The Underground

Enjoy free access to many articles by our experienced and knowledgeable staff on all aspects of soil and environmental sciences. Search for the latest information on soil, water, and environmental science, urban development, waste management, soil reuse classifications and recycling.

  • Soils Ain’t Soils
    by Simon Leake on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Know what you are buying so you don’t end up in trouble – or worse!

  • The Nitrogen Cycle In Soil
    by Simon Leake on January 22, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Nitrogen (N) is the only plant nutrient that comes from the atmosphere. This complicates both its addition to a cropping system and its loss, but also makes it possible for some plants to obtain their own N.

  • The Physics Of Mulches: How They Work
    by Simon Leake on January 22, 2020 at 5:00 am

    We all know that mulches benefit plant growth. The beneficial effects are more obvious in dry and hot climates. Mulches can sometimes provide nutrients, but most of the benefit is due to the physical processes at the ground surface. These can be summarised under the following three headings.

  • The Power Of Cricket Pitch Clay
    by Simon Leake on January 21, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    This shouldn’t happen. We have all seen reactive clay (clay soil with a high shrink/swell potential) cause cracking in buildings, especially older houses without the modern strip concrete footing. Swelling of clays when they are wetted up causes enormous hydrostatic pressure to build up that will literally lift buildings. Shrinkage of clays can also exert enormous forces, quite literally […]

  • The Secret Life Of Roots. 1: Grasses
    by Simon Leake on January 21, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Roots are seldom seen and easy to forget, but they are an essential part of plants. Maintaining a healthy root system is essential for healthy plants, especially when conditions are not ideal. Meeting the needs of roots in crop management programs will help maintain plant health and performance.

  • Tighter Fertiliser Regulations
    by Simon Leake on January 20, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Concerns about environmental damage caused by overuse of fertilisers have prompted changes to legislation in two states.

  • Understanding P Fertilisers
    by Simon Leake on January 20, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Several forms of phosphorus (P) fertilisers are available. As this article explains, they are all comparable. You should base your decisions on price and availability.

  • The Smell Of Rain
    by Simon Leake on January 19, 2020 at 11:08 pm

     

  • The Nitrogen Cycle In Soil
    by Simon Leake on January 16, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Nitrogen (N) is the only plant nutrient that comes from the atmosphere. This complicates both its addition to a cropping system and its loss, but also makes it possible for some plants to obtain their own N.

  • The Role Of Soil Microorganisms
    by Simon Leake on January 15, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Although soil organisms comprise <1% of the total mass of a soil, they have a vital role in supporting all plants and thus animals. Some of their vital functions are described below.