Soil Management Essay
Suitability for the establishment of a new broad-leaved woodland area, suggesting species appropriate to the soil type and justifying your selection.
When approaching different areas, with broadleaf woodlands in mind, there are many aspects of the soil and layout of the land that need to be taken into account. In one case we have an area of land that is over grown with Rhododendron ponticum. It is located on top of a large steep ridge and rests in between coniferous forests. The soil is a sandy loam and would be considered a crumb structure. Because of its texture and location, next to a large ridge, the soil drains very quickly and has a low water content. The profile consists of a shallow layer of organic matter over sand that becomes podsol. The soil is acidic at pH 5.5, which is often the case where R.ponticum thrives. With complete coverage R.ponticum creates a large amount of biomass but the leaves decompose slowly due to the size and thickness. This increases shade and limits growth of other species. This area is labelled as ‘Rhododendron Walk’.
Another area that we are looking at was used as a water-meadow but due to changes to water management in the area no longer becomes flooded throughout the winter. The land is exposed, low-lying and flat. It is bordered on three sides by a meander of a large river. The soil has a large water content and is of a silt texture which is classic of land around large amounts of water and certainly of land that spends time under water. With a massive structure and a profile that consists mostly of a deep silt top soil it is a neutral soil sitting right in the middle of the pH scale at 7. This area is labelled ‘Soggy Bottom’.
The final area of land is made up of a clay soil over chalk bedrock. The land has never been worked or ‘improved’ and is home to a range of meadow grasses, wildflowers and Acer campestre. The area is south facing and at some point in history was flattened into a terrace. The...