USDA's Web Soil Survey

brandon7 TN_zone(7)December 30, 2013

Ever wondered what kind of soil you have? Think the soil in one area is different than the soil in another area? Wondering about drainage where you plan on planting that tree? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to get a pretty good idea just by looking on a map zoomed into your property? Well you can do that!

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA's Web Soil Survey

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wisconsitom

Great mention, Brandon! Just getting into using this thing myself recently. Quite helpful in doing wetland delineation work.

;^) +oM

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 4:37PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Many county GIS sites will have the soils data with more current aerial photography. Nice thing about the posted site is that you can get soil type characteristics directly from site for those soils of interest.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:03AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

This is very interesting info if you want to know more about your soil structure. Surely it may vary with removal or adding of soil to your lot when your house was built.

The gov sites always have horrible, non-intuitive nav.

1) Click the Green Circle START WSS (probably obvious)
2) On the left nav under QUICK NAVIGATION, Select Soil Survey Area
3) Select your State and County
4) Check the radio button to ensure you are selecting your county
5) Check the Soil Survey Area Layer in map box
6) Hit the SET AOI
7) Under Quick Navigation, now type in your address and hit enter
8) Now click the Soil Map tab up top.
9) It should now show codes for your soil type along with a legend on the left with links to your soil type.

Share what you found! Here is mine. Based on what is shown it is very accurate based upon planting. The only areas it really varies is right around the house and driveway, which makes sense as that was the soil most likely disrupted. My lot slopes roughly 45% from the front to the back lot line. As you can imagine I have an exposed basement.

HmC2��"Hochheim loam, 6 to 12 percent slopes, eroded

Map Unit Setting

Elevation: 790 to 1,310 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 32 to 35 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 37 to 55 degrees F
Frost-free period: 145 to 165 days
Map Unit Composition

Hochheim and similar soils: 100 percent
Description of Hochheim

Setting

Landform: Till plains
Landform position (two-dimensional): Backslope
Landform position (three-dimensional): Side slope
Down-slope shape: Convex
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Fine-loamy till over coarse-loamy till
Properties and qualities

Slope: 6 to 12 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.57 to 1.98 in/hr)
Depth to water table: About 60 to 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 20 percent
Available water capacity: Moderate (about 8.1 inches)
Interpretive groups

Farmland classification: Farmland of statewide importance
Land capability (nonirrigated): 3e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B
Typical profile

0 to 7 inches: Loam
7 to 18 inches: Clay loam
18 to 60 inches: Loam

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:25AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

whaas,
Not only disturbed, but flat out removed (i.e. topsoil) or buried in most relatively new subdivisions. My own location is classified as somewhat poorly draining, however due to changes and disturbance, I ended up with reasonable good drainage.... to a point. There is a buried compacted layer (undoubtedly from so much heavy equipment) that is almost impervious that was the original soil surface. Not to mention the trash that was buried so that they would not have to clean it up.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:38AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Seems pretty accurate for my floodplain lot:

LuA�"Lobdell loam, 0 to 3 percent slopes, frequently flooded

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:59AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Here's mine:

GgB "Glenelg loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting
Elevation: 250 to 1,050 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 39 to 55 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 48 to 61 degrees F
Frost-free period: 110 to 255 days
Map Unit Composition
Glenelg and similar soils: 85 percent
Minor components: 15 percent
Description of Glenelg
Setting
Landform: Hillslopes, flats
Landform position (two-dimensional): Backslope, summit
Landform position (three-dimensional): Interfluve, side slope
Down-slope shape: Convex
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Loamy residuum weathered from phyllite
Properties and qualities
Slope: 3 to 8 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.20 to 1.98 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Available water capacity: High (about 10.7 inches)
Interpretive groups
Farmland classification: All areas are prime farmland
Land capability (nonirrigated): 2e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B
Typical profile
0 to 10 inches: Loam
10 to 30 inches: Clay loam
30 to 54 inches: Loam
54 to 76 inches: Very channery sandy loam

Seems accurate, except I *DO* get "ponding" for about 6-12 hours after a decent rain. That might be due to a compacted layer from disturbance, however and not a natural thing.

I love the WIDE range of climate info - way to really narrow it down, USDA. Haha. That could put me anywhere from Maine to South Carolina!

I'm not sure what "Land capability (nonirrigated): 2e" means - I didn't see where the "key" for that was.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:56AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Yeah there is quite a bit of range. Can I have your rainfall?

If you want to get your exact elevation, see it at the link.

I'm at 1,150..fairly high for WI but nothing in comparison to some states.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elevation by Address

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:55AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Whaas - our rainfall is at the lower end of that range. I wish we got 55".

I love this - Frost-free period: 110 to 255 days

Wow. That's helpful...that pretty much covers the whole country except S. Florida and most of Alaska and possibly parts of the Rockies.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 1:31PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

We're at 429 feet FWIW.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 1:33PM
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ginkgonut(4)

I had to use this back in the day in soils class. Had forgotten about it and haven't done it on the new house. Seems right on, though "somewhat excessively drained" seems like an understatement sometimes. Maybe that has to do with what was done to the land during development back in the 50's.

Hennepin County, Minnesota
L55C�"Urban land-Malardi complex, 8 to 18 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting

Mean annual precipitation: 23 to 35 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 43 to 50 degrees F
Frost-free period: 124 to 200 days

Map Unit Composition

Urban land: 70 percent
Malardi and similar soils: 20 percent
Minor components: 10 percent

Description of Urban Land
Setting

Landform: Outwash plains, stream terraces
Parent material: Sandy and gravelly outwash

Description of Malardi
Setting

Landform: Hills on outwash plains, hills on stream terraces
Landform position (two-dimensional): Backslope
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Outwash

Properties and qualities

Slope: 8 to 18 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Somewhat excessively drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): High (2.00 to 6.00 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 30 percent
Available water capacity: Low (about 4.3 inches)

Interpretive groups

Farmland classification: Not prime farmland
Land capability (nonirrigated): 4e
Hydrologic Soil Group: A

Typical profile

0 to 10 inches: Sandy loam
10 to 15 inches: Sandy loam
15 to 29 inches: Loamy coarse sand
29 to 80 inches: Gravelly sand

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:42PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Interesting stuff. Thanks, Brandon!

My property is split between two map sections and they are different in soil make up. I'm including the one I'm planting in below.

We flooded in September, 3 feet of water on one side of the property, up to 10 feet on the other side, but that was 12" of rain in a day, an entire years worth of precip for us. Frequency of ponding and flooding: none. Still, good to know.

66��"Ulm clay loam, 0 to 3 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting
Elevation: 5,070 to 5,200 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 13 to 15 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 46 to 48 degrees F
Frost-free period: 105 to 120 days
Map Unit Composition
Ulm and similar soils: 85 percent
Minor components: 15 percent
Description of Ulm
Setting
Landform: Plains
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Alluvium and/or eolian deposits derived from shale
Properties and qualities
Slope: 0 to 3 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately low to moderately high (0.06 to 0.20 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 15 percent
Maximum salinity: Nonsaline (0.0 to 2.0 mmhos/cm)
Available water capacity: High (about 10.4 inches)
Interpretive groups
Farmland classification: Prime farmland if irrigated
Land capability classification (irrigated): 3e
Land capability (nonirrigated): 4e
Hydrologic Soil Group: C
Ecological site: Clayey Plains (R067BY042CO)
Typical profile
0 to 5 inches: Clay loam
5 to 19 inches: Clay
19 to 60 inches: Clay loam

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:31PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

What is being forgotten is this is a soils site. So a particular soil type can be found where there is a range of annual precipitation amounts. So a soild type may be found in North Alabama but also Northwest Illinois. Very different climates, but soils very similar. So you get from 35-55" etc. Climate influences soils, but a particular soil can occur in many climates. So the web soil survey site is about soils, and that it does well. It is not about climate other than what conditions pruduces what soils.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:30PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Interesting:

This is the most level portion of my property (exactly 1/2 or three acres) near the road and my home sets back off of the road and up on a small bluff. From the road it slopes about 150 feet to the lowest point...quite an elevation change. And while that slopes, I have rolling hills running perpendicular to the sloping hills. In other words my property is wavy and sloping and surrounded by hills - very similar to a football stadium where the bleachers are the sides of my property and people doing "the wave" lol ;-)

Flat (kind of, lol)

Mercer County, Illinois
675B�"Greenbush silt loam, 2 to 5 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting

Elevation: 360 to 1,020 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 32 to 40 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 47 to 54 degrees F
Frost-free period: 150 to 180 days

Map Unit Composition

Greenbush and similar soils: 95 percent

Description of Greenbush
Setting

Landform: Ground moraines, till plains
Landform position (two-dimensional): Summit, shoulder, footslope
Landform position (three-dimensional): Interfluve
Down-slope shape: Convex
Across-slope shape: Convex
Parent material: Loess

Properties and qualities

Slope: 2 to 5 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.60 to 2.00 in/hr)
Depth to water table: About 48 to 72 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Available water capacity: High (about 11.5 inches)

Interpretive groups

Farmland classification: All areas are prime farmland
Land capability (nonirrigated): 2e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B

Typical profile

0 to 6 inches: Silt loam
6 to 17 inches: Silt loam
17 to 75 inches: Silty clay loam
75 to 80 inches: Silt loam

-------

then:

Mercer County, Illinois
8D2�"Hickory silt loam, 10 to 18 percent slopes, eroded
Map Unit Setting

Elevation: 350 to 1,200 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 32 to 40 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 48 to 54 degrees F
Frost-free period: 150 to 180 days

Map Unit Composition

Hickory and similar soils: 90 percent

Description of Hickory
Setting

Landform: Ground moraines
Landform position (two-dimensional): Backslope
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Loamy till

Properties and qualities

Slope: 10 to 18 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.60 to 2.00 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 25 percent
Available water capacity: High (about 10.2 inches)

Interpretive groups

Farmland classification: Farmland of statewide importance
Land capability (nonirrigated): 3e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B

Typical profile

0 to 6 inches: Silt loam
6 to 51 inches: Clay loam
51 to 60 inches: Loam

Elevation: 360 to 1,020 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 32 to 40 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 47 to 54 degrees F
Frost-free period: 150 to 180 days

Map Unit Composition

Greenbush and similar soils: 95 percent

Description of Greenbush
Setting

Landform: Ground moraines, till plains
Landform position (two-dimensional): Summit, shoulder, footslope
Landform position (three-dimensional): Interfluve
Down-slope shape: Convex
Across-slope shape: Convex
Parent material: Loess

Properties and qualities

Slope: 2 to 5 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.60 to 2.00 in/hr)
Depth to water table: About 48 to 72 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Available water capacity: High (about 11.5 inches)

Interpretive groups

Farmland classification: All areas are prime farmland
Land capability (nonirrigated): 2e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B

Typical profile

0 to 6 inches: Silt loam
6 to 17 inches: Silt loam
17 to 75 inches: Silty clay loam
75 to 80 inches: Silt loam

Good for Hickories (score!) and... there are a lot of Walnut groves planted in my neck of the woods. People from Chicago have been buying up the land and planting these Walnut groves.

Cheers, thanks!

Dax

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:01PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I have "Windsor loamy sand, 3-8 % slope". Flat, ridiculously well-drained, good topsoil and very deep and gravelly subsoil. This type of soil is very easy to work, an excavator's dream.

Plants generally grow well, but it dries out way too quickly. I really wish I had some wetlands.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 2:53AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Ark, can you gives some examples about the climate impacting soil type?

I think where you are going is if I had clay loam in an area with high winter precip vs low winter precip it may impact what you can grow....ie plants having issues with winter root rot.

Or simply a sandly loam in CO vs sandy loam in IN may require a plant to have stronger drought tolerance.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 3:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

No, climate is a principle factor in determining what type of soil is present. Climate effects soil type in a multitude of ways. It can have physical effects (water and wind erosion, freezing and thawing, etc, etc), chemical effects (effects of water/moisture on the parent material, effects of temperature, etc), and biological effects (climate determines what can live in the area - flora, fauna, bacteria, fungi, etc - which greatly impacts soil formation in a variety of ways). There are many good articles on this topic that can be found by googling 'climate soil formation'.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:11PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I was more or less trying to get examples as to why two same soil types would differ based on the climate. The freeze, thaw example makes logical sense to me.

First hit was fairly informative on soil formation. Thanks for the info!

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Formation

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:25PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

OK, I kind of see what you mean now. I think Ark's comments may be slightly misleading though. The soil-type classifications are generally based on a local type-soil (a sample taken from a specific local site) by a local soil survey. There may be similar soils at two distant (say a few states away) sites, but they probably are documented separately and within different soil surveys (and will not have the same names).

Maybe what Ark was trying to say is that the climate factors listed within each soil type are not there to tell you what your climate is like, but rather describe the conditions responsible for the soil type found (i.e. the site is about soil, not about weather prediction).

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:41PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Sorry for just now getting back to this thread. Brandon basically has what I was saying. Sorry for the confusion. My own soil is a member of the Ultisol group. These are soils composted of highly eroded heavily leached soil. These soils con only form where there is a significant excess of precipitation relative to evapotranspiration. But that excess is not only about rainfall. Temperature is also critical. I average about 48"/yr and probable about 58 or 59F ave annual temp. However in Wis, you can have an Ultisol soil with an annual ave of 30"/yr and 40F. That 30"/yr would make grassland and no Ultisol soil in my warmer climate, but is plenty for your cooler climate. Therefore the precip range could easily be 30-50"/yr with almost indentical soil structure. This is what I mean about the websoil survey is about the soils. Climate certainly impacts soil types, but there are ranges in the climate that produce a particular soil, and so the climate parameters cited for a soils is about what range of climate can typically produce a typical soil type. It is not making a climate prediction.

Hope this is a bit more clear.
Arktrees

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:21PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

As for important elements to consider for planting are there any soil data points worth considering besides texture, depth and drainage?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:19AM
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