Bulk Density/Idealized soil

Amber Anderson

Learning Objectives
  • Identify what components might be found in an idealized soil
  • Discuss impacts of compaction and management
  • Calculate bulk density when given appropriate measurements
Keywords: bulk density, compaction, available water, unavailable water, pore space

Idealized soil

Bulk Density

Bulk Density is the oven dry weight of the soil over the total volume of the soil. Since we expect particle density to be somewhere around 2.65 grams/cm3, in an idealized situation with 50% pore space, we would expect bulk density to be about half of that value. Bulk densities significantly higher slow or stop root growth.


Key Takeaways
  • An idealized soil has a balance of pore space filled with air, available, and unavailable water
  • Compaction has a variety of negative impacts if managing for plant growth
  • Bulk density is a measurement of soil density, and high values may be helpful for building but stop plant growth


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Introduction to Soil Science Copyright © 2023 by Amber Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.