Getting Started...Managing Your Soil
Soil, water, air and sun are the essentials for life
Agricultural property owners, horse property owners, production property owners:
Our Conservation Specialists will assist you by sampling your soil and advising you of the best overall measures to improve your soil and your productivity.
For Lawns and Gardens:
Information on how to collect and prepare soil samples for testing is available at Virginia Cooperative Extension
The Prince William County Soil Survey
is available at the District office in paper copy format - free for pick up or $5 prepaid for mailing. Also a compact disk is available for $5 pick up or prepaid mailing.
What on Earth is Soil?
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- Soil makes up the outermost layer of our planet
- Topsoil is the most productive soil layer
- Soil has varying amounts of organic matter (living and dead organisms), minerals and nutrients
- Five tons of topsoil spread over an acre is only as thick as a dime
- Natural processes can take more than 500 years to form one inch of topsoil
- Soil scientists have identified over 70,000 kinds of soil in the United States
- Soil is formed from rocks and decyaing plants and animals
- An average soil sample is 45 percent minerals, 25 percent water, 25 percent air and 5 percent organic matter
- Different sized mineral particles, such as sand, silt, and clay, give soil its texture
- Fungi and bacteria help break down organic matter in soil
- Plant roots and lichens break up rocks which become part of new soil
- Roots loosen the soil, allowing oxygen to penetrate, which benefits animals living in the soil
- Roots hold soil together and help prevent erosion
This information is brought to you by the Environmental Protection Agency.