What is Soil Structure?

Soil structure is influenced by several things. Special particles like calcium and magnesium help bind soil particles together. Natural actions like freezing, thawing, wetting, drying, and root growth also help form soil clumps. When plants and animals break down, they create materials that help stick soil particles together.

Types of Soil Structure

There are different types of soil structure:

  • Granular Structure: Looks like small grains and is common in soil with lots of organic matter. It helps water soak in and allows roots to grow easily.
  • Columnar Structure: Forms tall, column-like clumps and is found in soils with too much sodium. This makes it hard for water and air to move through the soil.
  • Platey Structure: Forms flat, plate-like layers and is often found in compacted soils. It has the least amount of space for air and water.

Other types include blocky, prismatic, and single-grained structures, each affecting how water flows and roots grow.

types of soil

Soil Structure Close-Up

Only about 50% of soil consists of solid material. The rest is made up of pore space, where crucial activities occur. Water is stored in these spaces, organisms live here, and organic matter and nutrients accumulate.

The diagram, magnified about 20 times, illustrates how solids and pores might be arranged in soil to achieve 50% porosity.

Small pores within the aggregates provide storage and refuge for water and organisms. Larger pores and fissures between the aggregates serve as pathways for liquids, gases, roots, and organisms.

For more details, visit the Victorian Resources Online.

Soil Structure Close-Up

Why is Soil Structure Important?

Good soil structure helps water soak into the ground, reduces erosion, and provides good pathways for roots to grow. It also ensures that there is enough air in the soil for roots and soil organisms to thrive.

What Can Harm Soil Structure?

Several things can damage soil structure:

  • Compaction: Heavy machinery or animals can compress the soil, reducing the spaces between particles.
  • Frequent Tilling: Breaking up the soil too often can destroy soil clumps.
  • Removing Plants: Reduces the input of organic matter and roots that help stabilize the soil.
  • Excess Sodium: High levels of sodium from irrigation or road salt can cause soil particles to repel each other, dispersing clumps and clogging pores.

Improving Soil Structure with Mandako Equipment

Mandako offers tools designed to improve soil structure. For example, the Mandako Storm helps mix crop residues into the soil, adding organic matter and improving structure. It also reduces soil compaction and increases air spaces, making it easier for plants to grow.

How to Keep Soil Healthy

Using Mandako equipment, farmers can adopt several practices to protect and enhance soil structure:

  • Conservation Tillage: Reduces soil disturbance and preserves structure.
  • Cover Cropping: Adds organic matter to the soil, improving stability and fertility.
  • Crop Rotation: Varies root structures and organic matter inputs, maintaining soil health.

These practices help improve water management, support healthier root systems, reduce erosion, and increase microbial activity, all of which are essential for growing healthy crops.


Good soil structure is important for holding water, allowing roots to grow, and keeping the soil healthy. By using Mandako equipment and adopting sustainable farming practices, farmers can improve soil structure and grow better crops. Taking care of the soil is key to keeping farms productive and healthy for a long time.

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