What Are Some Different Types of Soil?


Quick Answer

According to the BBC, there are six major types of soil: clay soil, sandy soil, silty soil, peaty soil, chalky soil and loamy soil. Knowing which type of soil is being used helps a person decide what to plant and how to keep plants healthy.

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Full Answer

Clay soil feels rock-hard when dry and sticky and lumpy when wet. It has few air spaces and drains poorly. It is difficult to cultivate but high in nutrients. Sandy soil is light, warm, free-draining, gritty to the touch, easy to cultivate and dries out rapidly. It is often acidic and low in nutrients. Peaty soil is dark in color and high in moisture and organic matter. It is usually fertile and ideal for plant growth when fertilizer is added.

Silty soil is well-drained, soapy and smooth to the touch, and heavier and richer in nutrients than sand. It also retains moisture and is easier to till than clay. Loamy soil is the perfect soil for agriculture. It is a mixture of sand, clay and silt. It drains well, retains moisture and is full of nutrients. It is also easy to cultivate, has good structure and warms up quickly. Chalky soil is alkaline and usually stony. It is free-draining and often overlays limestone bedrock or chalk. This deprives plants of minerals, such as iron and manganese, leading to slow growth and yellowish leaves.

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