News, Culture & Society

What Are The Types Of Soil?

Before we look at what the types of soil are, let us first understand what soil is and what it can be used for.

What is Soil?

Soil can be broadly defined as the top layer of the earth that spans the entire surface of the planet. That means soil covers every part of the earth, besides regions that are predominantly covered by ice. Soil is formed from the breaking down of rocks into tiny pieces, better known as sediments. This process of decomposition or weathering of rocks is caused by factors including air, wind, and water, which takes place over a very long period, at least 500 years. So, the soil we see today was formed over 500 years ago.

What Are The Types Of Soil?

There are various soil types in Adelaide, each with their characteristics that make them special for one purpose or the other. Although soil can be classified in many ways, the four main types of soil are;

Sandy Soil

This is soil that is made up of sand. It is dry, coarse, and known for being very light. As far as its soil content goes, sandy soil contains very little nutrients and makes a very bad soil for planting. The only thing that grows on sandy soil are small plants with very shallow roots and they do not survive for more than a few days. Sandy soil has a poor water holding capacity as the water tends to drain very quickly. The upside about sandy soil is that it tends to dry fast and warms up quicker during spring. Sandy soil is found more in arid or dry regions. Although it may not be good for planting, sandy soil is good for construction.

Clay Soil

Clay soil contains a high amount of clay, often more than 25%. This means they contain a lot of nutrients, making them good for plants. Clay soil is soft and can be very sticky when wet. It is made up of small particles that bond together, creating very little air space. This allows it to retain water for longer. Clay soil tends to get heavy when it is wet due to the high amount of water they hold. They can stay wet for a very long time and begin to show cracks when they start drying up.

Silt Soil

This type of soil is smaller than sand yet larger than clay. They can retain moisture and also drain excess water well, which makes it good for farming. They are commonly found near water bodies like streams, lakes, and rivers, often being transported there by moving currents. They contain a lot of minerals which makes them very fertile.

Loam Soil

Loam soil is a mixture of silt, sand, and clay, each of them with their best qualities to counteract their extremes. Loam soil retains moisture and nutrients better and is good for planting. It drains water well and can be very easy to till. It also dries easily and is the best type of soil you can use for agriculture.

Uses of soil

Soil can be used for so many things, including agriculture, pottery, construction, and more. The type of soil you use depends on what you want to use it for.


This is, perhaps, the most common use of soil. Every food we eat is grown from the soil. The soil must have the necessary nutrients to make plants flourish and grow. The best types of soil for planting are loamy and silt soil. Fertilizers can be added to sandy soil to give it nutrients that would allow plants to perform well in it. Clay soil can also be used to grow crops but you have to worry about the content of water that goes into it.

Ceramic wares and Glasswares

Pots, vases, and so many other things can be formed from the soil. The best soil for this is clay soil because it retains a lot of water and has elasticity. Even ceramic wares, like sinks, jacuzzi, tiles, and much more, are formed using clay and other types of soil. Glass is also formed from a sand base and can be used to make a whole range of wares.


Soil can also be used to make building materials, like bricks (clay soil) and cement blocks (sandy soil). Soil compaction is a very important part of the building phase, which increases the soil density to enable it to support the weight of the building.