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Appearance of Sandy Loam and Fine Sandy Loam Soils

Appearance of sandy loam and fine sandy loam soils at various soil moisture conditions

Available Water Capacity 1.3-1.7 inches/foot:

Percent Available: Currently available soil moisture as a percent of available water capacity.

Inches/foot Depleted: Inches of water currently needed to refill a foot of soil to field capacity.

0-25 percent available 1.7-1.0 in/ft. depleted:  Dry, forms a very weak ball, aggregated soil grains break away easily from ball. (Not pictured)

25-50 percent available 1.3-0.7 in/ft. depleted (Figure 1):  Slightly moist, forms a weak ball with defined finger marks, darkened color, no water staining on fingers, grains break away.
Figure 1 - 25 to 50% Available Moisture

 

 

 

 

Figure 1

50-75 percent available 0.9-0.3 in./ft. depleted (Figure 2): Moist, forms a ball with defined finger marks, very light soil/water staining on fingers, darkened color, will not slick.
 

Figure 2 - 50 to 75% Available Moisture

 


 

 

 

 

Figure 2

75-100 percent available 0.4-0.0 in./ft. depleted (Figure 3): Wet, forms a ball with wet outline left on hand, light to medium staining on fingers, makes a weak ribbon between the thumb and forefinger.

Figure 3 - 75 to 100% Available Moisture

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3

100 percent available  0.0 in./ft. depleted (field capacity)
Wet, forms a soft ball, free water appears briefly on soil surface after squeezing or shaking, medium to heavy soil/water coating on fingers. (Not pictured)