Soil Characteristics

The resistance of soil to erosion is closely related to soil texture. Soils high in clay content are least prone to erosion; sandy soils are more easily detachable but are less prone to erosion because the infiltration capacity is generally high, preventing runoff. Medium-textured soils, especially those high in silt, are most easily eroded. Erodibility has traditionally been considered a property of the soil texture, structure, and the organic matter in its humic fraction. Disruption of root mass and other binding materials by plowing or mixing is generally considered a transient management effect.

Restrictive layers, caused by cation leaching or by compaction from horizontal tillage operations, will cause ponding if on a flat area, or lateral flow in the soil if on a slope. Lateral flow may resurface near the base of a slope and result in increased rilling in the area. If the soil becomes saturated above the restrictive layer, infiltration is nil, and all rainfall can then become surface flow.

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