Why do mudslides occur and how do they relate to soil?

As explained in the last Soils Matter post, in order to have a strong foundation for a house or a building, the soil must also be stable and strong. A mudslide (or landslide) consists of mud and other earth materials that fall down a slope, usually after a period of heavy rain. When buildings balance … Continue reading Why do mudslides occur and how do they relate to soil?

What are scientists doing to help us grow crops as the climate changes?

There are several factors to address with your question. The first is that we are expecting to continue to feed the world on less land each year. As we continue to build towns and cities on former farm land, we expect more from the farm land that remains. Second, the world’s population is expected to … Continue reading What are scientists doing to help us grow crops as the climate changes?

Why are cities using retention basins and rain gardens?

Longford Pond in Fitchburg, WI, retains sediments flowing between Dunn's Marsh and nearby Lake Waubesa. Credit: Susan Fisk Q: As I watch various commercial or residential real estate development projects in my community, I observe more features related to storm water management as compared to older developments--retention basins, rain gardens, concrete lined channels, and pumping … Continue reading Why are cities using retention basins and rain gardens?

Why do farmers use fertilizers?

A large sprayer applies nitrogen fertilizer to a field. The equipment is assisted by technology that optimizes the application of fertilizer—using it only where needed on the field. This reduces cost to the grower. Photo credit: Bill Raun Soils naturally contain many nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients allow plants to grow. … Continue reading Why do farmers use fertilizers?

What is “precision agriculture” and why is it important?

Question: What is “precision agriculture” and why is it important? Answer: Precision agriculture is one of many modern farming practices that make production more efficient. With precision agriculture, farmers and soils work better, not harder. A better name for precision ag might be “site-specific ag”. Growers are able to take large fields and manage them … Continue reading What is “precision agriculture” and why is it important?

Do rain gardens really save a city money?

As explained in the last Soils Matter blog post, cities are using green infrastructure techniques like rain gardens and green roofs. They help reduce the amount of water going into the storm water management system under our cities. Cities built storm water management systems to manage rainfall and snowmelt, carrying the water away from the … Continue reading Do rain gardens really save a city money?