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How to recognize the types of terrain: classification of soils and how to recognize different types of soil without laboratory analysis.
Recognize the types of terrain allows us to do our best in garden care both when it comes to the choice of crops to carry on and when we have to decide on the type of fertilizer or compost to add to the soil.
When it comes to types of soilsthere is no singleclassification because the factors to be taken into consideration are many. Generally speaking, it can be said that the first classification sees three types of soil:
- Loamy ground
- Sandy soils
- Clayey soil
A more practical classification by dividing i types of agricultural landin
Again, if we rely on the soil reaction, we have:
- Acid soils
- Alkaline soils
- Neutral soils
If you want more detailed information on the pH reaction of the soil (acidic or basic soil), I invite you to read the guide:how to measure the pH of the soil.
Distinguish clayey soil from loamy or sandy
To discriminate a clayey soil from a loamy one or a loamy soil from a sandy one (and all the possible combinations), we refer you to the page dedicated to the types of soil which focuses on the classification ofclayey, loamy and sandy soils: types of terrain.
How to recognize the types of terrain: test by touch
A fertile soil is balanced and provides crops with the nutrients they need. Recognize the types of terrain allows us to make the best choices.
For recognize a terrain you have to carve a clod with a spade, take some earth and rub it in your hands, you can witness different behaviors.
- if the ground dissolves it will be a soft (and sandy) soil as the earth is grainy and has a high sand content.
- if the earth is easy to shape then the soil will be clayey as it is rich in many clay platelets and based on the amount of clay you will have a ground heavy or medium.
Soil types: soft soils and sandy soils
They work easily, are well ventilated and allow easy pentration of the water even though these soils have a minimum absorption capacity both when it comes to water dosage and when it comes to nutrients. For this reason, these types of terrain they must be added with organic substances such as compost. To solve the problem of lack of water absorption, sandy soils must always be covered with a layer of mulch in order to prevent drying.
Soil types: medium-textured soils
It is about land in clayey sand (or sandy clay!). The percentages of clayey or sandy soil are variable but always maintain a certain proportion so as to be able to attribute to soil type the definition of "medium". For example, i land of loess have a clay percentage between 10 and 30 percent. It is a good combination of grainy and fine clay components.
These types of terrain they can store a lot of water and provide plants with a large amount of nutrients. Medium soils are ideal for the garden for those who care for the vegetable garden for passion: they are easy to treat.
Soil types: heavy soils
They have a high percentage of clay so, even if they are able to supply the plants with large quantities of nutritional elements, they suffer from lack of air and water stagnation. To improve these soils, it is necessary to make them softer, more permeable and more porous, thus adding sand and mature compost to attract earthworms capable of increasing the aeration and drainage of this soil type.
How to recognize soil types based on plants
If you want to analyze the soil of an uncultivated agricultural land, you can perform accurate laboratory analyzes that will give you all the necessary information.
Soil analysis is recommended if the plot of land is intended for a farm. If it is the home garden or the back garden, you can get a fairly precise idea based on the spontaneous herbs that thrive. Here are the plants indicating the type of soil.
The basically acid soils are rich in:
- Ginestra dei dyers
- Alexandrian clover
- Female cistus
Basic soils (basically alkaline) can host plants such as:
- Sambuco nigra
- White willow
- Sea buckthorn
- Wild blackthorn
Neutral sub-alkaline soils can host herbs such as calendula, chicory basil, and rose indica. Neutral subacid soils can host onion, carrot, rose hip, and asparagus.
Soils rich in nitrogen
They will be full of weeds like nettles! There will be stellaria, nard and amaranth.
Dry and poor soils: low fertile soils
In these soils, plants such as thyme, carlina, parsnip, sage, beak's beard, silene, hypericum and yarrow thrive easily.
Salty or saline soils
In coastal areas or near brackish waterways, the soils are rich in sodium. The saline soils can host star grass, asparagus, licorice, willow, juniper, lime, black locust and hawthorn.
Soils rich or poor in calcium
If you notice a lot of poppies or dandelions on that soil, it means that you are dealing with a soil rich in calcium. Chicory, sainfoin, lavender, angelica, thyme, poppy, lemon balm, ash and dandelion grow on soils rich in calcium.
A soil that is poor in calcium will see plants such as sorrel, dockyard, mugwort and violet grow.