County Ag News

Organic matter needed


The spring ritual is underway! People are piling up their organic matter; leaves, pine needles and lawn mulch, and having it hauled away.

The majority of Waushara County has sandy soils that are inherently low in organic matter with less than one percent actual organic matter content compared to dark colored silt loam soils that will normally have an organic matter content of four percent or more. Organic matter is an exceptionally important part of soil. It serves as a storehouse of plant nutrients; improves the water holding capacity of the soil; improves soils for the growth of plants by promoting soil aggregations; and improves soil structure and tilth. 

There are millions of microscopic plants, animals and fungi that feed on organic matter. Frequent additions of organic matter provide a food source for soil bacteria, earthworms and other soil organisms. Organic matter is especially beneficial to sandy soils. Soil organisms are constantly breaking down organic matter in the soil. Soil microbes break down a full 90 percent of the organic matter that is added to soil each year and either returned to the air as carbon dioxide or is reduced to simple chemical salts and water.