The Soil Physical Properties

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The Soil Physical Properties, The physical properties of soils are often viewed as their inherent properties over which little or no control can be exerted on them.

However, research has shown that physical properties can change especially when exposed to cultural practices (Augusto et al., 2002).


Land use can cause surface compaction and a remarkable decrease in silt and clay contents, porosity and aggregate stability. Soil bulk density and particle density increases with depth, while porosity and water holding capacity decrease with depth (Chaudhari, 2013).

Current land uses have adversely affected very important soil physical properties which can cause erosion, soil infiltration and decreased water retention (Li et al., 2007).

Bulk Density of  physical properties

This can be defined as the dry weight of soil per unit volume of undisturbed soil. It gives an indication of the porosity and structure of the soil which in turn determines the movement of air and water in the soil.

Reeuwijk defined it as the ratio of the mass of dried particles to the total volume of soil particles plus pore spaces in the soil sample (Reeuwijk, 1992).  BD = Ms in g/cm3.


Soil having a bulk density greater than 1.6g/cm3 may hinder the development of roots. Bulk density increases with compaction and with an increase in soil depth.

Sandy soils have a higher bulk density than clay (Resch, 2016). The normal range for clay is 1.0 to 1.6mg/m3 and for sand, it is 1.2 to 1.8 mg/m3 and there is root restriction as from 1.4mg/m3 for clay and 1.6mg/m3 for sand.

Thus, accurate and reliable measurements of bulk density are very vital in the assessment of soil quality (Nottingham 2015).

Information on bulk density is important in the planning of modern farming techniques (Chaudhari, 2013). It increases with profile depth due to changes in organic matter content.

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