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The Pros & Cons of Silt Soils

16-Nov-2013 | Contributed by: Guest Author

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Silty soil

Like clay, silt soils hold water too well, causing problems with plant roots and growth. Silt soil is smooth, and when wet it feels slippery. It is often found in estuaries.

Pros of silt soil

  • Very fertile.

  • Silt is an ideal addition to loam soils because of its fertility.

Cons of silt soil

  • Poor draining.

  • Because of the amount of water silt soils hold, they lack good aeration.

  • Even though it is fertile, it does not hold nutrients well.

  • Silty soil is cold and does not retail heat.

  • Easily compacted.

What to grow in silt soil

Have a look at your local river bed to see what grows there for some ideas of what to plant in silty soil.
  • Weeping willows
  • River birch
  • Swamp milkweed
  • Flax
  • Dogwood
  • Cypress
  • If your silty soil has adequate drainage, most vegetable and fruit crops will thrive.

Tips for working with silt soil


  • Add organic matter, or decayed sawdust.

  • Cover plants with 5-8cm of mulch to help avoid erosion.

  • Turn over the top level regularly to prevent compaction.

  • Avoid overwatering.

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