Common Densities of Soil Types

Written by denise stern
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Common Densities of Soil Types
Knowing your soil density may help you grow a more bountiful garden. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Soil density is a term that measures the volume and mass of soil types. Some types of soil are commonly found in one geographic area and not another, and some trees, flowers, plants and gardens do better in one type of soil over another. If you know what type of soil you have in your yard, you'll be able to cater your fertiliser or soil amendment applications to improve the soil for your tree, flower and vegetable growth for optimal health and wellness.

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Soil Density

According to the Environmental Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory, the density of soils is determined by wetness or amount of water found in soil particles. Soil density may also be determined by measuring the mass of liquids, solids and gases such as air in a soil sample. You can also test for minerals and other organic matter in soil samples. This test can be performed by sending a soil sample to a local agriculture centre with measuring equipment ,such as an agricultural university, or submitting a soil sample to your local nursery, which may be able to test onsite or send your sample to a testing facility for results.

Soil Types

Soil types are defined as sandy, sandy loam, loam, silt loam, clay loam and clay soils, according to the Argonne National Laboratory. The density of any particular soil sample measures mass per unit or volume of the provided sample. The density of your soil sample will be determined by the components found in that sample. For example, minerals found in soil samples may range from 2.60 to 2.75 grams per cubic centimetre or g/cm^3 according to The Globe Program, or the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment interactive teaching method for educational science programs in schools.

Mineral Density

According to SoilWeb of the University of British Columbia, the mineral density of soils may range between 2.6 and 2.7g/cm^3 though soils high in heavier metals like iron oxide may have a density of between 5.2 and 5.3g/cm^3.

Measurements

A soil that contains a large amount of organic materials may have a density of 1.3g/cm^3. A soil low in clay components and high in sand is considered a loamy sand soil, while a soil sample that contains approximately 20 per cent clay and sand and 60 per cent silt is considered a silty loam type soil, according to the University of Wisconsin. Silty clay may be defined as a soil sample containing approximately 45 per cent measurements of silt and clay, and 10 per cent sand.

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