Definition - What does Edaphology mean?

Edaphology is one of two soil sciences which also consists of Pedology. Specifically, edaphology is the study in how soils influence and interact on/with living things, especially those of plants. It is the study of the ecological relationship soil has with land cultivation practices and plants. For the cultivation of land, edaphology also focuses on the conservation of soils and possible loss or erosion due to certain practices. Viticulturists often rely on edaphologists to assist and advise on the initial planting and planning of a vineyard including vine species selection for the type of soil available.

WineFrog explains Edaphology

In the study of soil science, soil is considered to have three dimensions; breadth, length and depth. Edaphology further studies the composition of soil which makes up its overall volume; mineral mater, organic matter, soil water and soil air. It also makes note that soil is comparable to the systems of animals essential to its life:

  • Respiratory system - how the air circulates and exchanges gases
  • Digestive system - the decomposition of organic matter
  • Circulatory system - how water moves in the soil
  • Excretory system - the leaching out of excess salt
  • The brain - composition of clay
  • Color
  • Height - the soil's depth

Within viticulture, the study of soil and how it co-exists with organic life is essential to growing prosperous grape crops and staying ahead of evolutionary vine changes and climate changes.

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