What is soil and how do plants feed off of it?



What is soil and how do plants feed off of it?

In: Biology

Soil is basically dirt with nutrients. Normal dirt is basically lifeless and doesn’t hold water well and turns into mud but soil doesn’t do that and the way plants feed off of it is with their roots the roots breakdown the nutrients and absorb them and then plants use photosynthesis to use the nutrients

Soil is a fascinating complex material. Most of it is from the decayed matter of other things – compost, essentially. When leaves fall from the trees, they become part of the soil (etc.). With this there are also clays of various kinds (powdered rock essentially), sands (crumbled rock essentially), and other minerals and organics, the products of worm and fungus and bacteria metabolism, and so forth.

Soil is a wonderful thing and we lose way too much of it through erosion and deforestation (which leads to more erosion).

Plants “feed” from it for various minerals that they need, like some need to get nitrogen from the soil, while others can get nitrogen from the air. They do this via their roots, absorbing water and the dissolved minerals up into their systems.

As for the bulk mass of the plants, as in most of what makes a tree a tree, they get that from the air.

Plants take the carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen as a waste product. The carbon from the carbon dioxide becomes the carbon in their cell walls.

Cellulose, for example (like the wood of your door / table / apartment / etc) is (C6 H10 O5)n. Those six carbon atoms in the molecule come from the carbon dioxide the plant “breathes”.

Related, this is why trees help us mitigate climate change, because they literally suck the carbon dioxide out of the air. And this is why burning fossil fuels make climate change worse, because they put that carbon dioxide (etc.) back into the atmosphere.