Examining soil structure

How to dig a hole and examine soil condition.

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Find guidance on examining soil structure in Think soils from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board


Examining soil structure

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A handbook focussing on the practical techniques needed to effectively assess soil structure. Taking time to look at soil structure - the arrangement of soil particles in the soil - is essential for profitable farming, soil health and the environment. The handbook gives guidance on:

  • preparing a hole for examination
  • preparing a section of soil to be examined
  • looking at pores and fissures
  • looking at structural units
  • looking at shape, size and colour of soil structural units
  • assessing the packing density of soil
  • using plant and root growth as an indicator of soil structure
Published 2 February 2010