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What is Red Soil?

Red soil is considered to be a soil that generally develops in warm temperature and moist climate. They are developed under deciduous conditions and are generally found in mixed forests. They have thin organic and mineral layers overlying a yellowish-brown leached layer which can be seen resting on an illuvial red layer. Red soils are generally formed from sedimentary rocks which are rich in iron. These soils are not suitable for cultivating because they are low in nutrients, making them poor growing soil. We learn more about red soil on this page. 

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Types of Red Soil

Red soil for plants is available in various types. Let's discuss some of these soils:-


Red Clay Soil

Red clay soil is commonly known as Ultisols. They come under the twelve soil orders which were introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Taxonomy. These are considered to be mineral soils that do not have any calcareous material present in them. These soils have 10% less weatherable minerals in the extremely top layer and also have a saturation base of less than 35% throughout the soil. You can find ultisols in tropical regions that experience humid temperatures. They are found in regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.


Red Loam Soil

According to researchers, this red loam soil is formed by the decomposition of granite, gneiss charnockite and diorite rocks. These soils are found to be cloddy, porous and deficient in concretionary materials. These soils don't have enough nitrogen, phosphorus and various organic materials. These soils contain a sufficient amount of potash. Red sandy loam soil is not good for agriculture because they are not that fertile. These soils are mainly found in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Eastern Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and many other states.


Red Laterite Soil

Red laterite soil is a type of soil that is considered as a brick also. This type of soils is rich in iron and aluminium. They are usually formed in hot and wet tropical areas. These soils are red in colour because of the iron oxide content; this mineral gave the soil a red colouration. These soils are developed when the underlying parent rock starts intensive and prolonged weathering. The areas where you can find the majority of laterites are situated between the tropics of cancer and the tropics of Capricorn. Laterites are considered to be a source of aluminium ores.


Red Yellow Soil

Red yellow soil is a type of soil that is formed under broad-leaved forests. Generally, these types of forests are found in humid subtropical regions. These soils are believed to have an acid reaction within them. The humus content in these soils is significantly less as compared to other soils. The red-yellow colour of the soil is due to the presence of ferric hydroxide in the soil. As per many researchers, the thickness of these soil ranges between 30-70 cm. The thickness of these soils varies in different places. One can find these types of soil in China, the Southern United States, southeastern Australia and New Zealand.


Red Sandy Soil

This type of soil is light, warm and dry. They tend to have acidic content in them and are low in nutrients. Red sandy soil is generally known as light soils because of a high proportion of sand and less clay (clay always weighs more than sand). These soils are easy to work with because they have water drainage that is quick most of the time. As these soils don't have a sufficient amount of nutrients and organic matters; thus, these soils are not preferable for cultivation. In simple words, these soils are poor fertility soils. These soils are found in regions where the rainfall is arid, semi-arid and humid.


Red Gravel Soil

This type of soils are found with 20% gravel in the topmost layer; sometimes, it is more than 20% also. These gravels are distributed and scattered throughout the soil. This type of soils affects the growth of plants because of the gravel content. These gravels act as a barrier to plant growth. Plants also can't develop in these types of soils because they can't get enough nutrients from red gravel soil. This soil lacks fertilizers. The gravels present in the soil penetrate the roots causing damage to the plants. So it is clear that agriculture is not a good choice on these soils.


Gravels present in the soil helps to break up the clay soil and create air pockets where oxygen is stored. Plants that can grow in this type of soil are perennials, ornamental grasses and herbs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Characteristics of Red Soil?

Ans. The following are the important characteristics of red soil:

  • The name of the soil got derived from its colour.

  • The soils are porous and have a high proportion of iron oxide in them.

  • These soils are considered to be shallow, having a ph value ranging from 6.6 to 8.0.

  • The soils are considered to be loose and aerated.

  • They have an insufficient quantity of nitrogen, potassium, phosphates and other organic matters.

  • These soils are not fertile, but they don't respond to any fertilizer. These soils might demand cultivation support if you are planning to do agriculture in this area.

  • These soils contain soluble soil in smaller quantities.

Q2. What are the Advantages of Red Soil?

Ans. The main advantages of red soil are as follows:

  • The red soil is considered to be highly weathered.

  • The red soil contains a rare clay material which is known as kalinite.

  • The specific gravity of these soil ranges between 2.6 to 2.8.

  • Red soil has better drainage capacity when compared with other soils that are present on the earth surface.

  • These soil also have a high percentage of iron and aluminium in them.

  • These soils also respond to fertilizer but in the presence of some cultivation system.

  • They are low in nutrients but can be used for cultivation.

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