What happens to soil in winter? Does everything die?

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

Soil is essential to life. One reason is that soil protects plant roots, animals, and microbes from freezing in the winter. As air temperatures drop below 32F (0C), water within the top layers of the soil will eventually freeze. This is commonly known as the frost layer. So, while you think that once the ground is frozen, life stops in the soil, that’s very untrue. What’s going on under your feet is exciting stuff!

Feet on snowy ground The soil under your feet is still teeming with life, even in the frozen temperatures of winter.

The frost layer can be several feet deep, though many factors influence how far down it goes. If a lot of snow falls on the ground early in the winter, it can serve as a blanket for the soil underneath. Organic matter plays a role in insulating soil, holding in heat stored below ground during the warmer…

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