Field of Study – Soil Science

Soil science is concerned with the study of the properties, distribution, and development of soil. Soil scientists may specialize in soil physics, soil chemistry, microbiology, edaphology (soil/plant interactions, and pedology (soil formation and classification). Soil scientists work closely with crop scientists (edaphology), farmers (determining appropriate plantings, irrigation scheduling and soil fertility), environmental scientists (soil remediation), and civil engineers (soil physics)1.

Soil science serves society through working to preserve soil, an nonrenewable resource that supports all life on Earth. Professional soil scientists work closely with farmers in determining which crop are appropriate for their soils, irrigation scheduling, soil nutrient management, and in determining soil health. Pierce’s Disease (PD) affects plants by impeding the flow of water and minerals within the xylem. Once infected with the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa vines will appear to be lacking sufficient water regardless of irrigation level, the symptoms will continue to increase in severity until the vine inevitably dies2. The only effective strategy for preventing PD is to remove infected vines and to implement measures to deter insect vectors such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Soil scientists contribute to combating PD by contributing to research in soil applied insecticides that deter the vector.


1. Soil science. Career Center. [accessed 2023 Aug 16].

2. Pierce’s disease in grapevines. 2017 [accessed 2023 Aug 16].

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