How Much Loam Do I Need – Useful Tips

Loam soil is considered an ideal ground for growing a large variety of plants. Clay soil has poor water drainage and can frequently be challenging to manage, while sandy soils cannot store enough water and nutrients needed to grow. Loam soil is considered a relatively similar mixture of three soils: clay, silt, and sand. It drains well but retains moisture and nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth.

Moreover, loam soil allows air to flow around plant roots and protects against diseases frequently caused by different types of compacted and poorly drained soils. It has good drainage to let air reach plant roots while retaining lots of humidity for plant health. These properties make it ideal for many garden plants. Although it is possible to buy bags of loam, it is good to know how much loam do I need.

Sandy loam cotton field in West Bahia How Much Loam Do I Need
Sandy loam cotton field in West Bahia via Flickr

How Much Loam Do I Need?

To know how much loam you need need to follow these steps.

Step 1

Determine the quantity of loam needed to cover the available space in the garden. Measure the area of ​​the yard using a tape measure. Suppose the room is 15 feet long and 8 feet wide. Multiply by 15 feet by 8 feet to find 120 square feet.

Step 2

Divide the desired depth of loam in inches by 12 inches in every foot. This example assumes the 4-inch depth as the prior section. Then divide 4 inches with 12 inches to get 0.333 feet.

Step 3

In this step, multiply a depth by square footage obtainable in feet. For instance, multiply 0.333 feet with 120 square feet to get 40 cubic feet of loam needed to shroud the available 4-inch deep space.

Step 4

Decide the number of yards for loam needed to cover the area. Divide the required 40 cubic feet of loam by 27 cubic feet in every cubic yard. You will be required to get 1.48 yards of loam to fill the space to the expected depth of 4 inches.


Loam Soil Properties

Loam Soil Properties How Much Loam Do I Need
Soil types by clay, silt and sand composition via Wikimedia
  • Texture

The loam soil has three components of texture that include sand, clay, and silt. These elements mix with water, air, and organic matter to form loam soil. This loam soil comprises 7 to 27% clay, 28 to 50% silt, and 52% or less sand. When there is more sand in the mix, farmers consider loam soil. If it has more clay, it is called a clay loam. Provided the area of ​​each texture that remains at the correct percentage, the ground is termed loam soil.

  • Compaction resistance

Loam soil with more sand can resist compaction. Typically, sandy loam soil provides the required surface in areas subject to compression caused by traffic or other circumstances.

  • Drainage

The proportion of sand in the loam allows good drainage. These soils drain freely, especially when the content of organic matter is low. Loam soils retain water best than sandy soils due to the level of particles. According to World of Soil, a lack of enough organic matter in loam soil can cause the soil to dry out very quickly.

  • Aeration

Loam soil has not only good drainage but also excellent aeration. Adequate aeration for the soil organism survival is beneficial for the absorption of nutrients from plants. Loam soil with large amounts of clay provides less ventilation for vegetation, soil organisms, as well as insects. It is more difficult for gardeners to handle loam soil at the clay end.

  • Nutrients

Gardeners consider that loam soil has little capacity to retain nutrients. Free-draining sandy loam soil contains fewer nutrients than loam soils with more organic matter.

Use of Loam Soil

Fine loam rich field ideal for farming vegetables in the UK How Much Loam Do I Need
Fine loam rich field ideal for farming vegetables in the UK via Wikimedia

1. Raising crops

In loam soil, it provides the soil conditions necessary for plants to produce bountiful crops throughout the growing season. You need to choose a vegetable growing area that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight a day before planting vegetables, alternate loam or sand soils with soil conditioners such as compost, sawdust, manure, coarse sand, or peat.

Add 3-4 inches of natural matter and 1-2 inches of coarse soil with the soil surface. Then mix into the earth with a spade or tiller 8-10 inches in the ground. Avoid nutrient deficiencies that are caused by the breakdown of organic matter by adding nitrogen as needed.

2. Planting trees

Young trees are preferably planted with loam soil, as its soil texture allows the roots to spread fast, stores moisture, and receive nutrients necessary for their growth. Choose the planting location that meets your tree’s daily light needs. Dig the hole 2-3 times the size of the tree root, and then mix conditioner into the extracted soil used to amend sand or clay soil into loam.

Fill in a new soil mix and keep the trees at their actual planting depth. If the amended sandy soils don’t hold the newly planted trees well, a heavier layer of soil should be added.

3. Growing flowers

Different types of flowers grow rapidly and flourish in a loamy soil. Choose garden areas that offer partial shade or full sun, depending on plant conditions. Correct heavy sand or clay soil with conditioners, using a hoe or a garden tiller as needed.

Plant yearly or perennial flowering plants in modified soil and put a 2-inch organic mulch layer around the plants. In the hot spring and summer months, fertilize with a universal water-soluble fertilizer for the most colorful flowers every seven to ten days.

4. Ornamental plants

Drought-tolerant ornamental plants are adapted to periods of low humidity once they’re established. You want an open, loose soil texture that the roots can penetrate quickly, like good drainage and sandy loam soil, so that the roots do not get wet, which contributes to root rot. The extensive root system permits them to collect nutrients and water.


Conclusion

Typically, loam soil is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt that contains valuable properties for plants. It is fine-textured soil that breaks up into hard lumps or lumps as it dries. First, it can retain nutrients and moisture, which makes it best suited for agriculture. It has a high level of pH and calcium because of its inorganic sources. This soil is fertile, easy to use, and well-drained. With the above steps, you will know how much loam you will need.

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