Tree Fruit Soils and Nutrition


Please kindly note: due to personnel changes, this web site has not been recently updated, and is obviously in more or less an archived state. We left it up because our readers still find the content valuable. More current information is available from the Organic and Integrated pages


Welcome to the TFREC Soil and Plant Nutrition web site!

**Please check back regularly as I will be forever adding information, especially to the "essential elements" individual pages under the "Orchard Soils and Tree Fruit Nutrition category."

Faculty & Staff

  • Dr. Frank J. Peryea, Soil Science and Horticulture; Orchard soil management; fruit tree mineral nutrition

  • Kaz Lorentz, Agricultural Research Technologist II

Orchard soils and tree fruit nutrition web pages

Information on soil properties and nutrition important in orchard systems. Find specific information on essential nutrients and much more! 


(taken from the USDA NRCS 2001 Soil Planning Guide Calendar)

  • One cup of soil may hold as many bacteria as there are people on Earth.

  • The weight of all the bacteria in one acre of soil can equal the weight of a cow or two.

  • Actinomycin, neomycin, and streptomycin are examples of familiar antibiotic drugs produced by soil actinomycetes when grown in laboratory cultures.

  • It was from a soil fungus, a Penicillium species, that the first modern antibiotic drug, penicillin, was obtained.

Additional facts:

  • It takes between 80-400 years to form one centimeter of topsoil!!

  • The combined erosion (via wind and water) for the U.S. is 1.9 billion tons per year (as of 1997 USDA-NRS data)!

  • There are 377 million acres of cropland in the U.S. (1997 USDA-NRS data). See link.

  • A total of 3,225,400 acres of 1992 prime farmland was converted to developed land in 1997 (USDA-NRS link).

  • Imagine our planet without soils (from National Society for Consulting Soil Scientists, Inc.)....

    Imagine only raw parent material and lifeless dust. Sand and silt are still produced by glaciers, volcanoes and the action of water.

    Without microbial activity to produce soil structure, the sun would be blocked out by the blowing dust and rivers would clog with sediment.

    No anaerobic soil conditions would occur to produce distinctive wetlands. The continents would be dustbowls pocked with mud holes and broken by barren, rapidly eroding mountain ranges. Our deep oceans would be shallow seas filled with sediments.

    This was our planet before soils were formed.



Updated December 22, 2004


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Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Washington State University,1100 N Western Ave., Wenatchee, WA, 98801 USA