The physical properties of the soil are the particles, grouped in size: sand, silt and clay. The percentages of these give the soil its texture and the arrangement of the particles determines the structure.

What to test for Implications
Compaction Root penetration and water infiltration
Bulk Density Seedling emergence and air circulation of the soil
Structural Stability Aggregate stability in water is an indicator of infiltration and erosion

Why Is Good Structure Important?

pH Spectrum

On Farm Testing

Penetration resistance

use a penetronmeter to measure sub-surface compaction – important for drainage and restricting root growth

(VESS) visual evaluation of soil structure

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• Structure quality
• Size and appearance of aggregates
• Visible porosity and roots
• Appearance after breaking up the soil
• Distinguishing features
• Appearance and description of fragments


Slake test

Slake test will indicate the stability of the soil aggregate, resistance to erosion and impact of management in soil health

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(UK version coming soon!!)


Lab Testing

Particle analysis

proportion of sand : silt : clay reported as fractions

Bulk density

is an indicator of compaction and takes the dry weight of soil divided by volume

Particle size analysis

proportion of different size particles

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