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Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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Loam Soil

Those who all love gardening are generally advised that specific loam garden soil is accurate for all the plants. The question is what is loamy soil? What are its soil constituents and how are they suitable? All of these questions will be discussed in this content. 


The Soil which is well composed of many particles with a variety of sizes is called the loamy soil. The soil scientists have classified the soil particles majorly into three groups, which are:

  • Sand

  • Silt 

  • Clay. 

A loamy soil particularly combines all these three variations. We will know about this soil further in our prevailing section.  


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Loam is an equal mixture of the three soil types, which are sand, silt, and clay. The components of loam do contain sand particles in it. The Loamy soil has the capacity of holding water but it drains at a rate which is about 6-12” (approximately 15-30 cm.) draining per hour. Loam soil is abundantly rich in minerals and good nutrients for the plants and they lose enough of the roots and they spread out forming a strong foundation. 

There are yet simple ways via which one can get an idea of the type of soil one has. The method is – one can try to form a ball out of the damp soil with one’s bare hands. The soil which is too sandy will not form a ball, it will eventually crumble. While the soil having too much clay will form a tight and hardball. Silty and loamy soils will also form a loose ball which is lesser crumbly.

This is evident that many of the gardeners complain of their garden soil as they are being compacted or are poorly drained. Heavy and compacted soil can be solved by an enduring gardener. Here adding a good amount of organic matter, like compost, animal manure, cover crops, or organic mulch materials, every year as the soil is being worked. This may take time (generally years), but eventually, the compaction of the soil will be solved. 

Sandy Loam Soil 

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This variety of soil is dominated mainly by the sand particles, they contain enough clay and sediment which provide some structure and good fertility. While there are four different types of sandy loam soil that are classified on the basis of their sand size.

We can find sand mixed in the soil in the sandy loamy soils, the sand mixed here is very much visible to naked eyes. When the sandy loamy soils are being compressed together, they will hold their shape but break apart quite easily. These sandy loam soils have a good concentration of sand particles which gives them a gritty type feel. In the gardens and lawns, these sandy loam soils are quite capable of quickly draining the excess water but they cannot hold large amounts of water or nutrients for the gardened plants. The plants growing in this type of soil will need frequent irrigation and fertilization than other soils which have a high concentration of clay and sediment content in them. 

Clay Loam 

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Clayey loam inherits a soil mixture that contains more of the clayey material than other types of rock or minerals in it. The particles of clay are in very small quantities, this is one of the most important characteristics. For this reason, loams that contain a good deal of clay seem to be heavy, because they are very dense. 

The density of the clayey loam sets the biggest two drawbacks - When it is very wet, the soil swells to retain water, this makes it till the soil. With poor drainage capacity, this soil can also stunt plant growth. The dry clay shrinks but always stays impacted. This forms dense clogs and cracks in the soil surface. 

Sandy Clay Loam

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The Soil is generally at the top and this has an underlying layer (which is 0−30 and 30−60 cm). The Sandy clay loam has an acidic reaction (which is active pH: 5.82 and 5.87, they bear a potential pH of 5.21 and 5.29), the medium content of humus (which is approximately 4.5% and 3.7%), and very high available of Cu (that is 7.25 and 6.04 ppm), next it has a high content of available Fe (which is 21.6 and 20.5 ppm), the optimum of exchangeable Ca (157 and 169 mg/100 g), and below the optimum value for exchangeable Mg (9.5 and 8.1 mg/100 g). 

Loamy Sandy

The US Department of Agriculture sub-classified the loamy sands from coarse to very fine particles, which is according to the proportion of sand that separates what they contain. The loamy coarse sand contains a minimum of 25 percent which separates that either from very coarse or coarse and less than 50 percent of any extra texture. The loamy sand consists of much less than 50 percent of the fine or smoothly fine particles, which is more than 25 percent of medium particles, and also less than 25 percent of the two coarsest particle types. 

Soil Silty Clay Loam

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Loam consists of - Silty clay loam which is about 27 to 40 percent clay, while less than 20 percent of sand. Sandy clay of 35 percent or more clay and 45 percent or more of sand. Silty clay is 40 percent or more clay and 40 percent or more silt. The Clay is 40 percent or more clay, which is less than 45 percent sand and is less than 40 percent silt.

FAQs on Loam

1. What is Red Loam Soil?

Ans. Red soil is formed by granite decomposition. They are cloddy, porous, and are deficient in compact materials. Red loam soil is poorer in nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic materials content but they are quite rich in potash. Leaching is very common in this type of soil.  

The soils have thinner layers, with less fertility. They are mainly found in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, eastern Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kota, Ajmer districts), Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya. 

2. Are Red Sandy Loam Soil Fit for Crops?

Ans. Red sandy loam soils generally contain a greater amount of nutrients and humus compared to their sandy ‘relatives’. This soil offers better drainage and infiltration of water and air than the silty soils, and they are easier to till than done in the clayey soils.

Thus, we can say that this soil type is considered the ideal most for agricultural purposes on an account of its ability to retain the required nutrients well. The soil retains water while also allowing excess water to drain away easily. 

3. What are Loam Soils used in?

Ans. Loam soil is adequately suitable for growing a wide variety of plants. Apart from this, bricks made out of loam, mud, sand, and water, also with an added binding material like rice husks or straws are used in construction since time immemorial.