How do sod farms never lose elevation after years of harvest?

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How do sod farms never lose elevation after years of harvest?

In: Engineering

Most of the mass in plants comes from photosynthesis which use carbon dioxide and water, both comes from the sky and not the ground. There is just a small amount of dirt in the sod as most of it is roots. In fact it is possible to grow sod without any dirt at all and just float it on nutrient rich water.

You’re removing material from the top layer. It will definitely lose elevation eventually.

But you’re also assuming they don’t bring in a few dump trucks of topsoil every couple of seasons. It’s maybe a day or two of work to dump and level a new layer of topsoil before planting the next batch.

I one asked my Earth Science teacher why there aren’t huge craters at the base of every tree. You know, since trees use up the soil to create trunk, limbs, leaves, etc. He looked me like I was stupid. All that mass is actually taken from carbon in the air. The same is true of sod.

That said, I do think they lose a bit of dirt every time they harvest sod.

Lived across the street from a sod field my whole life. They do lose elevation. The one across from me is down about a foot over 30+ years.

First, you have to understand what soil is. Soil is a mixture of gasses, minerals, liquids and even organisms.

That means the soil can be created and added to. When organisms die and decompose, they add to the soil. When the farmer fertilizes his field, he adds to the soil. In crop farming, there’s a stage where the farmer mashes all the stalks from the last harvest back into the soil to become part of it. Soil is carried in on the wind and rain. Even space dust adds to it, every single day about 100 metric tons of space dust lands on Earth.

You may not have ever seen a dump truck unload on a sod farm but I doubt you’ve never seen the sod get fertilized. Well, that’s replenishing the soil right there.

The amount of soil that gets taken off with every harvest is pretty minor, especially since they make efforts to lose as little of it as possible. And the soil is added to in many ways.

The quickest way to lose topsoil is to plant nothing on a fallow field. The sun will dry out the barren soil and the wind will blow it away, large amounts of windblown soil often end up in the surface water where it either clogs or waterways or flushes out into the sea.