How is the texture of a soil determined?

garden soil

To grow certain plants we usually worry a lot about the weather. “Will they endure the high summer temperatures? Will they endure frosts? Will they be able to live only with the rain?” This is something completely normal, not in vain, plant beings depend a lot on the climate to be able to adapt or not to a place. But, What about the ground?

The land where the roots will develop is equally or more important if possible. In it are the nutrients they need to be able to feed and grow, and if it is not the right one for them, they will not be able to get ahead. Therefore, before planting them we have to know what characteristics it hasand this is done by determining the texture of a soil. The question is, How is it done?

What is the texture of a soil?

Sandy ground

Sandy ground

When we talk about soil textures we refer to the particles of different sizes that compose it. These particles are classified into sands, silts and clays, which are found in different proportions in each type of soil. Thus, three types of soils are identified, which are:

  • Clayey: it is composed of 45% clay, 30% silt and 25% sand. It retains water and nutrients, but its porosity is low, which means that the drainage is not good since it immediately gets puddled. Among the plants that best resist, we highlight those of Mediterranean origin: almond trees (Almond), carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua), fig trees (loaded with figs), olives and wild olive treesEuropean oils y Olea europaea var. sylvestris), among other.
  • Sandy: it is composed of 75% sand, 5% clay and 20% silt. This type of soil, unlike clay, allows great aeration. But this is a problem for many plants: they lose moisture very quickly, and with it, the roots cannot absorb the amount of nutrients they need. However, there are many plant beings that grow well on it, such as cactus, The crass and even grass.
  • franc: This soil has what we call medium texture. It is composed of 45% sand, 40% silt and 15% clay. It is ideal for most plants, as it retains water and its nutrients but also has good drainage.

Why is it important for plants?

Tree roots

tree roots

Many times they tell us that soil is very necessary for our plants, but why? What makes it the best medium to grow them?

  • Contains nutrients: with the passage of time living beings, both plants and animals, there comes a time when they die. In doing so, first the large animals, then the small ones, and later the insects and microorganisms, decompose them. Thus, all the nutrients that their bodies contain serve as fertilizer for the soil and, therefore, for the plants.
  • Absorb water: depending on the texture, they will absorb more or less, but thanks to this water the roots can have these nutrients. Otherwise, it would be impossible.
  • Allow the roots to be aerated: the same, it will depend on the texture, but only if a soil contains oxygen can it have plant life growing in it, because even if it seems that it does not, the roots also breathe through their pores .

How to determine the texture of the soil in our garden?

Fertile land

Fertile land

If we intend to plant some plants but we have no idea what texture our soil has, we can do the following:

  1. First, we will take a soil sample.
  2. Now, we will separate the fine earth, that is, all the particles less than 2mm, from those that are larger such as gravel and stones. Fine soil is the mixture of sand, silt, and clay.
  3. Afterwards, we will fill a bottle with 5cm of fine earth.
  4. Next, we will fill it with water almost completely and wait an hour.
    • In the background we will see the layer of sand.
    • In the center the limo.
    • In the upper part the clay one.
    • Fragments of organic matter can float on the surface of the water.

Now, there will only be calculate the proportion approximate of each. How? Using this triangle:

Soil component ratio triangleTriangle of proportion of soil components

Image –

  1. We have to measure the height from the bottom of the bottle to the last layer. Suppose there are 17 centimeters.
  2. We now measure the layer of sand. We assume that it measures 1cm.
  3. Then we just have to use a rule of 3 to calculate the percentages: if 17cm is 100%, what is 1cm? (1 × 100) / 17 gives us about 5,9.
  4. On the triangle we draw a line parallel to the silt one that begins at point 5,9.
  5. Now, we do the same with the slime, measuring from the height at which its layer begins to appear, that is, in this case at 1cm. If our result is 6cm, we calculate (6 × 100) / 17 which would give us 35,3. And we draw the line parallel to the clay line that starts at 35,3.
  6. Finally, we have to join the three lines.

With these results, we could be clear that our soil is clayey.

adult carob tree

adult carob

With these simple steps, we can know what texture our soil has.

How is the texture of a soil determined?

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