Use of soil
Soil conditioners are materials, which are added to improve or maintain physical condition of the soil. For high-value greenhouse and market garden crops, these are used in the U.S.A. and European countries.
Crop residues, manures and other organic substances have long been recognized as excellent materials for
(i) improving the soil structure or physical condition of soil.
(ii) increasing the infiltration of water or reducing the runoff.
(iii) soils properly treated with effective soil conditioners may maintain a good structure for a number of years.
(iv) soil conditioners are used with advantage in stabilizing the soils on slopes subject to rapid erosion.
(v) Synthetic organic materials have been produced forming and stabilizing the soil aggregates. These materials are polyelectrolytes, including polyvinytites, polyacrylates, cellulose gums, lignin derivatives and silicates.
Organic matter, though forming a small part of mineral soils, plays a vital role in the productivity and conditioning of the soils. It serves as source of food for soil bacteria and fungi which are responsible for converting complex organic materials into simple substances readily use by the plants. The intermediate products of the composition of fresh organic matter help to improve the physical condition of the soil and it also improves the working quality of the soil.
At present, soil conditioners are very costly and, as such, are not used on field scale.