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Soil texture

Soil texture is more an indicator of other soil attributes that influence tree growth than a growth limiting factor itself. For example, clayey soils often drain poorly, especially if the terrain in flat and the soil was disturbed. When planting in a clayey soil, pay particular attention to evaluating soil drainage.

Near the surface, where the soil has more aeration, roots tend to grow straight. Roots twist, following the cracks in clayey soil.

Sandy soils drain faster than clayey soils. If irrigation cannot be provided in a sandy soil during hot dry weather after trees are established, drought resistant trees should be chosen for the site. This is especially important if roots will be confined to a small area such as a parking lot island.

Sandy soils also leach faster than clayey soils carrying nitrogen, potassium and other essential elements below the root zone. At first this might appear to have little
impact on species selection, but will affect fertilization management in the established landscape.

If the designer or other person specifying trees has reason to believe that the landscape management budget is not sufficient enough to maintain an adequate fertilization program, consider choosing species that are native to the sandy soil type at the planting site. These trees may be more adapted to soils with lower nutrient content.