First and foremost, what is soil?
“Soil” is a growing media that is made up of a combination of water, gas, organic material, living organisms, and minerals – sand, silt, and clay.
“Soil texture” – or “soil type” – refers to the ratio of sand, silt, and clay that make up a particular soil. Once this ratio is determined, a soil can be classified as a “clay loam,” “silty clay,” or a “sandy clay loam” to name a few.
Soil texture is an important consideration when it comes to the maintenance of your landscape. Understanding the characteristics of your soil will allow you to modify your routines to suit the needs of your soil. This is especially crucial to cultural practices such as watering and fertilizing.
Nutrient concentrations in soil are dependent upon soil texture.
Sand particles are much larger than clay particles and, therefore, leave a lot more air space in the same volume of soil. What this means is that clay soils have more available surface area for nutrients to attach. For this reason, when applying fertilizer at the same rate, sandy soils are more prone to leaching than clay soils – meaning that you risk wasting fertilizer. To mitigate this, sandy soils should receive more frequent applications at a lower rate to reach the same annual total.