Types of Soil and Dirt
In landscaping, there are three basic types of soil and dirt: loam, clay, and sand.
Loam is the richest of the three basic types of soils. It is comprised of organic matter, clay, silt, and sand. Also easiest to work with, it is the most diverse in composition of materials which is why it is the best for most plants to thrive in.
Clay holds water too long, often drowning plants, and sand does not hold water long enough, causing plants to die from lack of water. Certain plants can thrive, of course, with lots of water or not enough, but most will not. Therefore, the landscaping of your property can be affected by the type of soil or dirt that it has.
Loam, with its combination of many organic matters, clay, and sand, holds the proper amount of water. Dirt that has loam will be rich and dark, almost black. It is the most nutrient rich, balanced and fertile dirt for growing plants.
If the natural dirt on your property has too much clay or sand, it can be improved by adding compost that you can create by letting yard clippings, barnyard materials, manure, and other organic materials decay in a bin or pile.
Because loam has both clay and sand, it balances the soil out so it holds the proper amount of water, and the silt and organic matter adds to the fertility and growth of plants.
The size of the particles of organic bits and air pockets that make up soil determines your soil type. Sandy soil has larger particles, while clay soil has very small particles. The combination of the two creates loam. The organic materials in loam help retain moisture.
If you soil has a lot of clay, you may need to adjust the amount of watering you give your plants to be sure to not overwater, just as if your soil has a lot of sand, you need to make sure you are watering enough to prevent the plants from drying out.
To give your landscape project the best start, consider buying a truckload of dirt or soil, either loam or a mixture suited to combine with your current dirt in order to create a good combination for loam.