Soil is the most important aspect for our life. The economy based sectors include soil in Kenya. Kenya is a land of vast dimensions with different conditions of geology, relief, climate and vegetation. Here, you can get different types of soil cultivation. Therefore, Kenya has a large diversity of soil groups which include different types of soil. All the Soils are markedly different from each other. Various criteria have been applied to classify Kenyan soils like Geology, relief, fertility, chemical composition and physical composition and so on. Soil formation is so good in a particular climate that each climate type has its own soil.

Awareness about types of soil can make your farming easy and productive. Every farmer should be aware of the soil’s types for the best extension of crops. There are many types of soil in Kenya, but some farmers are are unaware about it. They know about the soils, but unfortunately, they do not know which soil is suitable for their agriculture and crops. So, this is our responsibility as Farmers Trend to provide you with accurate knowledge regarding farming. So, be with us to the end in this article and get all essential information about types of soil and their uses for different crops.

What Is the Role of Different Types of Soil In Agriculture?


Soil is a very important material or we can say that it is the foundation of agriculture. It is the loose surface that covers most agricultural land. This material is a mixture of inorganic particles and organic matter. Soil provides structural support to plants used in farming. The soil is the mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life.

Soils have different chemical and physical properties. Each soil type has specific strengths and weaknesses for agricultural production. To differentiate soils is of great help from their physical properties. Physical properties mean what we can see and touch like texture, colour, depth, structure, porosity (the space between the particles) and stone content.

Good soil structure contributes to plant health and soil by allowing water and air movement in and through the soil. Soils store water for plant growth and support machine and animal traffic. On the other hand, some soil has naturally better structure than others, and some soil’s physical characteristics can be changed with better management. Therefore, if you want to understand the soil condition, you have to monitor the physical characteristics of the soil. Check out below, what are the types of soil in Kenya. You can find out types of soil and their uses here.

Soil Importance In Agriculture

Agriculture is a very important sector for a country’s economy and our society. Similarly, farmers produced foods and fibre which we used every day. So, for the betterment of agriculture, many factors are available, and soil is one of them. Soil is an essential part of successful farming and the original source of nutrients used in crop growing. The nutrients transfer from the soil into plants which make food healthier.

Healthy soil produces the most nutritious and most abundant food supply. As the healthiest soils produce most food, they have also been at the centre of the best communities in history. The ancient Egyptians had fresh nutrients brought to their fields by the floods of the Nile every year. It allows farmers to use the same soil for a very long time. Some other ancient civilizations had soils that were nutrient deficient or did not contain much water.

Soil Management In Agriculture 

For productive farming, soil plays a very important role. So it becomes very important that the quality of the soil remains for a long time. For this, the management of soil is an essential step for farmers. Farmers have to take good care of the soil and ensure the surrounding environment. Soil management include:-

  • monitoring of nutrient levels in the soil,
  • using precision agriculture methods to apply water and nutrients only where both are needed,
  • using precision agriculture to grow more crops on the good soil and allow more rest for the poor soil,
  • rotating crops improve diversity,
  • when the soil is too wet, do not drive in fields,
  • not disturbing the soil too much (disturbance makes erosion easier and increases the rate at which microorganisms lose their food supply),
  • keeping the surface covered to reduce erosion, and
  • monitoring watering so that salts do not accumulate.

Soil Structure 


In the above section, we used the word soil structure. Do you know what soil structure is and how it is important?

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Soil structure organizes soil particles (sand, silt, clay and organic matter) into granules, fragments or blocks. It is the shape that soil takes on the basis of its chemical, physical and biological properties. Therefore, soil structure is a very important factor for productive growth. In addition, the soil requires an open structure through the soil profile to perform effectively as a growing medium. Without structure, the soil would suffer from anabolism, waterlogging and nutrient lock-up and eventually, the plants would die!

How To Check Soil Structure? 

Soil structure testing is a fairly easy process as in this process, and you can check the soil structure with a visual inspection. First, dig a hole approximately 30-40 cm deep and ensure no spade mark along one side. Next, examine the unmarked side of the hole and insert a knife or pen at approximately 1 cm intervals to identify narrower areas with more resistance.

Types Of Soil Structure 

Following are the types of soil structure in India:-

1. Platy Soil Structure 

In the platy structure, the units are flat and plate-like. They are generally oriented horizontally. In addition, a special form, the lenticular platy structure, is recogniz for plates that are thickest in the middle and thinner towards the edges. Platy structures are commonly found in subsurface soils that have been subject to leaching or compaction by animals or machinery. Platy structure is most perceptible in the surface layers of soils and available in the sub-soil. Most underlying highlights are typically a result of soil shaping powers, the platy type is frequently acquired from the parent material, particularly those set somewhere around water.

2. Prismatic Soil Structure

In prismatic structure, the individual units are surrounded by flat to rounded vertical faces. The structures are characteristics of the B horizons or subsoils. The singular units are limited by level to adjusted vertical appearances in this soil structure. Units are longer upward, and the countenances are regularly projects or shapes of abutting units. The highest points of the soil are relatively unclear and ordinarily level. Prismatic structure is standard for the soils. The upward breaks come about because of freezing and defrosting, wetting and drying, and the descending development of water and roots. It is the best soil type for agriculture.

3. Blocky Soil Structure 

In a blocky structure, the units are blocklike or polyhedral. The soil particles of the structure cling together in nearly square or angular blocks. These blocks have more or less sharp edges. They are usually found in the B-horizon, where the soil has accumulated. In this structure, the primary units block like. They are limited by level adjusted surfaces that are projects of the essence of encompassing peds. Typically, blocky primary units are almost equidimensional yet graded to crystals and plates.

4. Granular Soil Structure 

Granular soil structures are individual particles of silt, sand and clay grouped together in small, nearly spherical grains. Water circulates easily through such soils. These are commonly found in the A-horizon of the soil. Granular soil is rock, sand, or residue with practically no soil substance. Granular soil has no strong strength. As a result, the soil can’t be formed when wet and disintegrates effectively when dry.

Soil Formation

Soil formation is a long process, and the weathering starts eventually in small pieces of rocks. Formation of soil is derived from rocks (parent material), typically formed when rocks are exposed to the atmosphere during a physical and chemical decomposition process. Properties of Soil are determined by the parent material (usually rocks) and the stage of soil formation. So, based on their composition, soils are divided into 2 broad categories.

( A) Residual Soils
( B ) Transported Soils

Factors that help to determine soil formation:-

  • Topography
  • Climate
  • Parent Materials
  • Organisms
  • Time

Soil Profile And Horizon:-


Soils composed of layers known as “Horizons”. Those composed of horizons form a soil profile. Soil profile appears the complete history and ingredients of soil formation. A soil profile usually made up of 6 horizons.

  • O (organic matter)
  • A (Top Soil)
  • E (Eluviated layer)
  • B (Subsoil)
  • C (Parent Material)
  • R (Bedrock)

Soil Minerals:

( a) Primary Minerals  – Calcium, Sodium, Aluminum, Magnesium, and Iron.
( b) Secondary Minerals – Clay and Mineral Oxides.

“To be a successful farmer one must first know the nature of the soil. – Xenophon, Ancient Greek philosopher and historian, student of Socrates, Circa 430 – 354 BC.” 

Different Types of Soil  

Do you want to know how many types of soil in Kenya? In the Kenya, many types of soil are available which have different characteristics and qualities. Each one ideal for a specific set of crops. There many crops grown in different type of soil in Kenya. In the below section, we are going to show some major types of soil in Kenya. Do you want to know what type of soil is best for farming? Here you can get soil types and characteristics, so have a look down below the types of Kenya soil.

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1. Alluvial Soil


The first soil on the list is Alluvial Soil. The soil is the most popular type, which is widely available in Kenya. Alluvial Soils are the soil stored by surface water. Thus, they found regularly along floodplains, deltas and rivers. Further, it eliminates supplements and different residues from the streaming water accordingly and develops the water quality for downstream regions.

  • Characteristics – Alluvial soil is a mixture of sandy loam soil and clay soil. It is quick drainage in nature. This type of soil is rich in organic matter and phosphoric acid. Also, it is weak in potash and nitrogen.
  • Best Soil For Growing Crops – It is perfect for cotton, wheat, sorghum, maize, barley, jute, tobacco, green and black gram, chickpea, pigeon pea, soybean, sesame, groundnut, linseed and any oilseed, fruit, and vegetable.

2. Black Soil 


The next soil on the list is Black Soil. It is also known as Cotton or Regur Soil. Black soils are mineral soils which have a dark surface, enhanced with natural carbon that is 25 cm deep. Two classifications of Black soils (first and second classes) are there. Check essential information about black soil in the section below.

Characteristics – Black soil is created when lava rocks weather away. It is a nutrient with magnesium, iron, aluminum, and lime. This type of soil is poor in nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic matter. Usually, this type of soil gets its black colour from humus or various salts during soil formation. This type of soil gets sticky when thoroughly wet and develops cracks in the dry season. It moist excellently and contains a significant quantity of clay, but it becomes sandy in the country’s hills.

Best Soil For Growing Crops – In this soil, the cotton crop widely grown, and that’s why it known as black cotton soil. Along with this, heat, cereals, rice, sugarcane, linseed, sunflower, groundnut, tobacco, millets, citrus fruits, oilseed crops of all kinds, and vegetables grown in this soil.

3. Red & Yellow Soil 


The other one on the list of soil types is Red and Yellow Soil. This soil type considered the best soil for agriculture. Red soil is a sort of soil created in a warm, moist, temperate environment with a slight natural layer. The parent material is stone, and the shading is red because of iron oxide, which happens as haematite. When it occurs in a hydrated structure, it becomes limonite yellow in the shade. Check out more information about red yellow soil.

  • Characteristics – This soil type has iron oxide; that’s why it is red. It is formed while metamorphic rocks weather away. Red & yellow soil is loaded with potash and low in nitrogen, magnesium, lime, phosphorus, and organic matter. This soil is sandy in texture.
  • Best Soil For Growing Crops – Groundnut, potato, maize/corn, rice, ragi, wheat, millets, pulses, sugarcane, oilseeds, and fruits like citrus, orange, mango, vegetables and so on are the best crops for this soil.

4. Laterite Soil


And the next Laterite Soil which is superb soil in all types of soil in India. The following soil on the list is Laterite Soil. Laterite soil layer loaded in iron oxide and gotten from a wide assortment of rocks enduring under unequivocally oxidizing and filtering conditions. It structures in tropical and subtropical locales where the environment is moist. Lookout complete information about Laterite Soil in the below section.

Characteristics – It is acidic soil and rich in iron. This kind of soil is used to make bricks because of its high iron content. It is low in organic matter, calcium, nitrogen, and phosphate.

Best Soil For Growing Crops – Cotton, wheat, rice, pulses, rubber, tea, coffee, coconut, and cashews are major crops grown in laterite soil.

5. Arid Soil


The next one on the list of major soil types in Kenya is Arid Soil. This soil is suitable for agriculture due to its good qualities. Arid and semi-arid soils are mainly found in Africa, the Middle East, North and South America and Australia. And it is the best among types of soil for agriculture. Clay soil crops are Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Bean, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Potato, Kale, Daikon radish and Pea. Get further information about this soil in the below section.

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Characteristics – It is sandy soil that comes with low clay content. Arid soil is low in organic matter and humidity due to the heavy evaporation in arid regions. Due to high salt content, dry soil is saline in nature and nitrogen content is low. However, It is abundant in plant oils. The colour of dry soil varies from red to brown.

Best Soil For Growing Crops – Saline resistant and drought-tolerant crops are suitable. Barley, maize, wheat, millets, cotton and pulses are the growing crops in this soil.

6. Mountain & Forest Soil 


The other best soil on the list of types of soil and crops is Mountain & Forest Soil. The soil found in the mountains has a place with practically all the soils known in the world. The soil’s surface relies upon the climatic circumstances in the locale. This is one of the best soil types for agriculture. Find more information about Mountain & Forest Soil.

Characteristics – This type of soil is high in organic matter and poor in nutrients like potash, phosphorus and lime. Crops grown in these soils require the right fertilizers. Along with this, it is acidic soil.

Best Soil For Growing Crops – Wheat, barley, maize, tea, coffee, spices, tropical and temperate fruits are the forest soil crops.

7. Desert Soil 


The last soil on the list is Desert Soil. Desert soils structure in regions where the interest for water by the climate and plants is more prominent than precipitation. Deserts cover 20% to 33% of the Earth’s territory surface and can found in the jungles, at the shafts, and in the middle. Check out information about this type of soil in the below section.

Characteristic – This type of soil is sandy and dry with some quantities of nitrogen. Desert soil is ideal for good irrigation for agriculture. Generally, only drought-resistant crops like millet and barley can grow in this soil.

Best Soil For Growing Crops – Only drought-tolerant crops are suitable. Barley and millet are two examples.

These are different types of soil in Kenya. In which many crops highly grown. These soil types classification perfect in quality, making them ideal for agriculture.

What Is The 4 Types Of Soil 

“If you build up the soil with organic material, the plants will do just fine. – John Harrison

Soil Fertility 

Soil fertility is the ability of soil to sustain plant growth by providing essential plant nutrients and favourable chemical, physical and biological characteristics as a habitat for plant growth. Plant nutrients consist of macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, sulfur, calcium and magnesium.

Types of Soil Fertility 

There are two types of soil fertility in India, mentioned in the below section.

  • Inherent or Natural Fertility – Soil as nature has few nutrients, known as inherent fertility.
  • Acquired Fertility – Fertility developed through manures and fertilizers, tillage, irrigation etc., known as acquired fertility.

These are all about types of soil and crops, hope you get detail information. So, we hope to get the answer of how many types of soil are there in Kenya.

Frequently Asked Questions About Different Types Of Soil in Kenya

Que. Which Soil Suitable For Agriculture?


Que. How Many Types of Soil Are There? 


Que. Which Soil is Suitable for Coconut and Melon?


Que. Which Soil Known as Cotton Soil?

Ans. Black soil known as cotton soil in Kenya.

Que. Which soil is most suitable for agriculture?

Ans. Loamy-textured soil is most suitable for agriculture.


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