Podsol (also spelled Podzol) is the typical soil of Boreal forests. The name is Russian for ash soil, and it is found in areas that are wet and cold (for example in Northern Ontario). The bleached soil, which is usually 4-8 cm thick, is low in iron and lime, and is formed under moist and cool conditions. It is found under a layer of organic material in the process of decomposition, which is usually 5-10 cm thick. In the middle, there is often a thin layer of 0,5 to 1 cm. The bleached soil goes over into a red or redbrown horizon called rusty soil. The color is strongest in the upper part, and change at a depth of 50 to 100 cm progressively to the part of the soil that is mainly not affected by processes; that is the parent material. The soil profiles are designated the letters A (transitional layer with organic matter), E (bleached soil), B (rusty soil) and C (parent material).
Podzolisation is a complex process (or number of sub-processes) in which organic material and soluble minerals (commonly iron and aluminium) are leached from the A to the B horizon.
This process of podzolisation results in the characteristic soil profile of spodosols, in which the E horizon is an ashen grey or white colour without structure and there is a distinctive hardpan oxide layer in the B horizon.
However, as conifers allelopathically reduce competition by producing a thick O horizon of acidic and poisonous leaf litter that is slow to decompose, the primary form of plant-soil interactions is that of the conifers themselves.
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