The word Laterite is derived from Latin word ‘later’ which means ‘brick’. They are mainly tropical based reason’s soil where we have heavy seasonal rainfall and high temperature. Because of that, it promotes leaching of the soil. Due to rain, lime and silica are always leached away. Laterite soils are said to farraginous aluminous rock. They are formed by decomposition.
Humus content of the soil is removed fast by bacteria that thrives well in high temperature. The rocks are completely leached out having a high proportion of iron and aluminium as residue. The Laterite soils in India are not very fertile and are can be only used with sufficient manure and fertilizers dosage. They are coarse in texture and poor in nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash and urea. These soils are red in colour as it is mixed with iron oxides. They are good for cultivation of Cashewnuts and Tapioca. These soils are also used as building materials in India in the form of bricks. Even we can used it for other agriculture needs like cotton, rice, wheat, pulses, tea and coffee with the help of suitable fertilizers.
Laterite soils in India are mainly found in Eastern Orissa, South Western Ghats, plains of Malabar Coast, Maharashtra and some part of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Meghalaya, and West Bengal.