Teresa's Dirty Word of the Day 09.09.23 Edaphic

From dictionary.com, the word edaphic comes from the Greek word meaning, edaphos translated as bottom, floor, ground. Despite the word edaphic being first used circa 1900. Xenophon (431–355 BC), was an early edaphologist. Xenophon noted the beneficial effect of turning a cover crop into the earth.   

Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577–1644) performed a famous experiment, growing a willow tree in a pot of soil and supplying only rainwater for five years. The weight gained by the tree was greater than the weight loss of the soil. He concluded that the willow was made of water. Although only partly correct, his experiment reignited interest in edaphology. 

“Edaphic refers to the influence of the soil upon biological and ecological systems, especially phytogenic ones (i.e., plant life and its associated fauna).  

Edaphic factors include, soil type and pH, available moisture in the soil, air and mineral content, humus, soil texture and structure. Examples of edaphology is the pH of the soil   where blueberries are going to be planted should be 4.2 to 5.5 pH for blueberries to thrive. Another one is that alkaline soils along beaches only allow for certain plants to survive.  

Source credit: 

Alexander, D.E. (1999). Edapholog. In: Environmental Geology. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4494-1_102 

“Edaphic Factors.” Edaphic Factors - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, SlideServe.com, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/edaphic-factors. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023. 

“Edaphic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edaphic. Accessed 1 Sep. 2023. 


Photo credit: Getty

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