Thursday, July 10, 2008

What is Soil?

Putting it in simple terms the quality of turf or any other plant material that is grown is as only as good as the soil below. Yes, there are a lot of things that can be done to create the illusion of healthy turf or plants, but true success or failure depends on the quality and management of the soil.

If soil components were drawn in a pie chart it would consist of four sections: minerals, water, air and organic mater. All four of these components need to be in the right proportion combined with adequate sunlight to make plant growth possible. When taking about soils one of the most common terms used to describe soil is called texture. Soil texture is generally described by one of five different classifications, they are as follows:

Coarse Sand:
Gritty and loose, even when wet. Contains mostly sand particles of larger sizes.

Sandy Loam:
Will hold water together slightly when wet, but crumbles easily. Sand is about half of the content and silt and clay equally combined to make up the other half.

Clay Loam:
Feels heavy and hold together when wet. Contains equal portions of sand, silt and clay.

Silt Loam:
Clumps together easily, but will break apart when rolled in the hand. Contains little sand or clay.

Forms extremely hard clumps when dry and feels sticky or plastic when wet. May contain very little sand or silt.

You can generally determine what type of soil you have without the use of laboratory testing, just by simply feeling the soil in your hands. Use the above descriptions of soil textures to help you figure out what you have.