Depending on the size of the particles in the soil, it can be classified as:
Sandy Soil- The size of the particles are the largest. It is granular and consists of rock and mineral particles that are very small. The texture is coarse. Sandy soil is composed of 60-70% sand, 20-25% silt and 10-15% clay.
Silty Soil-Silty soil is the most fertile soil. It is found either as soil or as suspended sediment in water column of a water body on the earth’s surface. It is richer in nutrients and minerals like Quartz than sandy soil and has better drainage property.
Clay Soil-Clay is very fine grained soil and hence there is very less air spaces between the particles. Water logging might harm the roots of the plant. Clay soil becomes very heavy when wet. Blue or grey clays are poorly aereated and thus must be loosened to support healthy growth of plants.
Loamy Soil- This soil is the perfect soil for plantation. The granular soil retains water very easily, yet the drainage is well. Loamy soil is composed of 40 % sand, 40% silt and 20% clay.
Peaty Soil- This kind of soil contains more organic matter than other soils whereas the fewer nutrients are present in the soil. This kind of soil is formed in wet climate. Well fertilized and well drained Peaty soil is ideal for growing plants.
Chalky Soil- Chalky soil is very alkaline in nature and consists of stones. This kind of soil drys quickly and also blocks the absorption of nutritional elements by plants. Soil can be Acidic or Alkaline soil depending on the amount of humus, organic matter and the underlying bedrock.
On the basis of nature and composition of soil it can be classified into the following:
Alluvial soil - rich in loam and clay
Black soil - mostly made of clay
Red soil - sandy to loam
Mountain soil - stony, sandy soil
Desert soil - sandy and poor in organic carbon
Laterite soil - porous clay, rich in iron and aluminium hydroxides
To know the type of soil
Take a handful of moist soil and roll it between your palms into a cylindrical shape. If it feels coarse and breaks apart immediately, most probably the soil is ‘sand’.
If the soil feels smooth, and retains its shape for a short time before breaking apart, it is might be silt. However, if it feels sticky and holds together, then it is clay.