Difference between clayey soil and sandy soil

Difference Between Clayey Soil and Sandy Soil

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Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. Earth’s body of soil, called the pedosphere, has four important functions:

  • as a medium for plant growth
  • as a means of water storage, supply and purification
  • as a modifier of Earth’s atmosphere
  • as a habitat for organisms

We can know more about the difference between clayey soil and sandy soil.

The process of formation of soil can happen either one of the three ways,
1) Biological weathering – In this, the living organism breaks down and weakens the rock, and then chemical or mechanical weathering is initiated.
2) Mechanical weathering – It is observed near the earth’s surface and is influenced by physical forces like temperature, wind, etc.
3) Chemical weathering – The rock breaks down due to chemical reactions.

The function of soil is as follows,
– It provides habitat for organisms like earthworms, etc.
– It is a medium through which a plant grows.
– It is a very important component of the biosphere.

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil contains much sand having large particles with large spaces. The sandy soil contains very little humus. Sandy soil is found in desert areas. It has large particles with large spaces between them. The disadvantage of sandy soil is that it cannot hold much water in it because the water gets drained out quickly through large spaces between its particles. Soil provides good relation to the plant roots and it can be ploughed very easily.

Difference Between Clayey Soil and Sandy Soil

Sandy soil is less fertile. The fertility of sandy soil can be increased by adding humus to it and in the form of manure, humus provides the water holding capacity of sandy soil and also supplies necessary plant nutrients. Sandy soil is not sticky due to this sandy soil cannot be used to make pots bricks toys and statues

Clayey Soil

Clayey soil contains mainly Land having very small particles with very small spaces. Clayey soil contains very little humus. Clayey soil has a very good water holding capacity due to its very small and tightly packed particles of clay. Clayey soil is heavy because it can hold more water than sandy soil. Water drains out very slowly through clay soil which can lead to waterlogging of soil and damage the crop plants due to the smallest of its parts clay soil is not able to trap enough for the roots of the plant’s clay soil is compact and sticky due to which the plowing of clay soil is quite difficult.

Difference Between Clayey Soil and Sandy Soil

Clayey soil is rich in minerals which is good for the growth of plants. Clayey soil is more fertile than sandy soil the fertility of clayey soil can be improved by adding some sand and humus to it and will improve the drainage of clayey soil whereas humans will provide it the necessary plant nutrients. Clayey soil is very sticky due to this clay soil is used to make pots bricks toys and statues.

Difference between clayey soil and sandy soil

Clayey Soil Sandy Soil
High water retention capacity Low water retention capacity
Lowest percolation rate of water Highest percolation of water
Contains finer particles Contains larger particles
Particles are tightly packed Particles are loosely packed


Humus refers to organic matter that has been decomposed by soil microflora and fauna to the point where it is resistant to further breakdown. Humus usually constitutes only five percent of the soil or less by volume, but it is an essential source of nutrients and adds important textural qualities crucial to soil health and plant growth. Humus also feeds arthropods, termites, and earthworms which further improve the soil. 

The end product, humus, is suspended in the colloidal form in the soil solution and forms a weak acid that can attack silicate minerals by chelating their iron and aluminum atoms.Humus has a high cation and anion exchange capacity that on a dry weight basis is many times greater than that of clay colloids. It also acts as a buffer, like clay, against changes in pH and soil moisture.

Do check Different layers of the earth

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