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Soil surface  Ecology - Horticulture ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

Synonym: Soil level, Ground surface, Ground level, Hearth surface,
  1. The soil surface is the habitat where atmosphere enter in contact with soil determining particular environmental condition.  
2. In relation to a plant the soil or ground surface ( the soil level) is the zone where shoot system and root system meet to each other at the collar.
The soil surface, with its topography and characteristics (along with soil depth and texture) is one of the most important abiotic factors determining features of vegetation, so great is the importance to plants of the texture, depth, and surface character of the soil that in every area of adequate size there are differences in the vegetation which are closely correlated with these conditions.

The soil surface can be both a heat reflecting and absorbing layer that warms and cools in both seasonal and daily cycles.
During daylight hours, the radiant energy of the sun quick warms the earth's surface including plants and soil.
In full sunlight, the soil surface can reach 65-75C . This heat can be radiated and reflected onto landscape plants causing tremendous heat lesions that are usually first seen on the south/south-west side of stems. The soil heating is affected by surface colour and texture, insulation angle, cloudiness and canopy coverage, this factors greatly modifies radiation cooling/heating of the surface.
However, during the night the soil surface lose heat from the surface by outgoing invisible radiation that escapes to the space. As the earth's surface cools, it cools the air around it. This results in a reversal of daytime conditions and is referred to as a temperature inversion because warmer air is now located above the cool air at the surface, this heat loss continues until after sunrise. For this reason, minimum temperatures usually occur in the early morning. A radiational dew or frost typically occurs when winds are calm and skies are clear. Under such conditions, an inversion may form because of rapid radiational cooling at the surface. If a strong inversion forms, temperatures aloft may become 10 C or higher than surface temperatures. The thermic behaviour are, however, greatly influenced by their location, temperature fluctuation are of small amount in forest or city habitats and great in open desert areas where it is normal  to have very high day temperatures along with very low night temperatures with not infrequent surface frost.







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