If you have ever wondered about what the advantages and disadvantages of red soil are, then you have come to the end of your worries. This article will be discussing about what red soil is, the advantages and disadvantages of red soil and also its applications.
Red soil, or iron pan, is a type of soil that has been described as poor, shallow and infertile. Thus, it is not commonly used for agricultural purposes and is more popularly used as the foundation of certain buildings.
The term red soil was derived from the color of this type of soil, which appears to be reddish brown. The composition of red soil consists of various minerals, also known as iron oxides. The most significant chemical elements in red soils are hematite, goethite and limonite.
Despite its poor characteristics, there are several advantages that come from this type of soil.
What Is The Red Soil
Red soil has been described as a type of soil that can be found in many places on the planet. However, it is most commonly used in a city for the construction of houses and for other types of structures.
Its red color is mainly due to ferric oxides occurring as thin coatings on the soil particles while the iron oxide occurs as hematite or as hydrous ferric oxide. When it occurs in the hydrate form as limonite the soil gets a yellow color.
What is certain is that red soil contains relatively less organic material than other types of soils, which is the main reason why it can be easily tilled. The red property of this soil also enables it to retain moisture longer than other types of soils, as the soil expands with water.
Lastly, the iron oxides in fine particles in this soil absorb oxygen allowing the nitrogen to be released.
If used for agricultural purposes, red soil is not preferred because it is poor and infertile, unlike other types of soils.
The composition of red soil consists of various minerals. These minerals are found in varying degrees, making them excellent selecting criteria when buying red soil to use as a foundation for buildings or to build houses with.
Red soil is the type of soil that develops in a warm temperature, moist climate under deciduous or mixed forest, having thin organic and organic- mineral layer overlying a yellowish-brown leached layer resting on a lilluviumred layer.
Red soils are predominantly found in South America, Central Africa, South and Southeast Asia, China, India, Japan and Australia.
The red soil has also been used for agriculture purposes, especially in the cultivation of the potato. Furthermore, it is also used for other agricultural purposes, such as growing tobacco and wheat.
Other than being used for agricultural purposes, red soil is also used as a construction material. The stone and gravel are removed, and the grayish iron pan is left to be harvested. The iron pan may be used as the foundation of buildings, such as houses.
In general, these soils have good physical conditions for plant growth although they often have very low water-holding capacity.
In addition, they are not very fertile, so they have low amounts of nutrients in them.
If used for agricultural purposes, red soil is not preferred because it is poor and infertile, unlike other types of soils. The composition of red soil consists of various minerals. These minerals are found in varying degrees, making them excellent selecting criteria when buying red soil to use as a foundation for buildings or to build houses with.
Thus, proper use of fertilizers and irrigation yields high production of cotton, wheat, rice, pulses, millets, tobacco, oil seeds, potatoes, and fruits.
The red soil has low pH, which means that it is not ideal for the cultivation of plants with high nutrient requirements. Additionally, thin organic and organic-mineral layers overlying a yellowish-brown leached layer resting on a lilluvium are usually present in red soil.
Moving on, let’s advance into the advantages and disadvantages of red soil.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Red Soil
Here we will be talking about the advantages and disadvantages of red soil but firstly, we will get into the advantages of red soil and later to its disadvantages.
Advantages Of Red Soil
The advantages of red soil are as follows:
1. Food Productivity
Red soil can be used for crops and agricultural products since most of it is either rocky or sandy loam. The red soil has a low pH level which makes certain plants to thrive in it. Some of the plants these soils can be used for are vegetables, tobacco, wheat, sorghum, okra etc.
They are very well suitable for dry farming. The red soil is characterized by their low pH levels which makes them to be ideal for most vegetables. The nutrients of the vegetables are usually enhanced once they are planted on this kind of soil.
At the same time, some leaves may appear to be yellowish due to the excessive presence of iron; it does not mean that there is a disease affecting them. On the other hand, excess presence of iron in some plants can increase its nutritional value which is why it can actually benefit humans in some ways.
The fact that red soil is difficult to compact, thus making it durable. The stone and gravel are removed, and the grayish iron pan is left to be harvested. This method leaves the iron pan intact, hence making it easier for farmers to harvest during rainy season or in winter.
3. Better Drainage Capacity
Red soil is not compacted by farmers, which improves its drainage capacity. They allow water to drain very easily. During rainy season, it is not easy for the soil to compact because of the absence of stones and gravel. It resists the fluid passage, hence it is impervious.
The capillary effect of the red soil is low; this property helps prevent water from penetrating down into walls and causing damage to the building or structure’s structure. Instead, water will drain away from the house and not infiltrate into the foundation.
4. High Chemical and Physical Properties
The red soil happens to have a high chemical and physical properties, which are why it is used in various industries. This kind of soil is very good at holding water, and if you find any kind of red soil in your native area of land, it will surely be there.
This kind of soil is excellent at holding water and is an ideal choice for building houses. It is also impervious to chemicals, which makes it a great building material.
Having known the advantages of red soil, let’s take a look at the disadvantages of red soil.
Disadvantages Of Red Soil
Some of the disadvantages of red soil are:
1. Unsuitable For Plant Growth
Red soil has very low pH levels and thus plant growth is not ideal. Plants require special types of soils to aid them in their growth and development.
The soil you choose for your garden should be one that will aid your plants to grow well, especially if you need their products for yourself or for sale. Its low pH level can make it unsuitable for some plants to thrive in it.
Also, the fertility of red soil is so low that it cannot support intensive cropping systems, unlike other soils can do. This type of soil also does not have enough organic matter content, which makes plant nutrients unavailable to most plants that grow on it.
2. Low Nutrient Content
Red soil is definitely not ideal for growing many crops. It has low nutrient levels, which makes plants suffer greatly due to the low amounts of nutrients and minerals that they need. This type of soil does not have enough organic matter content, which makes plant nutrients unavailable for colonization.
The red soil is also very poor, which means that it is difficult to cultivate and manage without the presence of other conditions in the area.
3. Low Fertility
Red soil is not very fertile and is poor in nutrients. This kind of soil has very low amounts of nutrients, which makes it a bad and unfriendly soil to grow crops on. Red soil is also very poor, and this means that the fertilizer the farmer uses will be absorbed by the red soil.
The fact that farmers have to apply much more fertilizer to their crops on red soils limits their production, which lower the productivity level of agriculture using this kind of soil.
4. It is poor in lime, phosphate and nitrogen
Red soil has very low amounts of nutrients in it. It lacks phosphate, nitrogen and lime which all are necessary for plants to grow well. In some areas of the world, the red soil lacks a lot of these elements which makes it unable to sustain plant growth for long periods.
The land can also fail when it comes to farming due to the yellowish layer which is above the dark red layer. The soil is too light in color and is also very poor in nutrients so farmers usually apply more fertilizer if they want to use it.
In conclusion, red soil is not good for cultivation of plants and agriculture. It is very difficult to cultivate red soil in many areas of the world. If you want to nurture your fruits and vegetables, you must plant them in some other kind of soil rather than planting them on the red soil.
The farmer must first seek advice from agricultural experts before they start planting their crops on this particular kind of soil. The farmer also must use a good fertilizer, so that his crops can grow well when planted on the red soil.
There are varieties of red soil in the world, and all of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.
So, these were some information on what red soil is made up of, how it grows, its advantages and disadvantages, and other useful facts to know when dealing with this kind of land. It is always good to learn about all kinds of areas on earth since that would give us an idea about what might come up in the future.