["cat irons"].
There are other elements that have a negative [-] charge and they are collectively called anions
We have been introduced to a few new words like cations & anions.
The first grouping of elements falls into two categories:
To understand about this grouping of elements we first need to meet the cations
- The positive [+] elements named cations [said "cat irons"] &
- The negative elements [-] named anions ["an irons"].
We will focus firstly on the major cation then the minor cations followed by the anions.
Cations [+ elements] are the dominant elements in the soil, yet we often pay little attention to them.
Finding an anion in your soil is like finding a needle [the anion] in a hay stack [a pile of cations].
Cations make up the majority of your soil elements and are very large in size when compared to soil anions.
Dr William Albrecht found that a good soil should have over 95% of the available elements as cations on
the Base Saturation Percentage!
Where do you focus your thoughts on and your dollars?
Shouldn't 95% of your initial focus be on the cations?
So far we have identified that Calcium is a cation, but we need a lot more cations in the soil besides
Calcium. It is easy then to imagine there are a lot more individual cations to consider.
We will first consider the MAJOR CATIONS.
There are five major cations in your soil. [Can you guess which five they are?]
When Dr Albrecht and fellow scientists identified that there were key elements that made for a good soil,
given that rainfall, temperature, topography etc. was similar, they discovered that there were two major
cations that dominated a good soil and that often made it a good soil.
The first was CALCIUM.
The second was MAGNESIUM.
The Albrecht soil balance system requires about 80% of our soil cations to be of
available calcium and magnesium [on the Base Saturation Percentage].
The information contained in this publication has been formulated in good faith, the contents do
not take into account all the factors which need to be considered before putting that information
into practice. Accordingly, no person should rely on anything contained herein as a substitute for
specific professional advice.
Hydrogen is also an important cation [+] as it helps to provide the acid environment to keep the
metallic trace elements available and in circulation for the soil ecosystem.
The last two major cations [+] [on the Base Saturation Percentage] are
It is best to have more Potassium in your soil than Sodium. If Sodium dominates,
plants may substitute this element for Potassium
- Desirable Hydrogen levels range from between 10 - 15%.
S.O.S. Rev 9.2 All rights reserved.
Contact: www.healthyag.com © Gwyn Jones 2001
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