Good Soil Structure

Good soil structure is important for determining how soil particles bond to each other, how porous soils are, and how they respond to compaction.

Soils in the human landscape are often disturbed leading to drainage problems and low levels of organic matter.

Soil is made of different sized particles of sand, silt and clay. This is referred to as soil texture. The way those particles are put together determines the soil structure.

Soil structure is classified according to the size and shape of the peds. Peds are the smallest unit of soil structure that holds together in a clump.  Soils range from very fine such as sand to massive and hard to break apart.

Types of Soil Structure

  • granular
  • blocky
  • prismatic
  • columnar
  • platy
  • single grain

Characteristics of Good Soil Structure

  • high in organic matter
  • stable
  • not compacted
  • well drained
Person holding a chunk of red soil
Example of a soil ped. Photo credit: Soil Science Flickr CC BY 2.0

Dr. Dave Lindbo of NC State University discusses soil structure

Additional Resources:

Examples of Different Types of Soil Structure