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Does healthy soil look brown?

Certainly, industrialization has taken a pace in recent decades. In the context of development, the results are very positive. However, on the flip side, it has depleted our soil. The industrialists dump the harmful chemicals and put the chemical-rich water coming out of the industries into the water channels, eventually it affects the earth’s crust. It is challenging for soil to breathe in such heavy metals, regardless, it has never grumbled about it and blooms whatever seed we sow.

Sometimes, we sow something, but it does not germinate. Mostly in such prospects we compliant the seed or gardener for not doing it correctly.

The reason might be the soil as well. We never know how healthy is the soil in which we are putting the seeds. In today’s blog, we will discuss how to check soil health from its colour.

Some major factors on which the variation in colour of soil depends are:

  • Mineral content.
  • Degree of weathering.
  • Aeration.
  • Saturation.
  • Presence of organic matter and humus.
Dark Brown to Black Soils
If the colour of your soil is dark brown to black, then you are lucky as this colour range depicts good soil health. This colour is due to the presence of a massive amount of humus and organic matter in the soil. The dark colour of soil is directly proportional to organic matter, the darker the colour of soil, the more would be the decomposed organic matter. It has a high amount of sodium. Sodium significantly disperses organic matter and humus evenly throughout the soil.


It was the favourable side of dark coloured soil, however, on the flip side, it could also signify saturation and high levels of anaerobic bacteria. Good things is you can easily distinguish between healthy and unhealthy dark soils. Unhealthy black soils look and smell disgusting as they contain a considerable number of anaerobic bacteria. 

Red coloured soils:

Red colour indicate lofty levels of hematite, an iron oxide. Bright red soils have good drainage capaicty. Brighter the colour better the drainage. 

Pale red soil signify leached out nutrients in the earth due to a shortage of organic matter.

Orange coloured soils:

Orange soils symbolises the precipitated iron, means soil is water logged. Sometimes if you see your soil has been changing the colour to orange, it implies the surplus amount to iron present in the water. 

Yellow and Tan Soils:

Yellow colour of soil is due to the goethite, another iron oxide mineral. It is same as that of the red soil. It has excellent drainage capacity. Pale yellow soils denotes the leached out nutrients would only benefit by additionof organic matter to retain nutrients. 

Note: When we add the organic matter to the yellow soils, the colour of soil pivots to pale yellow.


Bluish grey or Greenish grey soils:

It is a subject of concern if your garden soil looks bluish or greenish-grey or simply grey as it tells a poor drainage and frequent saturation of soil. Greyish soils suggest the presence of a high quantity of moisture and iron. Grey soil accompanied with a bluish or greenish cast are rich in sulphur. It happens because it might be waterlogged at the time and dry at other times.

White Soils

Another soil of concern. If your soil is whitish, it has abundant salts, basically calcium carbonate. It also contains the high percentage of sand. 

White layer assembles between the topsoil and the subsoil. The principal reason for this is leaching of nutrients. For rectifying this soil, you need to put plenty of organic matter. 


Note: Brown and black soils are considered to be healthy ones. However, a bright red, yellow or tan soils could also work. You should not work in the soils which are grey or white in colour, the productivity might not be good. Or otherwise, you can improve the soil health first by adding organic matter in it.