## Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Lancaster University's online course, Soils: Introducing the World Beneath Our Feet. Join the course to learn more.
1.12

## Lancaster University

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Place approximately a teaspoon of soil in your hand. Break it up and remove any stones. Add a small amounts of water to make it moist. The soil should feel like putty, not wet and sloppy, but not too dry to hold together. Squeeze the soil into a ball. Does it stay in a ball? If it doesn’t, then you have sand. Rub the ball with your thumbnail and note whether it shines. Flatten the ball to form a ribbon about two millimetres thick. If the soil does not form a ribbon, you have a loamy sand.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds How long before the ribbon breaks? Note this down. Get a small amount of soil really wet and rub it between your fingers. Does it feel gritty or smooth? If your ribbon is less than 5 centimetres long and you didn’t notice any shine, then there are three options. If it’s gritty, you have a sandy loam. If it’s smooth, you have silty loam. And if it’s a bit of both, then you have a loam. If your ribbon extends to between 5 and 8 centimetres long and has a slight shine and it’s gritty, then it’s a sandy clay loam. If it’s smooth, it’s a silty clay loam. And if it’s a bit of both, it’s a clay loam.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds If your ribbon reaches more than 8 centimetres and shines when rubbed, then it’s a type of clay. If it feels gritty, it’s a sandy clay. If it feels smooth, it’s a silty clay. And if it’s a bit of both, then it’s a clay.