One of the natural resource arising from the Earth’s surface is the soil. These are the the part of the rocks that breaks up, though proves to be beneficial for the plant growth. The formation of soil is a slow and long process, that may take thousand of years, containing organic as wells as inorganic materials within.
The organic materials present in the soil such as microorganisms, whereas inorganic part is the minerals and nutrients present in the soil which are suffice for the plant growth and development.
There are various categories of soil, having different features which are fruitful for the some plants to grow, but simultaneously disadvantageous for other plants, that may grow in other types of soil with the addition of the suitable climatic conditions.
Soil can be of various types, such as clay, chalk, sand, silt, peat, and loam types, which is based on the parent particles present in the soil.
Clay Soil is a heavy and unique soil type that rich in high nutrients. Clay soils remains dry out in summer and wet and cold in winter . This soil is composed of fine-grains and plasticity when moist but gets hard when heated or fired. These soils are made of more than 25 percent clay, and because of the spaces found between clay particles, clay soils holds a high amount of water. Clay soils take long time for draining and warming in summer
The particles in this type of soil has little or no space and are tightly compressed, due to this feature, clay persists as the densest as well as type of soil. Also, it is this characteristic has the advantage of retaining and holding large quantities of nutrients and water, but on the other side still making it very difficult for moisture and air to penetrate through it.
Chalk soil are highly alkaline due to the presence calcium carbonate (lime) within its structure. These type of soil have the color of chalk. These are the types of soils found in limestone beds, they can be either heavy or light. Chalky soils are so dry that they are not helpful in germination of plants.
Due to the alkaline nature of this soil, they will not support the growth of such plants that needs acidic soils to grow and development. Therefore, chalky soil is considered as imperfect for plant growth. Chalk soil has high lime content but water content is low, with a pH level of 7.5. This means the chalky soil is basic and if any plant grows, resultant will be yellow and stunted plants.
Sandy Soil is dry, warm and light, and acidic with low in nutrients. This type of soils may vary from pale yellowish to yellowish brown in color and is considered as one of the poorest types of soil. Due to high proportions of sand and clay sandy soils are sometimes known as light soils (clay weighs more than sand). Sandy soils gets quickly warm in spring and has speedy water drainage. Sandy soil gets dry out in summer and face the trouble from low nutrients which are been washed away by rain.
Sandy soil is composed of rock grain or loose coral materials and has a gritty and dry touch. As such, sandy soils loose water content very fast therefore, it becomes very difficult for plant roots to establish. Thus, plants cannot grab the opportunity of using the nutrients and water in sandy soil more effortlessly as they are speedily carried away by rain water. This is what makes sandy soil the poorest for supporting any kind of plantation.
Peat soil holds the large amount of moisture and is high in organic matter. Peaty soil is dark brown but it can as well be black in color. This soil is rarely found and due to high demand is often send to into a required fields or place to provide an optimum soil base for planting. As said before, peaty soil has high content of organic material, additionally is rich is water, and due to this it is considered as one of the best soil types for supporting the plant growth.
Because of its characteristic peaty soil is able to maintain plants healthy even during the rainy and dry weather and shields the plants from any harm. Although the water content in peaty soil is up to small amount of acidic but is perfect for controlling plant diseases and can be used to balance the pH level of other soil types when mixed with them.
Loam soil is one of the richest soil, having the composition of sand, silt and clay, with the addition of dead and decaying matters (humus). The soil is soft, dry, and crumby to touch, comes in dark color, with the pH level of 6.
Loamy soil is holds the good amount of nutrients like calcium, with the water holding capacity for long periods. Due to the presence porous nature, it enables the air to move freely between the soil particles and till the tip of plant roots. This is ne of the distinguishable characteristics of loamy soils for crop production and considered as perfect additives with the right balance of nutrients.
Silt Soil is a has a high fertility ratings considered as light and moisture retentive soil type. Silty soil is made of small rocks, mud or clay deposited by a lake or river. as compared to sandy soil, this (Silt soil) type is made up of fine particles and it forms a soapy slick when moistened. As silt soils compromise of medium sized particles they hold moisture well and have the drained capacity as well, and gets easily wash away with rain. One of the disadvantage silty soil is that it is deficient of nutrients.
The process of soil formation is a gradual one involving the the rock cycle together with the involvement of chemical and microbial activities originating from living organisms. For instance, during the decomposition of dead plants and animals, nutrients are mixed up with the weathered and disintegrated rocks to form soil.