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MA Envirothon Soils Glenn Stanisewski, Soil Resource Specialist, USDA-NRCS West Wareham, MA.

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Presentation on theme: "MA Envirothon Soils Glenn Stanisewski, Soil Resource Specialist, USDA-NRCS West Wareham, MA."— Presentation transcript:

1 MA Envirothon Soils Glenn Stanisewski, Soil Resource Specialist, USDA-NRCS West Wareham, MA

2 Soils and Geography Soils found in MA and HI are as different as the states of MA and HI

3 Crops CranberriesMacadamia Nuts

4 Pop Culture Cheers Hawaii 5-0

5 Coffee Dunkin Donuts Kona Coffee

6 MA & HI Soils are also different MA – Paxton (Inceptisol) HI - Oxisol

7 Why Are They Different? Soils are a product of 5 Soil Forming Factors. Differences in these 5 factors results in different soils occurring in different places. Soils can differ from State to State, from Town to Town, or even from the Top of the Hill to the Bottom of the Hill.

8 5 Soil Forming Factors Soil = fx (cl, org, pm, topog., time) –Soils are the result of climate, organisms, geologic parent material, relief, and time. –Differences in any one or more of these factors results in different soils at different locations.

9 Topography - Soils & Landforms = A Pattern Topography - Soils & Landforms = A Pattern A B C A B C B A

10 Soil Parent Material New England Soil Parent Materials –Glacial till (ice deposited materials) Lodgement (dense till, drumlin landform) Ablation (loose till, rolling hills) –Glacial Outwash (Meltwater sorted sands & gravels) –Glacial Lake Bed (stratified silts & clays) –Eolian (Wind blown silts & fine sands) –Alluvium (Floodplain deposits) –Organic (Swamps, Salt Marshes)

11 Glaciers – Ice deposited materials

12 Dense Till = Drumlin Landform

13 Paxton Soil Type Dense Till Soil Type – MA State Soil. Dense till at 24 inches in profile. Soil consists of 3 basic layers: Topsoil, Subsoil, Substratum. Divided into A, B, and C horizons.

14 Ablation (Loose) Till

15 Moraines – Sandy Loose Till Landform

16 Canton Soil Profile Loose till soil type found in MA. Like Paxton soil contains A, B, and C horizons. Found on Rolling hills, & undulating landscapes.


18 Outwash Landform – Kame Terrace

19 Hinckley Soil Profile Consists of stratified layers of sand and gravel. Areas often mined for sand & gravel. Soils have low Available Water for plant growth.

20 Glacial Lake Bed Plains

21 Birdsall Soil Profile MA Glacial lake bed soil. Consists of stratified silts and clays. Iron deposits that indicate seasonal high water table. Very poorly drained soil found in wetland areas.

22 Eolian Landforms (Loess)

23 Haven Soil Profile Soil formed in Loess deposits over Sand & Gravel Well drained Silt loams = High Water Holding Capacity for plants. High AWC = Prime Farmland Soil

24 Floodplains – River Valleys

25 Hadley Soil Profile MA Floodplain alluvial soil. Buried Topsoil layers from flooding. Stratified silts and fine sands. High AWC = Prime Farmland Soil.

26 Wooded Swamps – Organic Soils

27 Freetown – MA Wooded Swamp Soil Consists of Muck = Highly decomposed plant material. Very Poorly Drained Wetland Soil. High amounts of organic C. Low Bulk Density (Very Light).

28 Salt Marsh – Organic Soils

29 Ipswich – MA Tidal Salt Marsh Soil Consists of Peat – Partially decomposed salt grass. Very Poorly drained. Experiences daily tidal flooding. High in salinity. Soils often have a rotten egg smell (high in Sulfur).

30 Soil Formation Horizonation – the A, B, C’s of soils A horizon = Topsoil B horizon = Subsoil C horizon = Substratum or Parent Material

31 Soil Horizons

32 Soil Properties Soil Texture Soil Color Rock Fragments – Gravel, Cobbles, Stones Depth to Bedrock Soil Structure Depth to Water table

33 USDA-NRCS Davis, CA33 Soil Texture The % of sand, silt, & clay in a soil sample There are 12 USDA Soil Texture Classes Influences soil erodibility. Influences Water Infiltration Rates.

34 Example of Soil Texture Chart

35 USDA-NRCS Davis, CA 35 Soil Structure How Soil Particles (sand, silt, clay) bind together to form larger units = PEDS Granular Blocky Single-Grain

36 Soil Color A soil property that is used to indicate other soil chemical & physical properties Some of these are: –Water table depth –Organic matter content –Soil Mineralogy –Carbonate/Gypsum content

37 What Colors Can Tell Us Grey Colors & Orange Colors –Can be indicators of Shallow water tables Black/Dark Brown Colors –Can indicate high organic matter contents Red Colors –Can indicate hematite iron mineralogy White Colors –Can indicate high carbonate/gypsum levels

38 Match the sample to the Chip Match a small, moist sample to the paint chips using the holes on the page. The arrow is pointing to the 10YR 4/4 chip = dark yellowish brown.

39 Soil Interpretations – What the Soil Properties Tell Us Drainage Class – Depth to water table Hydric Soils – Wetland Areas Flooding/Ponding Duration & Frequency Depth to Bedrock – Building limitations

40 Drainage Class Very poorly drained – w.t. at surface Poorly drained – w.t. at 1.0 ft from surface Somewhat poorly drained – 1.0 – 1.5 ft. Moderately well drained – 1.5 ft – 3.0 ft. Well drained – w.t. > 5.0 ft. Somewhat excessively drained – w.t. > 5.0 Excessively drained – w.t. > 5.0 ft.

41 Hydric Soil Poorly & Very Poorly Drained Soils. Found in Wetlands. Grey & Orange colors at 12” indicate seasonal high water table. Support wetland vegetation.

42 Black over gray; stay away. Drainage Classes often follow a Landform pattern.

43 Flooding

44 Ponding

45 Shallow to Bedrock

46 Hands-on Exercises

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