Everything you need to know about cricket loam is a blog with questions answered like, what is a cricket loam. What part does sand play in loam and what do you look for in sourcing loam?
What is Cricket Loam
Cricket loam is a blend of three minerals, clay, silt and sand, yes sand which often surprising some. Years ago l remember being told never put lawn sand on a cricket square, now we are aware a loam has a good percentage on sand within.
For example, Ongar loam has around a 31/38/31% mix of sand, silt and clay.
The balance of the three minerals all play their part in the binding process of loam and are all key in the inter-packing of particles that create a hard surface, with the aim of the ball to not deform the surface on impact.
It’s all in The Mix
Sand would also be key in allowing some pore space for a plant to survive in.
Too much sand, would equal a weak surface and a lack of pace and consistent bounce, due to lack of surface strength.
Also too much silt would equal a weak surface that would degrade to fast.
Too much clay, would an environment to harsh and hard for the plant to live and recover from play. The ecb recommend a range from 25%-35% in clay in total in a loam mix.
A cricket loam from a reputable company will also comply with ecb recommendations in terms of the organic matter percentage contained within the loam. No more than a range from 2- 8% in organic matter, should be present within a bag of loam.
Although organic matter is a good thing when it reaches too high a level it will deaden the bounce of the ball, so its something that needs considering. Your native soil may have the correct organic matter percentage but it’s likely to be much higher, as organic matter percentages within the soil only build with time.
Cricket loam are also tested in terms of shrinkage rates and soil strength testing (The Adam and Stewart binding test) so loam is quite a complex mix, with lots of differing factors and with this in mind your getting a well though out bag of loam.
What to look for from a good bag of loam
-Supply is it sustainable going forward, as it’s a natural resource?
-Consistency, is every bag equal in moisture, size of particles?
-This is only relevant if changing loams, but is it compatible with the shrinkage rate of my current loam or native soil?
Next time you look at the bag of loam in your shed, hopefully you will see it as a bit more than a bag of soil.
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