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Appearance of Sandy Clay Loam, Loam, and Silt Loam Soils

Appearance of sandy clay loam, loam, and silt loam soils at various soil moisture conditions.

Available Water Capacity 1.5-2.1 inches/foot:

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

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

0-25 percent available 2.1-1.1 in./ft. depleted:  Dry, soil aggregations break away easily, no staining on fingers, clods crumble with applied pressure. (Not pictured)

25-50 percent available 1.6-0.8 in./ft. depleted (Figure 1):  Slightly moist, forms a weak ball with rough surfaces, no water staining on fingers, few aggregated soil grains break away.
Figure 1 - 25 to 50% Available Moisture





Figure 1

50-75 percent available 1.1-0.4 in./ft. depleted (Figure 2):  Moist, forms a ball, very light staining on fingers, darkened color, pliable, forms a weak ribbon between the thumb and forefinger.

Figure 2 - 50 to 75% Available Moisture





Figure 2

75-100 percent available 0.5-0.0 in/ft. depleted (Figure 3): Wet, forms a ball with well-defined finger marks, light to heavy soil/water coating on fingers, ribbons between 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)