Role of healthy soil in managing plant disease on account of world soil day

By: Merikheti
Published on: 05-Dec-2023

Healthy soil plays an important role in managing plant diseases by the medium of different mutually connected systems, which contribute to the overall health of plants. The ecological system of a soil which is rich in nutrients and has balanced microorganisms and has a good physical structure reduces the chances of plant diseases to a very low extent. Healthy soil works for plants against pathogens as a frontline defence. 


Balancing nutrients 

Healthy soul provides an optimal balance of essential nutrients for the development of plants. A sufficient level of micronutrients like nitrogen, Phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients are important to strengthen the immune system in plants. Plants with a balanced amount of nutrients are more capable of recovering from infection and diseases. Plants become susceptible to different diseases because of lack of nutrients in soil.


Microbial variation 

A vivid and enriched microbial community is helpful in suppressing diseases in plants. Essential microorganisms, like some bacteria and fungus, establish a symbiosis with plants, promote health growth and increase protecting power to fight pathogens in plants. The variety of microorganisms create a competitive situation which controls the spread of germs. I always try to explain with the help of my different articles that soil is of two types- one living soil and a non living soil. living soil is that which has plenty of microbials and the soil which has deficit amount of microbials is said to be non living soil so we should always try to increase the amount of microbials in the soil and we should not do any such thing which is not suitable to microbials living inside the soil. Due to indiscriminate use of agriculture chemicals the amount of microbials in our soil is decreasing and soil is getting converted from living to non living. Today on the account of world soil Health day we need to take the oath that we won't do any such thing which will result in making the soil nonliving.


Structure of soil and aeration 

Structured soil along with good aeration provides optimal root growth to plants and also helps in increasing the absorption power of nutrients. Strong and healthy roots are more resistant to diseases and a good structure of soil can prevent water accumulation which is often accompanied with root diseases.

Oppressive soil

Some soil shows natural oppression against some specific plant pathogens. This is considered responsible for the presence of some anti microorganisms and substances which alters the growth of pathogens. Understanding the nature of oppressive soil and its implementation can be an effective strategy against plant diseases.


Induced systemic resistance (ISR)

Healthy soil develops systemic resistance in plants. When plants interact with some essential microorganisms or compounds, then they activate their defence system. This induced systemic resistance increases their immunity against pathogens.

Biological disease control 

Healthy soil is a store to useful organisms which play an important role as biological control agents. Predatory nematodes, parasitic fungi and other organisms controlling their numbers, hunt on plant pathogens. These natural enemies are provided help in managing environment suitable diseases and sustainability when integrated into soil.


Humus and carbonic matter

Humus obtained from decomposed carbonic matter improves the structure, water holding capacity and nutrients. Apart  from this, carbonic matter increases activity of useful microorganisms, which improves the ecology of soil which makes it less suitable for pathogens to live. 

 

Deduction in plant diseases by means of crop rotation 

Crop rotation is a method which helps in maintaining soil health. By planting crops with variations, farmers interrupt the life cycle of pathogens and pests. It reduces accumulation of pathogens in soil and the danger of infection reduces. 


Soil pH regulation

The level of pH in soil affects the availability of nutrients and microbial activities in the soil. Maintaining correct pH for every specific crop creates an environment which supports plants' health. Some pathogens grow in acidic and some in alkaline, and well adjusted pH limits their effect.


Flexibility against environment stress

Healthy soil provides protection against dry or very high temperatures. Plants grown in soil enriched with nutrients, well structured soil are able to bear up stress suitably, which makes them less sensitive towards opportunistic pathogens which targets weak plants.


Summary 

Healthy soil plays a mutual and multidimensional role in plant disease management. From provision of nutrients to microbial interaction, soil health affects different factors which collectively provide ability to plants to fight disease and recover against diseases. Methods of giving priority to soil health not only supports plant growth but also provide long-term solutions to challenges raised by pathogens.