The mechanical composition reflects the quantitative ratio of fractions according to size (clay, sand and dust) in the solid phase of the soil. It has a key role in the process of its development and determines its main properties – water-air, chemical, physical-mechanical, thermal and technological composition.
Mechanical composition in relation to soil qualities
When we talk about the mechanical composition and its relationship with the soil features, we can point out the following aspects:
📍 Light soils are characterized by a better permeability to water, unlike heavy ones, they are characterized by a better water retention .
📍 Sandy soils are well aerated , which favors the growth and development of roots. The high percentage of dust and clay leads to the filling of the pores, which noticeably reduces the amount of available oxygen.
📍 Clay soils tend to erode much more than the sandy ones. This type of soil is characterized by worst physical, chemical and biological indicators.
📍 Mineralization processes take place at a higher speed in light soils due to the presence of oxygen in them.
📍Soil cation exchange capacity (CSC) increases with the increase in the percentage of clay and organic matter.
📍The effect of calcareous matter (used to correct the acidic pH) is largely determined by the clay content in the soil.
📍During heavy rains, soils containing more dust become granulated. The resulting large and hard boulders worsen the physical properties of the soil.
📍 Sandy soils heat up much faster than clay soils.
📍 Light soils are characterized by a lower level of resistance during processing, unlike heavy ones, which have greater plasticity and adhesion.
📍The content of a higher percentage of clay determines the ability of the soil to retain nutrients, while the greater presence of sand leads to their loss.
From what was said before, we can conclude that it is very important to know the mechanical composition of the soil in order to be able to make the best decisions regarding the farm activity. Activities such as fertilization, tillage and irrigation should be adapted to the type of soil, especially since this indicator is relatively constant over time.
Recommendations for improving plant development
What measures can we take to have a positive impact on plant development in firmer or lighter soils:
✅ Adding organic substances to the soil
✅Providing a favorable environment for the coexistence of microorganisms
✅ Mitigating the negative impact of weather conditions
✅ Cultivation of appropriate crops, depending on the type of soil
It is important to remember that the formation of a good physical environment for healthy soils needs time, attention and care.
If you want to know more details or analyze the mechanical composition of your soil, you can contact the Vantage accredited laboratory or get in touch with our agronomists!