Good Soil Types

Plants need good soil in order to have a steady stream of water, oxygen and nutrients. Soil can be treated in order to improve the quality of that soil. In addition to adding fertilizer in order to improve the nutrients available to the plants, other improvements can be made to the soil in order to improve the plant’s chances of survival and health. However, using the right soil type to begin with can reduce the amount of work that needs to be done on the soil.


Loam soil is soil that is a mixture of sand, silt, clay, and organic material. This allows water to travel through the soil without getting blocked and also allows nutrients to be held in the soil until the plant is able to absorb them. Loam can be identified by whether or not it can form a ball when rolled in the hand and whether or not it crumbles when poked. Clay soil can form a ball, but does not crumble. Sandy soil crumbles but cannot form a ball.


Sandy loam has more sand in it. The sand is coarse and water can pass through it quickly. This prevents root rot and flooding, which can be devastating for plants. However, sandy loam soil will have to be watered more frequently than more clay-based loam soil.


Clay and silt loam soils are still loam, but are more clay-based. This clay allows more water to be retained, which reduces the amount of watering that needs to be done. However, clay loam can flood and makes it difficult for fresh water and oxygen to pass through the soil, which makes root rot more possible if the soil is over-watered.

Loosened Soil

Loosened soil can allow water to pass more freely through it, even if the soil is more clay-based. Soils need to not be compacted because compact soil prevents water from getting to the roots and also reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the roots.

Organic Matter

Sandy loam soil with organic matter added like compost will be able to retain moisture and nutrients better. Mulch made out of decomposing materials will also provide more nutrients for the plants to consume. Material that can be used in the compost includes manure and grass clippings. Adding mulch can keep the plants warm, reduce the loss of moisture, and reduce the number of weeds that grow.


Another option is to abandon soil altogether and use a nutrient solution through hydroponics. The roots are suspended in the water and the plants receive the nutrients by absorbing that water. Plants grown hydroponically tend to grow faster and healthier because they receive all the nutrients they need without the stress, according to GreenCoast Hydroponics.

Keywords: sandy loam, clay loam, loam soil, root rot

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.