Types of soil
Soil are classified into three main group or types. Generally soil are formed as a result of the breaking down parent rock material through a process called weathering.
Listed below are the major types of soil, they are
1. Sandy soil
2. Clayey soil
3. Loamy soil
Due to the process of weathering, soil is made up of particles of different sizes.
Other things found in the soil include decayed plants and animals. The quantity of decayed materials varies from soil to soil.
A. SANDY SOIL.
PROPERTIES OF SANDY SOIL
I. This type of soil consists of large particles
II. Large pores or spaces between its particles.
III. Its capillary water retention is very poor.
IV. It has rough hoarse feel.
B. LOAMY SOIL
PROPERTIES OF LOAMY SOIL
Loamy soil is the best type of soil for crop propagation. It is a mixture of sandy and clayed soil with a host of decayed organic materials
i. It has very fine and smooth particles
ii. It is 80% humus
iii. It is very fertile for agricultural activities such as crop production
iv. Very rich in plant nutrient
C. CLAYE SOIL
PROPERTIES OF CLAYE SOIL
i. This types of soil has very sticky soil particles
ii. It is water logged
iii. The particles are smooth when felt
iv. It is elastic in nature
So to get the best yield from farming activities, the loamy soil type should be considered because of its richness in plant nutrients.
Sandy soils are often dry, lack nutrient and easy for leaching and draining. They have very low capillary water retention through capillary movement of water around soil particles. Therefore, the application of tillage of sandy soils in the dry seasons in places like Nigeria should be kept to a minimum in order to retain moisture. The issue of sandy soil deposit is always much in environment with low vegetation, high rainfall and high sunshine. The nutrient and water holding capacity of sandy soil can be improved tremendously through afforestation, adding organic material and the practice of plantation farming
2. Silty soil or semi clayed soil
These type of soils is different from sandy soils in that it has a greater tendency to form a block, which is often very hard. In Nigeria this type of soil is majorly found during the process of well digging. If they are over compressed, they can become compact and this will lower their ability to infiltrate water in wet periods. In dry conditions they can become hard and difficult to till. However, they are not generally easy to till and can store considerable amounts of water making it water logged. They require good particle loosening for good crop yield, and tillage in rainy atmospheric condition should be avoided when dealing with silt soil.
3. Clayey soil
This type of soil has a very fine particle when felt. Is very sticky and always water logged. The crust is often so hard that it has to be broken up. With low contents of clay and organic material, aggregate formation is often poor. There is a place in my village, in Amai, Delta state, Nigeria (learn more about Nigeria here) where there is a natural deposit of clayey soil up to 200 feet deep within an area of six square kilometer. The soil here does not need additional chemical for the production of ceramic wares.
Heavy clay have a very high water-holding capacity, but most of the water is tightly bound and not available to plants.
The humus content is often higher than in other mineral soils. They do not form a crust when they dry. These soils have a very good ability to improve their structure through freezing/thawing and drying/wetting. In cold winters the clay freezes apart and forms a very favourable aggregated structure in the topsoil layer. If the clay dries out without having been frozen, it can become very stiff and difficult to work.
This soil have a good ability to transport water by capillary action from deep layers but the rate is slow. So plant water requirements are not met through capillary water. These soils are darker in color and soil aggregation is more distinct. Aggregation decreases the risk of crusting. These soils must be tilled at the correct water content in order to be easily cultivated. There is a risk of cladding or caked if conditions are too dry, or of smearing if they are too wet. These soils have a good ability to improve their structure through the action of climate, roots
In the water-saturated state these soils can be sticky and very impermeable to water. Due to the high clay content, the nutrient content is very high. Heavy clays need a high degree around the seed when they are dry, but not when they are damp and plastic. The risk with tilling them in wet conditions is that it leads to soil compaction.
In well aerated soils, oxidized or ferric, iron compounds are responsible for the brown, yellow, and red colors you see in the soil.
When iron is reduced to the ferrous form, it becomes mobile, and can be removed from certain areas of the soil. When the iron is removed, a gray color remains, or the reduced iron color persists in shades of green or blue.
Upon aeration, reduced iron can be re-oxidized and re-deposited, sometimes in the same environment, resulting in a color pattern.
Soil texture refers to the proportion of the soil “separates” that make up the mineral component of soil. These separates are called sand, silt, and clay. These soil separates have the following size ranges:
Because of its small size and sheet-like structure, clay has a large amount of surface area per unit mass, and its surface charge attracts ions and water. Because of this, clay is the “active” portion of the soil matrix.
For all mineral soils, the proportion of sand, silt, and clay always adds up to 100 percent. These percentages found in soil texture shall be treated in my next article
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