If you want to make the best possible use of your back garden, it's worth getting to know your soil. While all soils may look alike to the untrained eye, there are actually several different types, and the quality of the soil in your garden can have a big impact on what kind of plants will flourish there.
What types of soil are there?
Broadly speaking, UK garden soils can be sorted into three different categories:
- Sandy soil
- Silty soil
- Clay soil
What's the difference between these three different soil types? Well, the key factor is the size of the soil particles - sandy soil is made up of relatively large particles, giving it a gritty feel, whereas heavy clay soils consist of tiny particles that clump together very easily, often resulting in poor drainage (see How to Deal with a Waterlogged Lawn). Silty soil is somewhere in between.
What type of soil do I have in my garden?
To answer that question, you'll need to carry out a quick soil texture analysis. Don't worry - you don't need a lab and a team of scientists. Just follow these simple steps:
- Take a small handful of soil from your garden and place it in a dish.
- Add a small amount of water and stir until it's been absorbed into the soil.
- Knead the wet soil into a sphere that's roughly the size of a golf ball.
- Now squeeze the ball between your thumb and forefinger. What happens next will tell you what type of soil you have in your garden.
If the ball crumbles right away, you have SANDY soil. Those large particles aren't very good at sticking together.
If the ball is smooth and breaks into chunks, you have SILTY soil (that's the in-betweeny one).
If you've got a firm, squidgy ball that doesn't fall apart easily, that means you have CLAY soil. That gluey quality can make it difficult for water to drain away after a shower.
Regardless of whether your garden soil is closer to sand or to clay, your lawn will probably benefit from some top dressing. This is one of the many services we provide here at Lawn & Weed Expert - top dressing helps to improve the overall quality of your soil and optimise the growing conditions for your grass.
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