General information

What types of soil exist


Fertilize, apply pesticides, water and loosen, from morning till late at night in the garden, and the harvest is not happy? Spending money on modernized modern varieties and hybrids, and as a result, on the site miserable diseased plants? Maybe the whole thing in the soil?

Horticulture and horticulture is aimed at obtaining good yields. Suitable plant varieties, timely use of fertilizers and pesticides, watering all affect the final result.

But the correct agricultural technology gives the desired result only when taking into account the peculiarities of the soil in this area. Let's look at the types and types of soil, their pros and cons.

Soil types

Types of soil are classified according to its content:

  • minerals (bulk),
  • organic matter and, above all, humus, which determines its fertility,
  • microorganisms and other living beings involved in the processing of vegetation residues.

An important quality of the soil is the ability to pass air and moisture, as well as the ability to retain incoming water.

For the plant is extremely important such a property of the soil as thermal conductivity (it is also called heat capacity). It is expressed in the period of time during which the soil is able to heat to a certain temperature and, accordingly, give off heat.

The mineral part of any soil is sedimentary rocks formed as a result of weathering of rock formations. Water streams over millions of years divide these products into two types:

Another mineral forming species is limestone.

As a result, for the flat part of Russia there are 7 main soil types:

  • clayey
  • loamy (loam),
  • sandy
  • sandy (sandy)
  • calcareous,
  • peat,
  • chernozem

Soil characteristics

Heavy, poorly treatable, long drying and slowly warming in spring. Poor water and moisture to the roots of plants. In such a soil, beneficial microorganisms develop poorly, and practically no decomposition of plant residues occurs.


One of the most common types of soil. In quality, they are inferior only to black soil. Suitable for growing all garden and garden crops.

Loams are easy to process, have normal acidity. Heats up quickly, but does not immediately give up the stored heat.

Good environment for the development of underground microflora. The processes of decomposition and decay, due to air access, are intensive.

Easy for any treatment, well pass water, air and liquid fertilizer to the roots. But these qualities also have negative consequences: the soil dries out quickly and cools down, fertilizers during rain and watering are washed out with water and go deep into the ground.


The soil is poorly suitable for gardening. There is little humus in it, as well as iron and manganese. Alkaline environment requires acidification of limestone soil.

Plots in swampy areas need cultivation and, above all, to carry out reclamation work. Acidic soils need to lime annually.

Black earth

Chernozem is a soil standard, it does not need to be cultivated. Competent agrotechnology is all that is necessary for growing a rich harvest.

For a more accurate classification of the soil consider its basic physical, chemical and organoleptic parameters.

The main types of soil in Russia

More than a hundred years ago V.V. Dokuchaev discovered that the formation of basic soil types on the surface of the Earth follows the law of latitudinal zonality.

The type of soil is its attributes, which arise under similar conditions and have the same parameters and conditions of soil formation, which in turn depend on climate during geologically significant periods of time.

The following soil types are distinguished:

  • tundra
  • podzol,
  • sod-podzolic,
  • gray forest
  • black earth
  • chestnut
  • brown

Tundra and semi-desert brown soils are completely unsuitable for agriculture. Low-fertility podzolic taiga and chestnut soils of dry steppes.

For agricultural activity, medium-fertile sod-podzolic soil, fertile gray forest and the most fertile black soil are of paramount importance. The humus content, climatic conditions with the necessary heat and moisture make these soils attractive for working on them.

We are used to seeing beauty in the clouds, in the surrounding nature, and never in the soil. But it is she who creates those unique pictures that remain in memory for a long time. Love, learn and protect the soil on your site! She will repay you and your children with beautiful crops, the joy of creation and confidence in the future.

Determination of soil texture:

Acid balance

The soil acidity is of great importance for growing cropswhose optimal value is called the acid-base balance. It is one of the most important indicators of the quality of fertile land. The acidity is indicated by the “pH” icon. When this value is seven units, acidity is called neutral. If the pH is below seven earth sour. At pH above seven is called alkaline.

With an increase in acidity, an increase in the content of aluminum and its salts in the soil, as well as manganese and other minerals. This does not allow plants to develop normally. Moreover, in such a soil pathogenic bacteria, microorganisms and pests begin to multiply actively. Fertilizers do not decompose. All this leads to a violation of the imbalance of the soil.

To determine the acidity is very simple at home. To do this, use a simple method of litmus indicators. Oxidized soil happens very often. The most common method is chalking. At the same time, lime displaces aluminum and its salts from the upper layer of the earth, replacing them with calcium and magnesium. This reduces the toxic effect on the plant.

The amount of lime per square meter depends on the type of soil and its characteristics. The table gives the rate of lime to reduce the acidity.


To determine this type of soil, we also try to make a bagel from the damp earth. Sandy soil rolls into a ball, but it does not work out to roll into a bar. The sand content in it is up to 90%, clay up to 20%. Another example of what are the soils that do not require costly and long reclaiming. The substrate is lightweight, warms up quickly, retains heat well, moisture and organic matter, is fairly easy to process.

It is necessary to choose zoned plant varieties for planting and to maintain fertility:

  • dosed application of mineral and organic fertilizers,
  • mulching and green manure.

The main types of soil

The main types of soils most often encountered by Russian gardeners are: clayey, sandy, sandy, loamy, calcareous and swampy. Each of them has both positive and negative properties, and therefore differs in the recommendations for the improvement and selection of cultures. In pure form, they are rare, mainly in combination, but with a predominance of certain characteristics. Knowledge of these properties is 80% of the success of a good harvest.

Clay soil

It is fairly easy to determine the clay soil: after digging, it has a large, lumpy, dense structure, it sticks greasy to the feet in the rain, absorbs water poorly, and easily sticks. If a long sausage is rolled up from a handful of such earth (wet), it can be easily bent into a ring, while it will not begin to crumble or fall apart.

Due to the high density, this soil is considered heavy. It warms up slowly, poorly ventilated, has a low coefficient of water absorption. Therefore, to grow crops on it is quite problematic. However, if the clay soil is properly cultivated, it can become quite fertile.

Clay soil © nosprayhawaii

To facilitate and enrich this type of soil, it is recommended that sand, peat, ash and lime be added periodically. Sand reduces water capacity. Ash enriches with nutrients. Peat loosens and increases water-absorbing properties. Lime reduces acidity and improves the air regime of the soil.

How much to contribute is an individual question, directly related to the indicators of your soil, which can be accurately determined only in laboratory conditions. But, in general: sand - no more than 40 kg per 1 m², lime - about 300 - 400 g per m², under deep digging once in 4 years (on soils with a weak acid reaction), for peat and ash there are no restrictions. If there is a choice of organic matter, horse manure is the best option for increasing the fertility of clay soils. Seeding of siderats, such as mustard, rye, oats, will not be useless either.

Plants on clay soils have not easy. Poor warming of the roots, lack of oxygen, stagnation of moisture, the formation of soil crusts do not work in favor of the harvest. But still, trees and shrubs, having a fairly powerful root system, tolerate this type of soil well. Of the vegetables on the clay, potatoes, beets, peas and Jerusalem artichoke feel good.

For the rest of the crops, it is possible to recommend high beds, planting on the ridges, using shallower embedment of seeds and tubers into the soil, planting of seedlings in an oblique way (for better warming of the root system). Among agrotechnical techniques, special attention on clay soils should be paid to loosening and mulching.

Sandy soil

Sandy soil - another version of the lungs on the mechanical composition of the soil. By its qualities it is similar to sandy soils, but contains a slightly higher percentage of clay inclusions, which means it has better retention capacity for mineral and organic substances, not only warms up quickly, but also retains heat for a long time, it passes less moisture and dries slower, aerates well and easy to process. It can be determined by the same method of squeezing a handful of moist earth into a sausage or lump: if it is formed, but it does not keep its shape well, you have sandy soil before you.

Sandy soil. © pictonsandandsoil

Growing on such soils can all, with the usual methods of farming and the choice of zoned varieties. This is one of the good options for gardens and orchards. However, the methods of improving and maintaining fertility for these soils will not be redundant either. They are recommended to regularly add organic matter (in usual doses), sow green manure cultures, and carry out mulching.

Loamy soil

Loamy soil is the most suitable type of soil for growing garden-orgozhnyh crops. It is easy to process, contains a large percentage of nutrients, has high rates of air and water conductivity, can not only retain moisture, but evenly distribute it over the horizon, retains heat well. If you take a handful of such earth in the palm of your hand and roll it up, then you can easily form a sausage, which, however, cannot be bent into a ring, as it will fall apart during deformation.

Loamy soil. © gardendrum

Due to the combination of the available properties, loamy soil does not need to be improved, but it is only necessary to maintain its fertility: mulch, make manure (3-4 kg per 1 sq. M.) For autumn digging and, if necessary, feed the cultures planted on it with mineral fertilizers. To grow on loamy soils, everything is possible.

Calcareous soil

Calcareous soil is classified as poor soil. Usually it has a light brown color, a large number of stony inclusions, is characterized by an alkaline environment, at high temperatures it heats up quickly and dries out, gives iron and manganese to plants poorly, can have a heavy or light composition. In crops grown on such a soil, foliage turns yellow and unsatisfactory growth is observed.

Lime soil. © midhants

In order to improve the structure and improve the fertility of calcareous soils, it is necessary to regularly apply organic fertilizers, not only under the main treatment, but also in the form of mulch, to sow green manure, to apply potash fertilizers.

To grow on this type of soil, everything is possible, but with frequent loosening of the spacing, timely watering and well thought-out use of mineral and organic fertilizers. They will suffer from weak acidity: potatoes, tomatoes, sorrel, carrots, pumpkin, radish, cucumbers and salads, so you need to feed them with fertilizers that tend to acidify, and not alkalize the soil (for example, ammonium sulfate, urea).

Marshy soil

Marshy or peaty soils are also used for the breakdown of garden plots. However, it is quite difficult to call them good for growing crops: the nutrients contained in them are poorly available for plants, they absorb water quickly, but they also give up quickly, do not warm up well, and often have a high acidity index. On the other hand, such soils well retain mineral fertilizers and are easy to cultivate.

Peaty mid-decayed horizon of sod-podzolic soil. © own work

To improve the fertility of marshy soils, it is necessary to saturate the earth with sand (for this purpose it is necessary to carry out deep digging so as to lift sand from the lower layers) or clay flour, to apply abundant liming on particularly acidic variants, to take care of the increase in the land of beneficial microorganisms liquid, compost, do not bypass microbiological additives), do not forget about potash-phosphate fertilizers.

If you lay the garden on peat soils, then it is better to plant trees either in the pits, with the soil individually laid under the culture, or in the mound hills, from 0.5 to 1 m in height.

Under the garden, carefully cultivate the land, or, as in the version with sandy soils, lay a clay layer and fill it with loam, organic fertilizers and lime mixed with peat. But if you grow only gooseberries, currants, chokeberry and garden strawberries, you can not do anything - just water and weed, as these crops on these soils work out without cultivation.

And, of course, speaking of the soil, it is difficult not to mention the black soil. On our summer cottages they are not so often, but they deserve special attention.

Chernozem. © carlfbagge

Chernozems are soils of high potential fertility. A stable granular-lumpy structure, a high content of humus, a large percentage of calcium, good water-absorbing and water-holding abilities allow us to recommend them as the best option for growing crops. However, like any other soils, they tend to be depleted from constant use, therefore, already 2 to 3 years after their development, it is recommended to apply organic fertilizers to the beds, plant green manure.

In addition, black soil is difficult to call light soils, on the basis of this, they are often loosened by the introduction of sand or peat. They can also be acidic, neutral and alkaline, which also requires its own adjustment.

Chernozem. © Axel Hindemith

To understand that before you really black soil you need to take a guest of the earth and squeeze it in your palm, you should have a black oily imprint on your hand.

Some people confuse black soil with peat - here, too, there is a method for testing: you need to squeeze a wet lump of soil in your hand and put it in the sun - the peat will dry instantly, and black soil will keep moisture for a long time.