Geology And Geophysics

Different Types of Soil



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Soil is defined by Answers.com as a “top layer of land, the top layer of most of the Earth's land surface, consisting of the unconsolidated products of rock erosion and organic decay, along with bacteria and fungi”.

There are many variations of soil; sandy, clay, silt, loamy, peaty and chalky. 

Sandy soil is known to have the largest particles. The particles size determines the amount of aeration and drainage allowed by the soil. Consisting of small rock and mineral particles, it’s grainy. The texture being gritty, the sandy soil forms by “disintegration and weathering of rocks such as limestone, granite, quartz and shale”.

If sandy soil is rich in organic material, is easier to cultivate allowing it to drain. When it is rich in organic material it drains more than is needed, the outcome being over drainage and “dehydration of the plants in summer”. In spring time it warms quickly. If you are looking to grow plants in this type of sandy soil, it’s very important for you to water plants on a regular basis during the summer, giving it breaks in the winter and the rainy season.  Because of its nature sandy soil preserves “moisture and nutrients”.

One of the good things about sandy soil is that it is very good for plants because it lets the “water go off”, so it doesn’t stay close to the roots leading them to decompose.

Clay soil is a naturally occurring material that consists of extremely finely grain matter and has a smaller amount of air space, which makes it harder to work amongst due to the draining in this type of soil, is small. Because the drainage is low in this soil, the majority of the time there’s “a chance of water logging and harm to the roots of the plant”.

Wet clay soil can become very heavy and if so you’ll need to cultivate it with an “organic fertilizer” adding it to the clay soil. After years of rock breakdown and weathering, clay soil is produced. Once the rock has weathered, eroded and transported, sedimentary deposits are formed. Silty soil out of all the different soils is the one considered to be the most fertile. Silty soil has two functions; it’s able to transpire in “nature as a soil or as suspended sediment in water column of a water body on the surface of the earth”. Its composition is Quartz like minerals, fine organic particles. Like sandy soil it is granular, but contains more nutrients and drains better than sandy soil.

When silty soil is dry there is a smoother texture and it tends to appear like “dark sand”. Silty soil is able to embrace additional moisture and can become compacted at times. This soil has a better drainage and works much easier when it is damp. Loamy soil, to some varying degree consists of clay, sand and silt. A loamy soil has the reputation for being the perfect soil. It’s granular, holds water very well, the draining is good. This soil varies from fertile to being extremely muddy and thick sod. If you want an ideal soil then loamy soil, out of all the other soils is great for cultivation.

Peaty soil naturally includes a lot more organic matter than majority of the soils. It’s basically created by accumulating dead and decayed organic material. Peaty soil usually is found in marsh like areas. Disintegration of the natural material in Peaty soil is obstructed by the “acidity in the soil”. This type of soil is favorable to wet climate helping it to form. Peaty soil is affluent in natural matter, but present nutrients are less here then with the other types of soil. It is known to hold water, but if the draining of the soil is maintained and fertilized well, it is able to be ideal for plant growing. Chalky soil, dissimilar to that of Peaty soil is exceptionally “alkaline in nature” having a huge number of pebbles. Depending upon the depth of this soil “on the bed of chalk” is how fertile it is. In the summer, this type of soil is prone to dryness and is not a good idea for plantation. Plants will need a lot of “watering and fertilizing than on any type of soil”. Chalky Soil not only being dry it also impairs the dietary rudiments of the plants for instance, Iron and Magnesium.

Soil can also be classified as being Acidic and Alkaline depending upon the quantity of “humus, organic matter and the underlying bedrock”. With each soil you have “advantages and disadvantages” just as with different plants that have different necessities. Each and every plant does not require the same type of soil.


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