Home Made Remedy to Determine Soil Type?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rjeffers, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. rjeffers

    rjeffers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    What methods can I use to determine what type of soil (clay, sand, etc) is in my yard.

    I'm brand new to lawn care and rather embarrassed to say I can't determine by eye-balling the lawn.

    Also, I'm in Maryland. Does homedepots/lowes sell soil test?
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Take about a cupful of soil and put it into a clear glass or plastic jar with a tight fitting lid. Add water (2-3 times amount of soil). Shake vigorously to mix the soil with the water. Let jar set. The sand will settle first, then the clay, then the silt. This may take several days to get all particles settled out. This will tell you how much sand/silt/clay are in your soil.
  3. Grandview

    Grandview LawnSite Gold Member
    from WI
    Posts: 3,251

    The silt will settle before the clay. Also add a little detergent and put it in a blender. That will disperse the clay particles. If the clay particles are not dispersed they stick together and act like sand and silt, settling out early.
  4. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    Hmmmmmmm I just use a shovel. Silly me. Now if you want to determine the PH then a test is needed.
  5. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    see, that's what happens when your fingers type faster than your brain. :D
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Farmers and old timers use the soil in hand method of getting a handfull of soil,squeeze it in a fist.If it stays in a fist shape its clay,breaks up its loam,falls thru fingers its sandy.
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    What if it's a wet clay loam? or a silty clay loam? or a sandy clay loam? or a sandy loam? or a silty loam? or sandy clay? or...... :D

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