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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00003113/00001
 Material Information
Title: Land Judging and Homesite Evaluation in Florida
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Herbert, J.H.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007
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Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "First published August 1985 as CIR 242-G; Revised August 2007."
General Note: "CIR242"
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00003113:00001


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CIR 242 Land Judging and Homesite Evaluation in Florida 1 J.H. Herbert, Jr., R.B. Brown and E.A. Hanlon, Jr.2 1. This document is CIR242, a circular developed by the Soil and Water Science Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Firs t published August 1985 as CIR 242-G; Revised August 2007. Please visit the EDIS Website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. J.H. Herbert, Jr., Associate Professor Emer itus and R.B. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Soil and Water Science Department; and E.A. Hanlon, Jr., Professor, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center; Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural S ciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educ ational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discriminat ion with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disabilit y, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florid a, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean

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Table of Contents a) Introduction 3 b) Land Judging 3 Definitions of Land Characteristics 3 Surface texture 5 Organic matter 6 Thickness of rooting zone 6 Permeability 6 Slope 7 Erosion -wind and water 8 Drainage 8 Land capability class 9 Land Characteristics and Their Limitations on Capability Class 11 Soil Taxonomy 13 Conservation Practices 15 Vegetative 15 Mechanical 16 Fertilizer and soil amendments 17 How to Use the Land Judging Score Card 18 Conditions of Fields for Land Judging 20 c) Homesite Evaluation 20 Limitation Ratings 20 Slight limitations 20 Moderate limitations 21 Severe limitations 21 Very severe limitations 21 Factors Affecting Limitations 21 Texture 21 Permeability 21 Soil depth 22 Slope 22 Erosion 23 Shrink-swell 23 Drainage 23 Flooding 24 Summary Table 24 How to Use the Homesite Evaluation Score Card 25 d) General Rules for Land Judging and Ho m esite Evaluation Contests 27 Note: Sections containing material that ha s been revised, updated, or clarified in 2007 are italicized.

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Introduction Soils have always been a basic resource. They will c ontinue to be a most important resource affecting our individual and national economy. Soils differ one from another. Because of these differe nces, land capabilities vary from place to place. A knowledge of soil characteristics will help to determine the capability of land, the proper use of land, and the conservation practices necessary. These differences in soil characteristics can be descri bed in rather definite terms. Once we have learned the proper terms, we can discuss soil differences w ith anyone else who speaks the same language. First, we must know several things about our soils. From this knowledge, we can de term ine what our land is capable of and just how we will have to treat it. We will need to know about soil texture, organic matter, thickness of rooting zone, permeability, slope, erosion, and drainage. Soils with certain combinations of these characteristics can be grouped into soil types. Similar types of soil may be suited to similar agricultural uses. We arrange these groups into land capability classes. Understanding capability classification makes it easier to plan for conservation farming, ranching, or grove ma nagement. Similarly, soils with certain characteristics may be found to have predictable degrees of lim itation for various urban uses, including homesites. Land Judging Definitions of Land Characteristics The information contained in this section will help in filling out Part One of the Land Judging score card (see Figure 6 ). Surface texture Texture ( Figure 1 ) is a soil property related to the proportion of sand, silt, and clay that a soil contains. The soil should be moist to determine its texture by sen se of touch. When mineral soil is rubbed between the fingers (Figure 2 ), (a) sand is gritty, (b) silt is smooth and floury, and (c) clay is slick and sticky. Fourteen textural grades of mineral soil have been established but are grouped into three broad textural groups ( Table 1 ) for land judging purposes. Organic soils contain at least 15 percent non-mineral, organic m aterials and are dark colored, light in weight when dry, and smeary or greasy when moist. "O rganic" is not a true textural name. Therefore, the word appears in parentheses on the Land Judging and Homesite Evaluation score cards. Surface texture only is to be indicated on the score cards. Some confusion may result from the fact that coa rse sandy loam, fi ne sandy loam, and very fine sandy loam are listed in Table 1 but are not shown in the US DA textural triangle shown in Figure 1. All three subtextures meet the criteria for sandy loam, but they have especially high contents of coarse sand-, fine sand-, and very fine sand-sized particles, respectively. All three are loamy for land judging purposes, but they may differ somewhat from each other in permeability or other behavior. 3

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Figure 1. Textural triangle used to help determine soil texture. Table 1. Soil texture determination. Broad Textural Groups Textural Names from USDA Textural Tria ngle Sandy soils Coarse-textured, very sandy soils Sands Loamy sands Moderately coarse-textured soils Coarse sandy loam Sandy loam Fine sandy loam Medium-textured soils Very fine sandy loam Loam Silt loam Silt Loamy soils Moderately fine-textured soils Clay loam Sandy clay loam Silty clay loam Clayey soils Fine-textured soils Sandy clay Silty clay Clay 4

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Figure 2. Ribbon method of determining soil texture. Organic matter Soil organic matter is the residue of plant and animal material in various stages of decomposition. It helps hold both water and nutrients i n the plant root zone and, upon decomposition, becomes plant food. Organic matter of the surface soil (from the surface down to the first significant change in color) is estimated visually by examining the darkness of color of an air-dry sample. Usually the darker the color of the surface soil, the higher the organic matter content. It is generally agreed that, where the soil organic matter is 5

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between 0 and 2 percent, it is low; between 2 and 5 per cent, it is medium; and where it is over 5 percent, it is high. Thickness of rooting zone The total thic kness of surface and subs oil layers readily penetrated by crop roots is considered to be the thickness of the rooting zone. Dense hardpan, clay pan, rock, a seasonally high water table (under natural conditions, i.e., without artificial drainage), or other unfavorable conditi ons may limit the rooting zone. Occurrence of roots at a given depth is not a good i ndicator, because there may be artificial drainage in place, and/or the roots may be those of weeds or other non-agronomic plants that are not the primary consideration in land judging. Rooting zone thickness is described in Table 2 Table 2. Rooting zone thickness. Thin 0 19.9 inches Thick 20 39.9 inches Very thick 40 inches or more Permeability Permeability refers to the rate of water or air move ment through the m ost restrictive layer in the soil, including bedrock, if present. This may be consider ed as internal drainage. Permeability can be estimated from texture, compaction, and arrangeme nt of soil particles (structure). Figure 3 illustrates the common ways particles may be arranged to form soil structure. Th is secondary grouping of particles may affect the soil's internal drainage by either providing a pathway for water to drain (such as around the outside of granules) or by retarding water movement (such as with platy structure or where structure is absent and the soil is massive). Rapid Soils are generally not finer than sands to fine sandy loam through out the profile, with little if any defined structure other than being structureless (i.e., single-grained) (very little restriction to movement of water and air). Organic soil material (e.g., muck or peat) is generally rapidly permeable, unless compaction or some other soil featu re gives cause to think otherwise. Moderate These soils generally include medium-textured loamy soils, light silty cl ay loam (i.e., on the coarser-textured side of the silty clay loam category), light clay loam, or light sandy clay loam with prismatic to granular or blocky structure, and have no severely restrictive layers. Weakly cemented sandy material is also included. Slow Soils generally would be on the fine side of the loamy group, such as heavy silty clay loam to heavy sandy clay loam. Such soils would be struct ureless (massive) or have platy structure, weakly expressed blocky structure, or weakly expressed prisma tic structure. Strongly cemented sandy material is included here, as is impermeable or slowly permeable bedrock. 6

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Figure 3. Drawings illustrating some of the types of soil st ructure: A, prismatic; B, columnar; C, angular blocky; D, subangular blocky; E, platy; and F, granular. Slope Slope is measured in feet of fall or rise per 100 feet of horizontal travel and is ex pressed in percent, as in Table 3 7

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Table 3. Slope classification. A. Nearly level 0 1.99% B. Gently sloping 2 4.99% C. Moderately sloping 5 7.99% D. Strongly sloping 8 11.99% E. Steep 12 16.99% F. Very steep 17% or more Erosion -wind and water Erosion is the loss of soil by forces of water and wind. Prope r soil management can greatly reduce erosion and maintain productivity and usefulness of th e land. The degree to which erosion has occurred is described by the following terms: None to slight Less than 25 percent of the thickness of the surface soil removed. No gullies. Moderate 25 to 75 percent of the t hickness of the surface soil removed, with or without gullies. Severe. 75 percent or more of the thickness of the surface soil removed, with or without occasional uncrossable gullies. Very severe All of the surface soil removed, and up to 75 percent of the subsoil lost. Drainage Drainage can be regarded as an index of wetness of th e natural soil. Drainage is associ ated with the rate at which water is removed from the soil profile under natural conditions. Wetness of a soil is influenced by many factors, including internal drainage, permeability, landscape position, and depth to the water table. Generally, internal drainage is a reflection of permeability. For exampl e, a very slowly permeable soil exhibits poor to very poor internal drainage. The presence and depth of a water table is not necessarily a reflection of permeability. Establishing depth and permanency of the water table requires study during different seasons of the year. The terms used to describe soil drainage are discussed below. Poor Water drains so slowly that the soil remains wet for a large part of the time. The water table is commonly within 20 inches of the surface during a considerable part of the year. Poorly drained conditions are due to a high water table, to a slowly pe rmeable layer within the profile, to seepage, or to some combination of these conditions. Poorly drained soils are usually characterized by uniform gray or mottled gray colors immediately below the surface soil. Mottling is normally associated with loamy or clayey subsoils. Some poorly drained sandy soils ma y be light gray or white from the surface downward, with or without mottles. A spodic layer at depths of 10 to 40 in ches is usually (but not always!) an indicator of poor drainage. Landscape position and other factors may cause a Spodosol to be somewhat poorly drained or even drier. Somewhat poor Water is rem oved from the soil slowly en ough to keep it wet for significant periods. The water table is at depths of 20 to 40 inches for a considerable part of the year. Somewhat poorly drained conditions are due to a moderately high wate r table, to a slowly permeable layer within the profile, to seepage, or to some combination of these conditions. Somewhat poorly drained soils are 8

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usually characterized by uniform grayish, brownish or yellowish colors in the upper profile and commonly have mottles between the 20 and 40-inch de pths. Mottling is normally associated with loamy or clayey subsoils. Somewhat poorly drained sandy soils may be white or light gray from the surface downward with or without mottles. Moderately well or well Water is removed from the soil somewhat slowly so that the profile may be wet for short, but significant, periods of time. Th e water table is commonly below the 40-inch depth. Moderately well drained soils may have a slowly pe rmeable layer within or immediately beneath the subsoil, a relatively high water ta ble, additions of water through seepage, or some combination of these conditions. Moderately well draine d and well-drained soils normally ha ve uniform colors in surface soil and upper subsoil, but may be mottled in the lower subsoil (below 40 inches). If the water table is below 72 inches and the soil is not sandy throughout the 0to 72-inch depth (e .g., it is loamy in part or all of the profile), the soil is well drained. Excessive The soil is sandy throughout its depth. Water is removed from the soil readily. The water table occurs at depths below 72 inches. The soil is free or nearly free of mottling throughout the profile. Dominant colors are pale brown, yellow, and red. So me excessively drained soils are white or light gray in color and lack evidence of wetness. Land capability class A Land Capability Class designation is a statement of a soil's suitability for use as cropland. The different classes are defined as follows, and safe land uses for each of the land classes are shown in Figure 4 Class I. Soils in this class are suitable for cultivation over a long period of time. The y are moderately well drained to well-drained, deep, productive, nearly level, not subject to more than slight erosion regardless of treatment, and are free from overflows that interfere with planting, gr owing, or harvesting of crops. Class II This class includes soils that are suitable fo r cultivation over a long period of time. However, they have some hazards and limitations such as gentle slopes, slight erosion, or moderate wetness. The following are some of the practices that may be needed to overcome the hazards and limitations of soils in this class: crop rotations that include soil-conserving and soil-improving crops at least one-half of the time, water control, contour farming, and diversion of water from upslope. Class III Soils in this class are good for cultivated crops but they have severe limitations that reduce the variety of plants that can be grown, require special conservation practices, or both. The following are the treatments that may be needed: terracing and contour cultivation, strip cropping, and crop residue management. They also need intensive crop rotati ons, which include soil-conserving and soil-improving crops at least two years out of three. Diversion of upslope water or other water control measures may also be needed. Class IV Soils making up this class have very severe limitations that restrict the choice of plants, require very careful management, or both. Some of the limitations are steep slopes, excessive wetness, or poor soil characteristics. They should be managed in a rotation, which includes soil-conserving and soilimproving crops at least three-fourths of the time. When cultivated, sloping land should be broken in strips and will require practices such as terracing and contour farming. We t lands will require water control. Both sloping and wet land will require con servation of organic residues. As a rule, these soils are best suited for pasture or hay. 9

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Class V Soils in this class are not suitable for cultiva tion but may be used for permanent vegetation. These soils are not more than slightly susceptible to erosion and, ther efore, they require no special conservation practices or restrictions in use. Thes e soils may be frequently flooded or poorly drained. Good grazing management is required if utilized for p asture or range, or good timber management if used for woodland. All areas should be protected from wildfire. Class VI Soils in Class VI have severe li mitations that make them generally unsuitable for cultivation and limit their use largely to pasture or range, woodl and, or wildlife food and cover. Restrictions commonly needed on pasture and range include defe rred and rotational grazing to maintain a good soil cover at all times. Timberland should be protected from grazing. All areas should be protected from wildfire. Class VII S oils in Class VII have very severe limitations that make them unsuitable for cultivation and restrict their use to woodland or wildlife. Practices required are protection from grazing, protection from wildfire, and other practices to increase woodland production an d wildlife population. Class VIII Soils in this c lass are not suitable for cultivation and are not suitable for useful permanent vegetation or woodland. It is la nd of little or no economic value agriculturally, except for wildlife or recreational purposes. Class VIII land needs protection from wildfire and restriction from grazing. Figure 4. Safe uses for the various land classes. 10

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Land Characteristics and Their Limitations on Capability Class (Shown in Table 4 ) Table 4. Land Characteristics and Their Limitations on Capability Class Factor Best Possible Land Class Surface Texture Sandy II Loamy I Clayey III (Organic) III Organic Matter High I Medium I Low I Thickness of rooting zone Thin III Thick II Very thick I Permeability Rapid II Moderate I Slow II Slope A Nearly level I B Gently sloping II C Moderately sloping III D Strongly sloping IV E Steep VI F Very steep VII Erosion None to slight I Moderate II Severe III Very severe IV Drainage Poor III Somewhat poor II Moderately well and well I Excessive IV 11

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If only one factor keeps a site from being Class I, that factor determines land class. Where two or more factors are involved, the situation may be more comple x. Capability class may be determined by the most limiting factor. A penalty, or downgrading of capabili ty class, may be assessed under some circumstances, however, as in the examples given in Table 5 Table 5. Examples of Land Capability Class determination. Ex. Surface Texture Organic Matter Thickness of Rootin g Zone Permeability Slope Erosion Drainage Class 1. Sandy II Low I Thick II Moderate I B II Moderate II Well I III 2. Loamy I Medium I Thick II Slow II C III Moderate II Somewhat Poor II IV 3. Sandy II Low I Very Thick I Rapid II C III Slight I Excessive IV VI 4. Loamy I Medium I Very Thick I Moderate I C III Moderate II Well I III 5. Loamy I Low I Thin III Slow II E VI Moderate II Poor III VII 6. Sandy II High I Thick II Rapid II A I None I Poor III IV 7. Loamy I Medium I Thin III Slow II D IV Moderate II Somewhat Poor II VII 8. Loamy I Low I Very Thick I Moderate I C III Severe III Well I IV 9. Organic III High I Thin III Rapid II A I None I Poor III VI 10. Sandy II Low I Thin III Slow II B II None I Poor III VI 11. Sandy II Low I Thick II Rapid II B II Moderate II Well I III 12. Loamy I Medium I Thin III Slow II C III Severe III Moderately Well I VI 13. Loamy I Low I Thick II Slow II D IV Moderate II Well I VI 14. Loamy I Medium I Very Thick I Moderate I A I None I Well I I 15. Sandy II Low I Very Thick I Moderate I A I None I Moderately Well I II 16. Sandy II Low I Thin III Moderate I A I None I Somewhat Poor II III 17. Sandy II Low I Thick II Moderate I B II None I Moderately Well I II 18. Sandy II Medium I Thick II Rapid II B II Moderate II Somewhat Poor II III 12

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Ex. Surface Texture Organic Matter Thickness of Rooting Zone Permeability Slope Erosion Drainage Class 19. Sandy II Low I Thick II Moderate I D IV Very Severe IV Moderately Well I VI 20. Sandy II Low I Very Thick I Rapid II D IV Very Severe IV Excessive IV VII Soil Taxonomy Soil classification systems of various sorts have been used for hundreds of years. Many systems were based on one soil characteristic, such as color, elevation, moisture, fer tility, or acidity-alkalinity. These systems of classification served a particular purpose for lo cal conditions but were based on opinions that were difficult to reproduce; they therefore had very limite d meaning. The Land Capability Classification System was an improvement over the older systems because it included the rating of several soil characteristics by observations and measurements which could be reproduced. The Capab ility Class system has helped many people recognize the importance of various soil char acteristics; however, science and technology have expanded since it was first developed. A new classification system was begun in 1951, and after several revisions the n ew system was adopted in 1965. This system, called Soil Taxonomy, is based on physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties and can be used anywhere in the United States. The taxonomic system recognizes six categories: Order, Suborder, Great Group, Subgroup, Family, and Series. So il Order is the only category that is required in land judging contests. Dominant features of soil orders are described below (percent base saturation will be given in a contest), followed by a map (see Figure 5 ) of the soil orders in Florida. Alfisols Well-developed soils with a relatively fine-tex tured subsoil horizon that has a percent base saturation of 35 percent or more. Aridisols D ry soils that occur in arid or semi-arid regions. Entisols Soils with little or no horizon development. Histosols S oils composed of relatively thick (usually 16 inches or more) organic materials (mucks and peats). Inceptisols Soils of humid regions w ith profile development sufficient to exclude them from the Entisols, but insufficient to include them in Spodosols, Ultisols, or other well-developed soils. Soils that appear to be like Mollisols but have less than 50 percent base saturation may also be Inceptisols. Mollisols Soils with thic k (usually 10 inches or more) dark surfaces that have a base saturation of 50 percent or more in the surface soil. Oxisols Highl y weathered soils of the tropics. Spodosols Soils with a spodic horizon (a dark-colored horizon or subhorizon with a mixture of organic matter and aluminum [Al], with or without iron [Fe]). Ultisols Well-developed soils with a relatively fine-textu red subsoil horizon that h as less than 35 percent base saturation. 13

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Vertisols S oils with more than 30 percent clay wh ich appreciably expand upon wetting and contract upon drying. Figure 5. Soil orders in Florida. While Floridas soil orders are shown alphabetically in the above li sting, it should be understood that there is a protocol fo r determining the taxonomic classi fication of a soil. Using that protocol, so ils should be keyed out in the following sequence: 14

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Histosols Spodosols Oxisols Vertisols Aridisols Ultisols Mollisols Alfisols Inceptisols Entisols For example, a soil that qualifies for the Histosol order should be placed in the Histosols, regardless of whether or not the soil meets any of the requirements of an order or orders further down the list. Similarly, a soil that does not qualify for the Histosols but does qualify for the Spodosols should be called a Spodosol, whether or not the soil has a relatively fine-textured subsoil, and regardless of base saturation. Conservation Practices Part Two of the Land Judging Score Card deals with conservation practices. Local conditi ons may require some modifications of the following reco mmendations. Consult your County Extension Agent, NRCS District Conservationist, or Vocational Agriculture Teacher. Vegetative Practices Number 1, 2, 3, and 4. Use soil-conservi ng and soil-improving crops -Prevent or retard erosion, maintain or improve rather than deplete soil organic matter, improve soil structure and tilth, increase water intake, and increase fertility. Use of close-seeded crops and/or incorporation of green manure into the soil would help to achieve these results Use crops that conserve and improve soil every year between cash crops on Class I land. Use them every other year on Class II land. Use them two years out of three on Class III land. Use them three years out of four on Class IV land. Number 5. Contour strip cropping -Grow row crops with strips or bands of close-growing cover crops in a systematic arrangement on the contour. Use on Classes II through IV where the slope is 2 percent or more, except where sandy soil extends from the soil surface to a depth of more than 20 inches. Number 6. Manage crop residue -Turn i n rather than burn off crop residue, or provide a protective cover, leaving the residue of any previous crops as a mulch on the surface. Employ conservation tillage where feasible and consistent with overall farm mana gement strategy, Use on Classes I through IV. Number 7. Use sod-based rotation -Grow crops i n recurring succession on the same land using grass pasture three years out of four or six years out of eight. Use on Class IV. Number 8. Wind strip cropping -Produce row crops in long, relatively narrow strips between strips of tall growing grasses or legumes placed across the di rection of the prevailing wind. Use on Classes I through IV when a wind erosion problem is indicated on the conditions poster. 15

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Number 9. Use field windbreaks -Use a border of trees and shrubs, usually three or more rows, to reduce the force of the wind for the protection of fiel ds, orchards, groves, feedlots, and homesteads. Use on Classes I through IV when a wind erosion problem is indicated on the conditions poster. Number 10. Control noxious plants -Keep undesirable veg etation to a minimum. Mowing and spraying with chemicals are two methods of control. Use on Classes I through VII. Number 11. Establish recommended grasses and/or legumes -Establish a protective cover on land not producing suitable permanent vege tation or on unprotected land not suitable for cultivated crops. Use on Classes V and VI. Number 12. Manage pasture or range properly -Apply practices to keep plants growing actively over as long a period as possible, and encourage the growth of desirable grasses and legumes through controlled grazing and use of fertilizers and lime. Use on Classes V and VI. Number 13. Protect from wildfire -Self-explanatory Use on Classes V through VIII. Number 14. Plant recommended trees -Use recommended varieties of trees for post lots and woodland plantings. Use on Class VII. Number 15. Harvest trees selectively -Re move mature or undesirable trees and encourage reproduction under the remaining stand. Use on Class VII. Number 16. Use for wildlife or recreational area -Protect or develop areas that are not suitable for cultivation, grazing, or forestry. Use on Class VIII. Mechanical Number 18. Terrace -Use terraces, which are ridges or embankments of soil constructed across the slope, to control runoff, minimize erosion, and increase infiltration of water into the soil. Use on Class II through IV when slope is 2 or more percent but less th an 8 percent, if surface texture is loamy or clayey. Number 19. Farm on the contour -Conduct field operations such as plowing, planting, and cultivation on the contour (i.e., at right angles to the direction of slope) with or without the use of terraces and/or contour strip cropping. Use on Classes II through IV where the slope is 2 percent or more, except on excessively drained soils. Number 20. Maintain terraces -Keep terraces in shape to work eff ectively. Do not cultivate across them. Use with practice No. 18 or 2l. Number 21. Construct diversion terraces -These are larger terraces constructed to handle a larger flow of water than a normal field terrace. Use when an up slope water problem is indicated on the conditions poster. Number 22. Develop waterways -Use natural or constructed courses to accommodate runoff from terraces and contoured land. Generally seeded to gr ass or hard-surfaced. Use with all terraced and/or contoured land (practices 18, 19, 20, 21, or 24). Number 23. Install water control system -Control water on land by means of surface or sub-surface drains and structures. Use where the rooting zone is thin or thick due to a seas onally or permanently high water table. 16

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Number 24. Control gullies -Prevent further erosion in gullies by grading the heads and sides of gullies, building temporary check dams, establishing perennial vegetation, constructing diversion terraces to divert water from the heads of gullies, and fencing out domestic animals. Use where gullies are present. Number 25. Subsoil -Till soil below the normal plow depth, sometimes referred to as chiseling. The intended purpose is to break or shatter a spodic horizon, claypan, or plowpan that is restrictive enough to limit the rooting depth and/or to impede internal soil drainage. Use only where a compaction problem is indicated on the conditions poster. Fertilizer and soil amendments Use proven s oil testing methods, fertilizer recommenda tions based upon research, and good production records as a basis for managing fertilizer and soil amendmen t applications. This approach to fertilization will conserve our resources and still maintain a highly productive soil. The ratings given to soil tests indicate the level of productivity expected if a given nutrient were not applied to the soil as fertilizer, and the probability of crop response if the nutrient were applied. The following definitions are used by the IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory to determine if phosphorus (P) or potassium (K) fertilizer should be recommended. Th ese definitions assume that no other factor, such as water, will limit growth. Very Low Less than 50 percent of crop yield potential is expected without addition of the nutrient. Yield increase in response to added nutrient is always expected. Low 50 to 75 percent of crop yield potential is expected without addition of the nutrient. Yield increase in response to added nutrient is expected. Medium 75 to 10 0 percent of crop yield potential is e xpected without addition of the nutrient. Yield increase in response to added nutrient will probably occur if the test value is in the lower end of the range. High Soil c an supply sufficient quantities of the nutr ient for the crop. Yield increase in response to added nutrient is not expected. Test again next year if the nutrient is not applied this year. Very High Soil can supply the nutrient in far greater quantities than considered adequate. Yield increase in response to added nutrient is never exp ected. Addition of nutrient will be wasteful, could induce nutrient imbalance, and could decrease yields. Since factors that cannot be determined on-site must be considered in making fertilization decisions, the following information will be given on the conditions pos ter for the Land Judging Contest (see sample poster in Table 6 ): 1. The interpretation of whet her or not the crop to be grown will benefit from liming the soil. 2. The phosph orus soil test rating. 3. The potassium soil test rating. 4. A list of other nutrients interpreted to be deficient for the crop to be grown. A short discussion of the fertility factors on the contest score card follows: 17

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Number 27. Lime -Apply agricultural limestone to reduce soil acidity (increase soil pH). Lime need is based upon the crop to be grown and soil test results. The interpretation of whether or not the crop will benefit from liming will be give n on the conditions poster. Number 28. Nitrogen Nitrogen (N) fertilizer will almost always be needed for non-legume crops grown on mineral soils. Soil testing is not used fo r guiding N fertilizer recommendations in Florida. Mark N on the score card if the c onditions poster lists N as deficient. Number 29. Phosphorus -Addition of P fertilizer is a recommended practice when soil test levels are rated very low (soil test shows <10 ppm Mehlich-I ext ractable P in topsoil), low (10-15 ppm P), or medium (16-30 ppm P) (mark P on the score card); but is not recommended when the tests are rated high (31-60 ppm P) or very high (>60 ppm P) (do not mark P on the score card). Florida soils range from very low to very high in P. Soil testing is a useful tool in determining the need for P fertilization. Number 30. Potassium -Addition of K fertilizer is a recommende d practice when soil test levels are very low (soil test shows <20 ppm Mehlich-I extractable K in topsoil), low (20-35 ppm K), or medium (35-60 ppm K) (mark K on the score card); but is not usually recommended when tests are high (61-125 ppm K) or very high (>125 ppm K) (do not mark K on th e score card). Potassium leaches in sandy soils and thus must be managed differently on sands than on finer-textured soils. Build-up of K is not practical on most Florida sands. Number 31. and 32. Micronutrients -The nutrient elements manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), boron (B), and molybdenum (Mo) are required by plants in very small quantities. A deficiency of any one of these micronutrients will result in re duced plant performance. Tests are helpful, but experience with the soil and crop are also important in determining if one or more of the micronutrients should be added as fertilizer. Mark No. 31 on the score card if only one of the micronutrients is listed on the conditions poster as deficient. Mark No. 32 on the score card if two or more are listed as deficient. How to Use the Land Judging Score Card The Land Judging Score Card (Figure 6 ) is available separately as IFAS Publication SL144 (http://edis.if as.ufl.edu/SS144). 1. Score cards must ALWAYS be identified with Field No. and Name. 2. An "X" is used to mark your answers for Part On e, Part Two and Soil Order. Land Capability Class should be circled. 3. In case the la nd is in Class I, the rule is to mark no fa ctors! For other classes, the rule is to mark the factors that keep the land from being Class I. 4. The perfect score of each field is variable, depending on the number of conservation practices required. 5. The blank li nes (items 17 and 26) on the Land Judgi ng Score Card can be used to write in soilconserving and soil-improving practices not listed. When they are to be used, officials will make this announcement before the contest begins so that everyone may write in the practice or practices. 6. In selecting conservation practices for Part 2 of the score card, consider the most intensive use that could be made of the la nd based on its limitations. 7. Select only the number of conservation practices n eeded for each site. If you use more conservation practices than are necessary, the judges will give cr edit for correct practices and deduct pe nalty points for those practices that have been checked but are incorrect. 18

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Figure 6. Land Judging score card. 19

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Conditions of Fields for Land Judging A Conditions Poster at each site will give information usef ul in judging i ndividual sites. An example of the poster is shown in Table 6 : Table 6. Example of a land judging conditions poster. CONDITIONS OF FIELDS FOR LAND JUDGING FIELD NO. ____________________ Assume that the following interp retations of farm records and soil tests have been made for the crop to be grown: 1. Thickness of the surface soil was __________________ 2. Other conditions are: __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ 3. Pay no attention to current practices on this field. 4. Consider the most in tensiv e use of the land. 5. The crop ____________________ (wi ll, will not) benefit from reduction of soil acidity, 6. Phosphorus soil test is rated as ______________________ 7. Potassium soil test is rated as ______________________ 8. The following nutrients will be deficient: _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ HOMESITE EVALUATION The following inf ormation is designed to show th e importance of soils and their limitations for nonagricultural purposes. While the discu ssion is restricted to homesites, the importance of a soil's suitability for parks and playgrounds, roads and streets, and other uses should also be kept in mind. Many of the features used in judging soils for agricultu ral use w ill also be used in evaluating an area for a homesite. This information will help in filling out the Homesite Evaluation scorecard shown in Figure 7 Limitation Ratings Soils are rated according to their limitations for sp ecific uses. The lim itations are defined as follows: Slight limitations Soils or locations have properties favora ble fo r the planned use and present few or no problems. 20

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Moderate limitations Soils or locations have one or more properties considered somewhat restrictive for the planned use. Limitations can be overcome or modified with speci al planning, design, treatment, or maintenance. Severe limitations Soils or locations have one or more properties unfavor able for the planned use. Limitations are difficult and costly to modify or overcome for the use desired. Very severe limitations The soil or location has fea tures so unfavorable for a particular use that overcom ing the limitation is very difficult and expensive. For the most part, this kind of soil should not be used for the purpose being rated. Factors Affecting Limitations Texture (See previous discussion and definitions) Texture refers to the texture of the surface soil. Surface texture is not considered here in relation to septic systems because such systems usually are dug below the surface. Sandy Slight to m oderate limitations -This soil may require stabilization with organic material and/or loamy topsoil to improve moisture and nutrient ho lding/supplying capacity for desired plant growth. Washing and blowing may be a problem during c onstruction. Shrink-swell potential is low. Loamy. Generally slight limitations -Care should be exercised during construction to ensure that the surface soil is not covered by less desirable material. Shrink-swell potential is moderate in loamy soils if the clay particles are dominantly made up of montmo rillonite or other sm ect ite minerals; shrink-swell potential of all other loamy soils is low. Clayey Severe li mitations -Soil is sticky when wet, hard when dry, difficult to work when used for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. The soils crack when dr y, swell when wet. Clayey soils have a high shrinkswell potential if the clay particles are dominantly made up of montmorillonite or other smectite minerals; otherwise, shrink-swell potential is moderate. Speci al planning and design are required for foundations. Organic Severe li mitations -Soil is dominated by nonmineral, organic materials that are subject to subsidence when drained. Permeability (See previous discussion and definitions) Permeability refers to the rate of water or air move ment through the most restrictive layer in the soil, including bedrock, if present, and may be considered as internal drainage of the soil. Laterals for septic systems may be located below restrictive layers in some soils. Final design of septic systems should be based on detailed studies of permeability and of seasonally high wa ter tables. Such investigation is an important factor in deciding between a septic tank system or a co mmunity sewage system. Soil percolation tests may be required before making final plans. Rapid. Soils are generally not finer than sands to fine sandy loam throughout the profile, with little if any defined structure other than being structurele ss (i.e., single-grained) (very little restriction to 21

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movement of water and air). Organic soil material (e.g ., muck or peat) is generally rapidly permeable, unless compaction or some other soil fe ature gives cause to think otherwise Slight limitations in use for septic tank absorption fields, or foundations and baseme nt construction. Moderate limitations for lawns and shrubs. Moderate Slight limitations for all uses. These soils generally include medium-textured loamy soils, light silty clay loam (i.e., on the coarser-textured side of the silty clay loam category), light clay loam, or light sandy clay loam with prismatic to granular or blocky structure, and have no severely restrictive layers. Weakly cemented sandy material is also included. Slow Severe li mitations for septic tank systems. Soils generally would be on the fine side of the loamy group, such as heavy silty clay loam to heavy sandy clay loam and clay. Strongly cemented sandy soil material has slow permeability, as does impermeable or slowly permeable bedrock. Such soils would be structureless (massive) or have platy, weakly expressed blocky, or weakly expressed prismatic structure. The cost of modification or size of filter field necessary would generally be prohibitive. Limitations would be moderate for foundations a nd for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. Soil depth This refers to the vertical depth of a soil to bedrock, such as limestone or consolidated clays, that restrict or prohibit excavations. Severity of limitations due to depth may vary greatly for different uses; therefore, Table 7 should be used as a guide for evaluation of soil depth for alternate uses. Table 7. Guide for the evaluation of soil depth for homesite evaluation. Adjective Rating Depth (in) Foundations Lawns, Shrubs, and Gardens Septic Systems Shallow 0 19.9 Severe Very Severe Very Severe Moderately Deep 20 39.9 M oderate Slight Severe Deep 40 + Slight Slight Slight Slope Slope refers to the steepness of the surface, or to the vertical rise or fall per 100 feet of distance, expressed in percent. Table 8 will aid in interpretation of the slope. Table 8. Aid for the in terpretation of slope. Adjective Rating Slope % Foundations Lawns, Shrubs, and Gardens Septic Systems Nearly level 0 1.9 Slight Slight Slight Gently sloping 2 4.9 Slight Slight Slight Moderately sloping 5 7.9 Moderate Moderate Slight Strongly sloping 8 11.9 Severe Severe Moderate Steep 12 16.9 Very Severe Very Severe Severe Very Steep 17 + Very Severe Very Severe Very Severe 22

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Erosion (See previous discussion and definitions) Erosion of the soil can i ncrease the expense of landscaping. Severe gullying will impose additional limitation on septic disposal fields. None to Slight and Moderate Erosion Slight l imitation for any use. Severe Erosion Moderate lim itation for any use. Modification of surface or bringing in of top soil may be required for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. Very Severe Erosion S evere limitations; usually severely gu llied, requiring much filling or leveling, extra cost on septic disposal systems, extensive modification for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. Time of development should be selected for the least erosive time of year. Shrink-swell Shrink-swell potential is im plied in the permeability, te xture, and mineralogy of a soil. Because it is important in foundation design, it should have special cons ideration. The most clayey layer in the profile is generally considered in relation to shrink-swell. Shri nk-swell potential is not generally a factor for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. Low shrink-swell. Sandy soils, and th ose loamy soils whose clay-size particles are not influenced by smectite or montmorillonite clay. Slight limitations for foundations and septic systems. Moderate shrink-swell. Loamy soils with clay particles dom inated by smectite or montmorillonite minerals, and clayey soils not dominated by smectite or montmorillonite clay. Moderate limitations for foundations and septic systems. High shrink-swell. Fine-textured soils having clay particles domi nated by smectite or montmorillonite. Severe limitations for foundations and septic systems. Note: Organic soil material as defined under Surfa ce Texture in the L and Judging portion of this circular has low shrink-swell potential. (Organic soil may be subject to subsidence, but shrink-swell is a different phenomenon from subsidence.) Drainage (See previous discussion and definitions) Poor Limitations would be severe for foundations, lawn s, shrubs, and gardens and very severe for septic systems. Somewhat poor Lim itations would be none to slight for foundations; moderate for lawns, shrubs, and gardens; and severe for septic systems. Moderately well or well Limitations are none to slight for foundations, lawns, shrubs, and gardens, and moderate for septic systems. Excessive Limitations are none to slight for foundations and septic systems, but moderate for lawns, shrubs, and gardens. 23

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Flooding The occurrence of floo ding is a factor frequently overl ooked in planning the use and management of land. Flooding may not occur on an area for many years; then a serious flood can occur. Urban development on the watershed of a small stream can increase runoff by as much as 75 percent, thus greatly increasing flood hazards. Soils may give an indication of flooding, but records must be studied to determine the true condition. Position in the landscape and proximity to nearby streams are good indicators of frequency of flooding. In contests, this is normally given information. No flooding Slight limitations for any use. Occasional flooding Less frequent than one year in five Severe limitations for development. Frequent flooding Flooding is at least as frequen t as one y ear in five. Very severe limitations for development. Summary Table (Table 9 ) Table 9. Summary of factors affecting limitations. Planned Use and Interpretation Characteristic Foundations Lawns, Shrubs, and Gardens Septic Systems Texture: Sandy Loamy Clayey Organic Slight Slight Severe Severe Moderate Slight Severe Severe (No Rating) Permeability: Rapid Moderate Slow Slight Slight Moderate Moderate Slight Moderate Slight Slight Severe Depth: Shallow Moderately deep Deep Severe Moderate Slight Very Severe Slight Slight Very Severe Severe Slight Slope: Nearly level Gently sloping Moderately sloping Strongly sloping Steep Very steep Slight Slight Moderate Severe Very Severe Very Severe Slight Slight Moderate Severe Very Severe Very Severe Slight Slight Slight Moderate Severe Very Severe Erosion: None to slight Moderate Severe Very severe Slight Slight Moderate Severe Slight Slight Moderate Severe Slight Slight Moderate Severe Shrink-Swell: Low Moderate High Slight Moderate Severe (No Rating) Slight Moderate Severe Drainage: Poor Somewhat poor Moderately well & well Excessive Severe Slight Slight Slight Severe Moderate Slight Moderate Very Severe Severe Moderate Slight 24

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Planned Use and Interpretation Characteristic Foundations Lawns, Shrubs, and Gardens Septic Systems Flooding: None Occasional Frequent Slight Severe Very Severe Slight Severe Very Severe Slight Severe Very Severe How to Use the Homesite Evaluation Score Card The Homesite Score Card (Figure 7 ) is available separately as IFAS Publication SL144 (http://edis.if as.ufl.edu/SS145). 1. The total perfect score at o ne site is 70 points. 2. The total perfect score on Part I is 16 points. The total perfect score on Part II is 54 points (18 points for each use). 3. Part I of the score card has to do with those factors the contestant must determine about the site. With the exception of depth, shrink-swell, and flooding, the factors are similar to those for land judging. 4. After Part I is com pleted, determine the severity of limitations that the existing soil conditions impose on the planned uses as listed on Part II of the score card. 5. The final evaluation of the site is determined by the worst degree of limitation found for the particular planned use. 6. The contestants should be given 15 to 20 minutes to fill in the answers on their score cards on each site. 7. In order to insure that the contests are not lengthe ned too much by the addition of homesite evaluation, and that grading does not become too burdensome, several alternatives are possible; for example: a. Three land sites and one or two homesites to judge. b. Other. The primary concern is to make sure that ther e are enough interpretative uses required to test the contestants' skills in homesite evaluation. 25

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Figure 7. Homesite Evaluation score card. 26

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General Rules for Land Judging and Homesite Evaluation Contests 1. Do not use bulletins, books, notes, levels, drawi ngs, soil sa mples or other sources of assistance or information in the contest. It is permissible to carry a knife and a small bottle of water to moisten the soil for making a determination of surface texture. 2. Do not cop y information from others in the contest. 3. There will be no talking bet ween contestants during the time of the contest. 4. Twenty minutes will be allowed to make the placings on each field unless otherwise designated. 5. Location of t he fields for the contest will not be announced before the start of the contest. 6. It is very im portant that you comply with the rul es. Your cooperation is appreciated. Please pay close attention to guides or leaders and be prompt in following instructions. 7. Field 1 will be the first tie breaker. The tabul ators will continue in this manner with fields No. 2, 3, and 4 if necessary to break a tie. If a tie still exists a fter comparing scores from Fields 1 through 4, judges should either In the case of hand-graded scorecards, determine the winner based on the score of Part 1 of Field 1, Part 1 of Field 2, etc.; or In the case of machine-graded scorecards, declare a tie between individuals (and/or teams) having identical scores, and provi de duplicate plaques/rosettes to these individuals (and/or teams) as soon as possible following the contest. 8. Paid agricultural workers ar e ineligible to compete for prizes. 9. Decisions of the judges will be final! Acknowledgment Some of the ideas and material in this booklet have been obtained from several state and federal publications. Suggestions were made by many individuals in the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS); USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; the Florida Department of Education, Agribusiness and Natural Resources Education; and land judging coaches from around the state. Special appreciation is due Dr. G. Kidder, Professor Emeritus of Soil and Water Science, IFA S; Dr. V. W. Carlisle, Professor Emeritus (deceased) of Soil and Water Science, IFAS; and Mr. Robert W. Johnson, Retired Deputy State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This wealth of assistance is gratefully acknowledged. 27