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Free guide simplifying the science behind soils

Released on

Released on:
Monday, 6. July 2020 - 10:30

Simplifying the science behind soils is the aim of a new free online publication produced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The ‘Simple Guide for Describing Soils’ explains the diversity of Western Australia’s soils and helps users to describe the most important parts of a soil profile in an easy to understand way.

The guide was produced by department soil experts to meet the growing demand from industry, community groups and individuals seeking to describe and present soil information using consistent, professional and easy to understand language.

Department principal soil research scientist Tim Overheu said WA had a diverse range of soil types including ironstone gravelly soils, sandy duplexes, deep sands and clays, and the requirement to describe these soils extended beyond agriculture.

“People working in a range of fields such as horticulture, nature conservation, environmental consulting or planning, as well as students and the general public who have an interest in soils, will find this guide valuable,” Mr Overheu said.

“The publication provides a step-by-step guide on what soil properties to describe, how to describe them and the tools to make basic soil classifications.

“The guide covers nine basic soil properties including depth profile, identifying and naming soil layers, texture, coarse fragments, colour, pH and salinity, lime layers, structure and water regime.

“By being able to understand and describe these soil properties, people will then be able to assign a simple and standardised name to soil.”

A free copy of the Simple Guide for Describing Soils can be downloaded from the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au searching for the guide name.

How to describe the pH of soil is one of the key properties covered in the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s free ‘Simple Guide for Describing Soils.’ Pictured here a test to determine the pH of a soil.
How to describe the pH of soil is one of the key properties covered in the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s free ‘Simple Guide for Describing Soils.’ Pictured here a test to determine the pH of a soil.

Media contact: Jodie Thomson/Katrina Bowers, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937