Soil Texture

Last updated: June 17, 2021

What Does Soil Texture Mean?

Soil texture is a classification of soil based on its physical texture and characteristics, particularly the size of the particles that make up the soil.

Soil textures are classified by each separate material found in the soil. The classifications of the soil are typically named for the primary material found in the sample. This type of classification is most often used to determine if agricultural soil is suitable for crops.


Maximum Yield Explains Soil Texture

Soil separates fall under the categories of clay, silt, and sand. The sand categories are further broken into very fine, fine, medium, coarse, and very coarse.

Additionally, soil separates are broken up into specific ranges of particle sizes. Sizes in diameter range from 0.002 mm for clay particles to 0.05 mm for sand particles.

When determining soil texture, many assessments are made using hand analysis. This is a simple way to rapidly determine a soil’s physical characteristics.

This method involves taking a small sample of soil, rolling it into a ball, and then using a small drop of water to moisten it. The ball is then molded and worked with the hand to determine its texture. Clay soil has the smallest particles, so when it is wet it forms sticky clumps.

Determining soil texture is important in agriculture as many different soil textures have potential benefits and drawbacks for different plants. For example, sandy soil will drain well and promote root growth, but dry out quickly. Clay will hold in moisture but will often become so compacted that plants will not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen.

Knowing the texture of a particular plot of soil can help gardeners create an ideal soil for the plants they intend on growing.


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