Qualities of a Healthy Soil

A healthy soil:

  • Accommodates active and diverse populations of beneficial organisms, with plant pest populations minimized by beneficials
  • Contains high levels of relatively fresh residues that provide beneficials with food
  • Includes high levels of decomposed organic matter, which help it retain both water and readily leachable nutrients
  • Contains low levels of such toxic compounds as soluble aluminum and only low to moderate concentrations of salt
  • Supports adequate levels of nutrients because excessive nutrients can make the crop more attractive to insect pests or can increase the threat of surface or subsurface water pollution
  • Has a sufficiently porous surface, with many pores connected to subsoil to permit easy entry by rainfall or irrigation water
  • Has good tilth that allows plant roots to easily penetrate large volumes of soil