Investigating the Soil texture

Investigating the Soil texture

Soil texture is a gauge of the relative amount of the different soil particle in different portions of the soils. The conventional method of determining the soil texture is field texturing which allows a prompt interpretation of texture within the soil profile. Therefore, this paper provides the prompts of collecting soil samples, assessing the soil texture and analyzing the results.

The Apparatus Needed

  • A Small Bottle
  • A Measuring Cup
  • A Ruler
  • A Tape Measure
  • Paper Towels

Collection of the Soil Sample

Dig holes of about 1.5-5 centimeters and collect the soil just below the organic layer, measured using the ruler, and at a spacing of 5-10 meters using the tape measure. A soil sample is scooped from at least three holes for varying depths such as 1.5cm, 3.5cm and 5cm in each hole. Mix the soil samples from each depth thoroughly and scoop at least ½ cup for each sample.

Figure 1: The Soil Sample and Sampling Holes

The Texture Feel Test

Place soil in the palm and wet it using the water from the bottle. Knead the soil and try to form balls and identify whether or not they can form balls. Place the soil between the forefinger and the thump and squeeze to see whether it can form a ribbon while squeezing upwards, allow the ribbon to break under its own weigh and as well identify if it creates the ribbon. Still, determining the length of the ribbon formed. Place the soil in the palm, add water and rub with the forefinger to identify the degree of grittiness and smoothness.

Results Analysis

The soil that does not mold into a ball when wet is sand while that which moulds is clay soil. The soil that does not form a ribbon is loam sandy while one that forms ribbon is clay. However, sandy clay loam has a shorter ribbon of less than 2.5 cm, and sandy clay forms a length of 2.5-5cm while silt clay forms more than 5cm. Sand is very gritty, and sandy loam is moderately gritty while the clay soil is very smooth. However, smoothness of the clay soils does not predominate. Based on the results above, soil sample 1 is sand, 2 is loam, and third is clay. The results for each test in each sample are not constant due to the degree of saltness in each sample.

Tests Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3
Depths (cm) 1.5-5 1.5-5 1.5-5
Ball formation test forms Forms Does not
Ribbon formation forms Forms Does not
Ribbon length (cm) 5 2.5 and above Below 2.5
Grittiness or smoothness test Not gritty and very smooth Grittiness does not dominate  Very gritty


Uses, Negative and Positive Role of the Soil Samples

Clay soil is suitable for molding and pottery due to its smoothness and ability to form long and permanent ribbons. Sandy soils are gritty and thus, used in construction work when mixed with cement and water. Loam soil is suitable for farming because its moderateness in the test makes it accommodate enough water, organic matter and nutrients for the use by plants. Clay is not ideal for agriculture because it accommodates more heat and often waterlogged. The sandy soil excessively drains water, easily penetrated by heat and offer weak anchorage to plants.