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Touch test

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This test involves rubbing some soil between your fingers and noting its characteristics
Photo: Pat Dumas (JerseyRed)

This test involves rubbing a bit of dry or moist soil between your fingers and noting its characteristics.

Soil texture Dry soil Moist soil
Sandy soil
  • Grains of sand are visible to the naked eye.
  • The soil runs between your fingers like sugar.
  • The soil is very gritty and rough.
  • The soil doesn’t clump together easily, and breaks apart when prodded with a finger.
  • The soil isn’t sticky between your fingers; it is rough and gritty.
Silty soil
  • The soil looks powdery or floury.
  • The soil feels soft.
  • The soil is very soft and slippery, like soap.
  • It can be rolled into a coil, which breaks apart if you try to bend it.
  • The soil isn’t very sticky.
Clay soil
  • The soil contains very hard lumps that are difficult to break apart.
  • The soil is very sticky; it is smooth and shiny.
  • The soil is easy to mould; it can be rolled between the fingers into a long, flexible coil.
Loam
  • The soil is a bit gritty.
  • The clumps will not break if handled carefully.
  • The soil is slightly sticky and gritty.
  • If rolled between the fingers, the soil will form a coil that cracks slightly.

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