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Good Sandy Loam.jpg
Good, sandy loam

Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration (about 40-40-20% concentration respectively).[1] Loam soils generally contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils, have better infiltration and drainage than silty soils, and are easier to till than clay soils. Loams are gritty, moist, and retain water easily.

Loam is considered ideal for gardening and agricultural uses because it retains nutrients well and retains water while still allowing the water to flow freely. Loam also contains essential micro-elements and some organic matter which provides a slow release of nitrogen to the plant.[2] This soil is found in a majority of successful farms in regions around the world known for their fertile land. Loam soil feels mellow and is easy to work over a wide range of moisture conditions.There are many different types of loam soils, each with slightly different characteristics, and with some draining liquids more efficiently than others.

Different proportions of sand, silt, and clay give rise to types of loam soils: sandy loam, silty loam, clay loam, sandy clay loam, silty clay loam, and loam.[1] A soil dominated by one or two of the three particle size groups can behave like loam if it has a strong granular structure, promoted by a high content of organic matter. However, a soil that meets the textural definition of loam can lose its characteristic desirable qualities when it is compacted, depleted of organic matter, or has clay dispersed throughout its fine-earth fraction.


  1. a b Kaufmann, Robert K.; Cutler J. Cleveland (2008). Environmental Science. McGraw-Hill. pp. 318-319. ISBN 978-0-07-298429-5.
  2. (2003-2010). John Innes Composts. GardeningData.co.uk. Retrieved: 2010-08-26.
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