Types of Soil

Types of Soil: There are different types of soil based on the physical and chemical properties of soil. Soil is an unconfined surface material that covers the earth's crust. It is a mixture of inorganic particles, organic matter, gases, liquids, and microorganisms that support life together. Based on the formation, description, and classification of soils in the natural environment, the study of soil is called Pedology. Soil functions to provide structural support to plants used in agriculture and is also their source of water and nutrients. It may vary based on its physical and chemical properties. A process that takes place in soil formation such as leaching, weathering, and microbial activity combine to make a whole range of different types of soil. 

Soil Composition and Formation

Soil is composed of small pieces of fallen leaves, decomposed tree branches, decayed plants, pieces of broken rock, etc. it is said that the soil has the capacity to store 0.01% of the total water on Earth’s surface within its nooks, pores, and crannies. Soil contains the following composition: 

  1. 5% organic matter
  2. 25% air
  3. 25% of water
  4. 45% of minerals

An acre of soil can hold nearly 5- 10 tons of microorganisms and another amazing fact is that one measly gram of soil will hold about 5000- 7000 bacteria species. This composition affects its formation, colors, and textures too. There can be different types of soil based on their colors like yellow, red, and white but the most common colors are brown, black, and gray. Also, there can be different types of soil based on their composition it can be smooth, rough, creamy, rough, sticky, and crumbly to touch due to the presence of silt, sand, clay, and other mineral particles.

Different Types of Soil

Soil is the composition of various substances, dirt, gases, liquids, and microorganisms, so based on its texture, formation, and proportion soil can be classified into different types of soil such as-

1. Sandy Soil

2. Silty Soil

3. Clay Soil

4. Loamy Soil

5. Peaty Soil

6. Saline Soil

1. Sandy Soil

It is brittle and gritty when touched and this is because of the huge spaces present between the particles. Also, it has low water holding capacity. The draining of water is so quick that water even does not reach the root of the plants. As there is a quick running of water plant does not get the chance to get the nutrients efficiently. 

The most interesting test to check the soil type is to moisten the soil and allow it to roll like a ball to check the predominating soil particle. As the moist soil does not form the ball, it is sandy soil. This soil can be used to grow Potatoes, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, and other vegetables, as well as bulbs and shrubs like Sun roses, Tulips, and Hibiscus, are examples. 

Characteristics of Sandy soil

  1. Soil is frequently swept away during rains.
  2. Because it warms up faster, it carries fewer nutrients for the plants.
  3. This soil is simpler to cultivate and drains and dries quickly.

2. Silty Soil

If compared to sandy soil, silty soil is usually smaller in size and so they are smoother and it becomes soapy slick when moistened. It also has rock and other mineral fragments. Its water-holding capacity is better than sand because of its fine texture. It is also good for agricultural activities because of its characteristics.

This soil is best for growing almost any type of fruit and vegetable crop can grow on this soil. This soil is perfect for grasses, perennials, climbers, shrubs, and other plants.

Characteristics of Silty Soil

  1. An adequate channelized system in silty soil helps to provide significant benefits to the plants.
  2. Silty soil is easy to cultivate.
  3. It has a soapy, silky texture and has the capacity to hold moisture.

3. Clay Soil

Clay soil has the smallest particle composition of the other types of soil and it has fair water storage qualities. The space between the particles of clay soil does not allow the air to pass and their tendency to settle together. Plant nutrients will be tightly held due to its slow draining tendency and so this soil is rich in plant food for better growth. Clay soil is good for growing ornamental plants and fruit trees. Aster, Helen's flower, Flowering quince, and other shrubs and perennials thrive in this soil. It feels sticky, rolls up easily, and forms into a sausage-like Shape if moistened. 

Characteristics of Clay Soil

  1. During the spring season, it is difficult to cultivate in this type of soil.
  2. The ability of soil is poor to drain water and has fewer gaps.
  3. When dry, clay soil is hard rock but when wet, they are sticky.

4. Loamy Soil

Loamy soil is said to be the perfect type of soil as the gardens and gardeners just love it. Loamy soil is composed of a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Because of its previous organic matter content, this soil has higher calcium and pH level. The texture of this soil is dark. The particles have airspaces between them which help them to take nutrition to travel to the roots. Loamy soil is the greatest soil and framers friendly. This soil is good for bamboos, climbers, perennials, tubers, and shrubs like Dog's tooth violets, Wisteria, Rubus, and others thrive.

Characteristics of Loamy Soil

  1. Loamy soil is a mixture of silt, clay, and sand.
  2. This soil has better drainage and infiltration capacity of water.
  3. The texture of this soil if fine and is farmer’s friendly.

5. Peaty Soil

This soil is commonly called Black Soil because of the color of the peaty soil is black or dark brown in color. Black soil has rich organic content and feels soft when touched.  This soil helps to regulate the pH level of the soil. The soil is spongy in nature. Peaty soil is good for the production of rice crops when drained and fertilized properly.

Characteristics of Peaty Soil

  1. As black soil has a lot of peat this soil is moist and spongy.
  2. Because the acidic condition of the soil slows the breakdown process, it provides fewer nutrients.
  3. This soil gets heats up quickly and holds water well.

6. Saline Soil

In extremely dry conditions the soil may become brackish due to its high salt content. Saline soil can cause damage and inhibit plant growth, cause difficulties in irrigation, and hinder germination. The most essential reason for this soil’s salinity is due to the soluble salt buildup in the rhizosphere. This soil is good for the growth of Cabbage, sweet corn, spinach, beets, and other vegetables Pinks, Lilacs, Mock Oranges, Weigela, Madonna Lillie, and other bulbs, trees, and bushes.

Characteristics of Saline Soil

  1. This type of soil is mostly stony and grainy than others.
  2. Saline soil is mainly found in the bedrock of limestone or chalk.
  3. The alkaline composition of this soil may cause yellow leaves and stunted plant development in some cases.
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Types of Soil- FAQs

Ans. Soil is an unconfined surface material that covers the earth's crust. It is a mixture of inorganic particles, organic matter, gases, liquids, and microorganisms that support life together.

Ans. Based upon composition, formation, texture, and proportion soil are of different types- Sandy soil, Silty soil, Clay soil, Loamy Soil, Peaty Soil, and Saline soil.

Ans. Loam or Loamy soil is called the gardener’s best friend.

Ans. Loamy soil is suitable and the best soil for growing crops such as cotton, oilseeds, sugarcane, wheat, pulses, jute, and other vegetables.

Ans. Plant development, human nourishment, and water filtering are all dependent on healthy soils. Soil aids in climate regulation and stores more carbon than all of the world's forests put together. Our survival depends on the health of our soils.

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