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Soil has some characteristics that form the basis for its classification into various types, and also the types of crops that are grown in it.
The rate of absorption is different for different types of soils. This phenomenon of absorption of water by soil is termed as percolation.
The rate of absorption of a soil depends on its composition. As we know, soil is formed by the weathering of rocks. The amounts of sand and clay depend on the rock from which the soil particles have been formed.
Soil is not similar everywhere. Soil is classified into various types based on the appearance and proportion of particles.
- Sandy soil
- Clay soil
- Loamy soil
Properties of sandy soil:
- If the soil is made of a greater proportion of big particles, it is called sandy soil.
- The sand particles are relatively large. They cannot fit closely together.
- There are large spaces between them. These places are filled with air.
- Therefore, in this type of soil, water absorption is very high as the water passes quickly through these spaces.
- These soils are light, well aerated and dry.
Properties of clay soil:
- It is made of a relatively high proportion of fine particles.
- These soils have very less space between particles.
- Because the particles are smaller in size, water can be trapped in the tiny gaps between them.
- Clay soils are heavy and hold more water.
Properties of loamy soil:
- It is a mixture of sand, soil and silt.
- Silt particles are present between the particles of sand and soil.
- It also contains humus, and is, therefore, considered the best for the growth of plants.
- The percolation rate is between that of sandy soil and clay soil.
Climatic factors as well as the components of the soil determine the types of vegetation and crops that grow in a particular area.
- Cereals like wheat and gram are grown in clay and loamy soils, because these soils have better water retention capacity.
- Soils rich in clay and organic matter with good water retention capacity are ideal for paddy.
- Loamy soils, which drain water easily, are suitable for lentils and other pulses.
- For cotton, loamy or sandy soils are more suitable, because of their water draining and air logging capacity.
- Clay soils are rich in humus and fertile. These soils are very good for wheat.
Deforestation causes soil erosion. Plant roots firmly bind soil. In the absence of plants, soil becomes loose. Wind and flowing water move the loose soil away. Soil erosion is severe in areas of little or no surface vegetation, such as deserts and barren lands. Therefore, cutting of trees and deforestation should be prevented, and efforts should be made to increase greenery.