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Rosenberg Soil Scientists Address Viticulture Students at University of Houston

Rosenberg Soil Scientists Address Viticulture Students at University of Houston

Story by Tiffany Roberson and Jon Wiedenfeld
Rosenberg Soil Survey Office

Tiffany Roberson and Jon Wiedenfeld, soil scientists with the MLRA 150 Soil Survey Office in Rosenberg recently presented a basic soils lecture to the Geology in Viticulture class at the University of Houston.

In a class of more than 30 students, the soil scientist duo presented the different roles that soils have on the growth of wine-making grapes.

Roberson provided a brief overview on soil attributes as they impact the viticulture industry in Texas. Viticulture, the science or practice of raising grapes, is a growing industry in the state.

Roberson discussed the ideal soil conditions for wine grape growth and where these conditions are optimal in Texas. In particular, she explained how soil-moisture, depth, bulk density, texture, pH, fertility, organic matter, microbiology, and parent material impact soil formation.

She pointed out that a good understanding of the basic principles of soil science, as well as knowledge of the ideal soil conditions for grape growth is vital to the success of grapevine production.

Students learned that the NRCS soil survey data can be used to provide information about soil limitations and capabilities for wine grape production. Roberson covered some of the grape varieties produced in state, and the soil types that are usually found where these grapes are grown.

Wiedenfeld also addressed the class with some basic principles of soil science. Specifically, he discussed the five soil forming factors to include climate, organic material, topography, parent material, and time.

He generally described how each factor changes as you move through the state. To put it into perspective on a local level, Weidenfeld discussed the Lissie and Beaumont Geological Formations and how the two formations provide the parent material for the soils in the local region.

Wiedenfeld concluded the presentation by demonstrating the use of the NRCS Web Soil Survey, an informational tool that provides a simple, yet powerful way to analyze soil data in four basic steps. Students learned how to locate soils by defining an area of interest, reviewing the soils information and printing a soils map.

Jon Wiedenfeld speaking to University of Houston students about soil forming factors.

Tiffany Roberson speaking to University of Houston students about ideal soil conditions for wine grape growth.