Soil Composition and Moisture

With remote sensing we can estimate many of the important properties of the soil. The organic carbon content can be estimated from albedo. Clay, iron and other mineral contents can also be estimated.

While nutrients are important to plant growth, more critical to their vitality is plant available moisture. Water is essential for the transport of nutrients to and from the plant. This transport occurs laterally within the soil, and vertically within the plant. Water therefore, is the lifeblood of the system. Without sufficient moisture, photosynthesis is impossible. Perhaps more importantly is a proper balance of available water. Root systems of plants also require air in order to survive, with too much water, plants will literally drown.

A field at the Wiregrass experiment station.

Acknowledgement: Wiregrass Experiment Station, Auburn University, Headland, AL, May 19, 1999, Director Larry Wells, Authors: D.G. Sullivan, D. Rickman, J.N. Shaw, P. Mask, J.C. Luvall, J.M. Beck

Components of a loamy Alabama soil in ideal condition for plant growth.


Links of interest

USDA Soils
Soil Horizons
Soil Horizons Tutorial
Soils of Alabama
Crop & Soil Sciences at University of Georgia
Soil Moisture
Soil Moisture Conditions
Soil Moisture Model
Estimated Rate of Annual Soil Erosion on Cultivated Cropland If Farmers Used No Conservation System
State of the Land - Index to Maps Facts and Figures
Texas Water Savers

Responsible Official: Dr. Steven J. Goodman (
Tehcnical Contact: Dr. Doug Rickman (
Page Curator: Diane Samuelson (

Last Updated: October 21, 1999