Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The soils of Florida and their...
 Identification, characteristics...
 Index of soil series

Title: Soils of Florida and their crop adaptation
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00014971/00001
 Material Information
Title: Soils of Florida and their crop adaptation
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Bryan, O. C.
Publisher: Florida, Dept. of Agriculture,
Publication Date: 1962
Copyright Date: 1962
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00014971
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aaa7365 - LTQF
ajq0029 - LTUF
01399197 - OCLC
001825979 - AlephBibNum

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The soils of Florida and their crop adaptation
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Identification, characteristics and adaptation of Florida soils
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Index of soil series
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
Full Text


I/",. j il

1bO0. C. BRYAN


i j

R November 1962


and their



for the



DOYLE CONNER, Commissioner

Bulletin No. 42

Department of Agriculture



Soil Formation . ... .Page 5
Factors Involved in Soil Classification .. .Page 7
Significance of Soil Texture ... Page 9
Chemical Soil Properties ... Page 10
How Soils Are Named ... Page 11
Generalized Soil Map . .. Page 13



Well Drained Acid Soils Having
Loamy Material in Sub-soil .
Well Drained Non-Calcareous Sands
Having Loose Sandy Sub-soils .
Excessively Drained Non-Calcareous Sands .
Well Drained Calcareous Sands ...
Imperfectly Drained Acid Soils .
Imperfectly Drained Soils With Hardpan .
Poorly Drained Acid Soils . .
Soils Developed From and Influenced by Inter-
Mixtures of Lime and Phosphatic Materials .
Upland Soils Developed From Shallow
Beds of Sand Over Limestone .
Imperfectly Drained Soils Developed From Beds of
Sandy Clay and Heavy Phosphatic Limestone .
Imperfectly Drained Shallow Soils Over
Alkaline Materials . .
Poorly Drained Shallow Soils Over
Alkaline Materials . .

Page 13

Page 19
Page 21
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 25

Page 26

Page 29

Page 31

Page 31

Page 34

The Soils of Florida

Organic Soils . .

Soils Developed From River Flood Plain Deposits .

Colluvial Soils . .

Rocks and Marls . .

Miscellaneous Land ..' .

Soil Utilization . .

Soil Adaptation . .


Plate I Distance view of Lakeland sand .

Plate II Leon sand with hardpan .

Plate III Close up and distance view.

Plate IV

Plate V

Plate VI

Plate VII

Plate VIII

Plate IX

Plate X

Plate XI

Plate XII

Figure 1

Figure 2

Norfolk sandy loam .

Upland soils, North and Central Florida

Native vegetation on Lakeland fine sand

Upland soils, Florida Peninsula .

St. Lucie and Lakewood sands

Poorly drained acid soils .

Gainesville and Arredondo soils .

Fellowship clay loam .

Parkwood fine sandy loam .

Poorly drained neutral to
alkaline soils .

Bladen fine sand with native vegetation

Typical vegetation on Calcareous soil

Index of Soil Series . .

M ap . .

Page 35

Page 37

Page 38

Page 39

Page 40

Page 40

Page 43

Page 6

Page 6

Page 8

Page 14

Page 17

Page 18

Page 20

Page 24

Page 28

Page 30

Page 30

Page 32

Page 8

Page 27

Page 46

Page 49

Department of Agriculture


The first printing of this bulletin has become exhausted and
the demand for a second printing seems justified.

In preparing the second printing, much effort has been spent
in producing natural color monoliths of some thirty odd soils.
Emphasis has been placed on color, because of its essentiality for
identification purposes. The plates represent natural colors of
moist soils and can be used as practical guides in the field.

The original text and descriptive material remain the same
with only minor changes, but the plates have been arranged as near
the descriptive material as possible. This will be of considerable
assistance in the use of the bulletin.

Plates I, II, III, and Figure 1, on pages 6 and 8 respectively, will
serve as helpful introductory guides in understanding the more
detailed profiles in plates IV, VI, VIII and XII, in the main section
of the bulletin.

It is felt that an index of color plates and soil descriptions will
be helpful in practical use.

The Soils of Florida

O. C. Bryan*

Next to climate, Florida soils are her greatest natural resources,
and efficient management in modern agriculture demands a work-
ing knowledge of the inherent qualities of her soils. In order to
do this efficiently it becomes necessary to classify soils and give their
identification characteristics and crop adaptations. The purpose of
this bulletin is to bring together the available knowledge concern-
ing the soils of Florida, giving their general location, identifica-
tions, characteristics and crop adaptations. Special effort toward
abbreviation has been made without sacrificing information needed
for recognition and identification of the different soil groups and
types. Once the broad soil nomenclature is understood, more
details can be added.
The physical properties of a soil such as sands and loams, can
rarely be changed, yet they have more to do with crop adaptation
and use than the chemical properties. Chemical modifications of
most Florida soils are being changed each year through the use of
fertilizers. The science of nutrition is changing marginal land into
productive soils.

To a large degree, Florida soils consist of sands, sandy loams,
marls, peats and mucks, all of which require special attention and
care. Sands underlain with acid hardpan, marl or limestone are
different from typical sands and require different treatment. Deep
sands require different management than shallow sands. Further-
more, organic soils underlain with marl or limestone are different
from similar soils underlain with acid sands. Strange as it may
appear, variations within seemingly identical soils may be of such
magnitude as to make the difference between success and failure.
This is one of the major reasons for classifying soils according to
their inherent qualities and adaptation.
Soils are developed on the surface of the earth from the
weathered products of rocks, minerals and organic matter. A
mature soil is represented by layers or horizons of varying thick-
Technical Director, Soil Science Foundation, Lakeland, Florida

Department of Agriculture

nesses and colors. The upper layer may vary from a few inches to
several feet in thickness, and is known as the A horizon or zone of
leaching. The second layer which is also varied in thickness and
color is known as the zone of accumulations, or the B horizon. The
parent material from which the soil develops is known as the C
horizon. The texture and color of the various zones or horizons
are variable and often blend into each other, sometimes making it
difficult to know where one ends and the other begins. Plates I
and II below show the colors and thicknesses of Lakeland and Leon
Fine Sands. They represent dominant types in the state.

Plate I
Lakeland sand ranging from 4 to 10 feet in depth underlain with red sandy clay.

Plate II
Leon sand showing A and B Horizons.

The Soils of Florida

To the average layman soil classification may appear compli-
cated. But with a little study and care it can be understood and
put into practical application. Soil classification involves a sys-
tematic use of the physical and chemical soil qualities. Each of
these qualities has an influence on the fertility and use of the soil
and must be considered in classification. Since all the factors are
considered together, it is advisable to study them closely and simul-
taneously. They are listed as follows:
1 TOPOGRAPHY: Variations in topography, from hills to
level land usually observed by the layman, have a marked
influence on workability, erosion and irrigation. Di-
rectly and indirectly topography affects the fertility and
use of the soil, whether for cultivated crops, grazing or
2 NATIVE VEGETATION: The native vegetation readily
noted by the layman, is indicative of the inherent quali-
ties of a soil. Soils supporting hardwood are different
in fertility than soils supporting a scrubby type vegeta-
tion. Cypress is indicative of low wet land. Cabbage
palmetto is indicative of alkaline soils. Scrub palmetto
is indicative of acid soils.
3 DRAINAGE: Surface drainage is a significant factor af-
fecting crop adaptation and is easily noted by the lay-
man. The depth of the water table is also significant.
The internal drainage is not easily seen, yet essential in
soil values.
4 COLOR: Color is one of the first soil qualities to be noted
by the layman. Red, brown and black soils usually have
a higher inherent fertility than gray and light soils. Mot-
tled colors usually mean inadequate internal drainage.
5 THICKNESS AND DEPTH: The thickness of both the
surface and subsoil layers greatly influences the root
depth as well as the supply of moisture and nutrients.
This means a difference in the inherent values of the
soil. These qualities can be seen along ditches and road
cuts, or by probing into the soil.

Department of Agriculture

Plate III
Color profile on Norfolk sandy loam. Close view on left, and distance view
showing soil layers on right.

*K4aKi ~

Fig. 1
Bladen fine sand showing native vegetation.

The Soils of Florida

6 TEXTURE: Sands have a less inherent fertility than loams,
other factors being equal, but sands are more easily man-
aged than loams and clays. Clays are less valuable than
loams for cultivated crops because the fine texture is
hard when dry and workability is poor. Clay is not
easily recognized without careful examination.
7 STRUCTURE: The manner in which soil particles adhere
to each other has practical value. They may be loose
and incoherent or firm, compact and lumpy. They may
be hard when dry, and plastic when wet. Recognizing
these qualities is not difficult with a little study. These
structural properties markedly affect the movement of
soil moisture plant nutrients and workability.
8 REACTION: Strongly acid soils usually have less fertility
than neutral soils. Strongly alkaline soils are not to be
desired. The fertility of a soil depends to a large degree
on its reaction. This requires a chemical test.
9 PERMEABILITY centers around the textural and structural
qualities of the soil. These have a direct effect on the
rate of movement of soil water and nutrients. Per-
meability has a practical value in soil management and
10 PARENT MATERIAL: The materials from which soils
have developed influence their qualities and fertility, and
may be difficult to recognize. Soils derived from acid
sands, rocks and clays are usually less productive than
those derived from marls, phosphatic rock and limestone.
moisture is an essential soil fertility factor. The ability
of a soil to retain moisture is of marked practical value.
Moisture capacity is usually a combination of soil tex-
ture, structure and organic matter.

Soil texture is a somewhat complicated term and not easily
understood. Suffice it to say that all soils contain varying amounts
of individual sand, silt and clay particles. The sand particles (or
grains) range in diameter from 0.5 to 2 millimeters and have a
gritty feel when rubbed between the thumb and fingers. (There

Department of Agriculture

are approximately 25 millimeters in one inch). Silt varies from
0.5 to .002 millimeters in diameter and has'a floury feel between
the fingers, and the clay particles a diameter of .002 millimeters
or less. When dry, clay feels lumpy, but when moist the particles
have a soapy feel. The sand, silt and clay are commonly known
as soil separates in classification.
Variations in the amount of sand, silt, and clay separates consti-
tute a soil class such as sandy loams, loams, silt loams, clay loams,
sands and so forth. Sands are considered as light soils, whereas
clays are heavy soils, and loams intermediate. Since the clay par-
ticles are very, very small, they have a relatively high surface and
a much greater influence on soil moisture and other soil properties
than sand and silt. If the clay particles (separates) comprise as
much as 35% by weight of the soil, the class name becomes a clay.
Soils having 80% or more of the sand separates by weight are
classified as sands regardless of whether they be fine, medium or
coarse. Many Florida sands have less than 3 percent silt and clay
combined. Loam contains about 50% sand with the balance silt
and clay of varying proportions. All sands have a distinctly gritty
feel, loams a mixed gritty and sticky feel, and the clays a soapy
feel when wet, and hard when dry.
Soils are generally referred to by their series name. For ex-
ample, Lakeland sands and fine sands are referred to as Lakeland
soils, though in reality the types are Lakeland sands and fine sands.
When these class names such as sandy loams, sands, silts, clays,
etc., are included with the series name, the double name becomes
a soil type and the unit of soil classification. It is theoretically
possible for a soil series to have as many types as there are textural
class names, but this is rarely if ever encountered. As a rule a
series has 2 to 4 main types.

Only in a general sense do the chemical properties of a soil
have practical value. For example, soils having a phosphatic origin
usually contain a reserve of phosphates and require little or no

The Soils of Florida

phosphate fertilizer. Organic soils are usually high in nitrogen and
require little or no nitrogen fertilizer. Clay and loam soils usually
need more phosphates than sands, and sands require relatively
more nitrogen and potash than loams. Practically all Florida soils
need some type of fertilizer. Some require emphasis on trace
elements, others potash, others nitrogen, others phosphates and
others a balanced mixture of all nutrients.

Years of experience have shown that the total plant nutrients
in a soil cannot be used as a dependable guide for fertilizer prac-
tices. A soil may contain 1000 or more pounds of total nitrogen
per acre and still respond to nitrogen fertilizer. This is also true
for phosphates and potash. Modern agriculture demands a knowl-
edge of what is soluble and available for current crops. Since
nitrogen and potash are required in large amounts and are subject
to leaching, their availability to a large degree depends on season
and moisture. Since phosphates and the trace elements (copper,
manganese and zinc) tend to accumulate in the soil with years of
application, it is not necessary to apply them as often as nitrogen
and potash. A large percent of Florida soils are acid in nature
and need soil amendments in the form of Dolomite, lime, hard-
wood ashes, slag, etc., for best results.


Groups of soils having a similar range (by definition) of all
physical and chemical properties except texture or surfaces are
given the name Soil Series as a matter of convenience. This is
done by the U. S. Soil Survey Division. The series name is a place
(town, county or river) where the series was first officially de-
scribed. The Lakeland, Gainesville and Orlando series are typical
examples of geographic place names designating where the soils
were first officially described. The term SOIL TYPE is a double
name including the series name and the textural class name. Soil
classification is a method of helping identify soils.

Experience and observation show that soil properties are asso-
ciated with crop adaptation. The Gainesville and Hernando soils
(in the citrus belt) are inherently good soils for citrus and a wide
range of crops. On the other hand, the Leon soils in the same

Department of Agriculture

area are not good citrus soils because of depth and presence of
an acid impervious hardpan. Yet, when moisture is controlled
and properly fertilized, the Leon soils make good pasture and truck
crop lands.

A careful examination of any soil reveals a range of the different
variants. This is well illustrated with the Leon soils which may
have a hardpan at anywhere between 15 and 30 inches in depth.
This pan may be underlain with sand, clay or marl. It may be
irregular and wavy and extremely hard. It may be 3 to 4 inches
or 10 to 12 inches thick. Furthermore, there may be two hardpans
within the 30 inch layer. When these variations are not significant
they are referred to as soil phases. When the hardpan is less ce-
mented and occurs between 40 and 42 inches, the value of the soil is
altered to the extent of justifying another soil series which has been
officially named Immokalee. If the depth of Lakeland soil is
greater than 72 inches, the practical value is altered to the extent
of justifying another series. In this case the series Kershaw is
given. Thus it may be seen that the name soil series has a range
of characterization, and a soil type is a double name including
texture and series name, and soil phase is a variation within a type
but insufficient to justify a series. In practice the soil series has
a range of variants arbitrarily chosen. It is well for the layman
to consider related soils and how they differ. For example, the
Lakeland soils differ from the Norfolk soils in having less fine
material in the subsoil. The Kershaw soils are deeper and less
coherent than the Lakeland soils. All three groups have about
the same color, namely a gray surface with a yellow subsoil.

To date two to three hundred soil types and more than a
thousand soil phases have been described in Florida. Special effort
is made in this bulletin to list the distinguishing characteristics
of the major soil series in the State, omitting the types and phases.
This plan is followed because it is more difficult for the layman
to understand the significance of the series than it is to understand
soil types and phases. Once the series is understood, the types and
phases can be added without too much difficulty.

The Soils of Florida

Because of space and scale, it is not possible to give details in
a generalized soil map. Within any group of soils there are areas
of intermixed soils due to local variations such as drainage, topog-
raphy, parent material, etc., which are too small to show. This is
well illustrated in the ridge section of the Florida peninsula which
is dominantly Lakeland soil. Yet areas of Leon, Blanton and other
types are intermixed. The imperfectly drained areas of the state
commonly known as flatwoods, consist largely of Leon soils. Yet
they contain areas of Lakeland, Scranton, Blanton, Bladen and
many other intermixed types which are impossible to show on a
generalized map. Only in a general way can they be shown. The
red soils of West Florida contain areas of gray and black soils.
So it becomes necessary to have a working knowledge of the char-
acteristics of the different soils (series). This information is
necessary for identification and local use. Oftentimes soils are so
intermixed that it becomes difficult to recognize which is which.
When this occurs they are called a soil complex designating the
series involved.
The identification characteristics and crop adaptation of the
major described soil series in Florida are given on the following
pages. As new areas are mapped, additional soil series will no
doubt be described and officially named. Less than one-half of the
state has detailed surveys, but the series given in this publication
include over 80% of the soils in the state. The official description
of a soil series includes much detailed information. But due to
limited space and practical value to the layman, this is not deemed
advisable in this bulletin. For convenience and simplicity, the
distinguishing characteristics of the related soil series are presented
in an abbreviated manner in groups as follows:
These soils are developed from marine beds of non-calcareous
sands and clays. They represent the rolling uplands in West
Florida and portions of the uplands in the Peninsula. They sup-
port a native vegetation of pines, hardwood and oak, and have
good natural drainage. They constitute a high percent of the farm
land in West Florida. The rolling and hilly types are subject to
erosion. There are four groups of related series in this division.

Department of Agriculture

Plate IV
Upland Soils, North and Central Florida.

Orange- Ruston Tifton
Actual depth of profile is 48 inches.

Norfolk Chiefland Arre- Hernando

The Soils of Florida 15

Legend for Soil Series (Monoliths)
The soil columns shown in Plates IV, VI, VIII and XII represent
typical Florida soils. They were secured with a slab-like cutting device to
maintain the soil profiles in their natural and moist conditions. Each profile
represents typical colors for the SERIES shown. Many soil series have more
than one type due to textural variations as outlined on page 11. The
dominant colors in the profiles are of sufficient consistency to be used for
identification purposes.
A Gray surface soils over a yellow subsoil which increases
in fine material with depth:
(See plate IV for detail color of profiles)

(1) NORFOLK SOILS have a gray to yellowish gray sur-
face to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. This passes into
a grayish yellow to yellow sandy loam material at
a depth of 15 to 20 inches. This is underlain with
a friable yellow and red mottled sandy clay from
18 to 30 inches in depth. Plate III.

(2) TIFTON SOILS differ from the Norfolk in having a
finer texture and iron pebbles throughout the
profile. (Plate IV)

(3) MARLBORO SOILS are distinguished from the Nor-
folk soils in having a rather shallow surface and
higher content of fine material throughout the
profile. They are also somewhat more fertile than
the Norfolk soils. They occur in small areas in
some West Florida counties.

CROP ADAPTATION: When properly managed and fertilized,
these soils make good farm land for watermelons, bright to-
bacco, peanuts, corn, cotton, sweet potatoes as well as pasture
lands. They are not adapted to such crops as celery and straw-
berries. They are also good timber lands.

B Brown to gray surface soils passing into a brownish
yellow, and then a bright red friable sandy clay, at 10
to 15 inches.
(1) ORANGEBURG SOILS have a brownish gray surface
0-4 inches in depth passing into a yellow to brown-
ish yellow loamy sand to sandy loam at 5 to 15
inches. This passes abruptly into a bright red fri-

Department of Agriculture

able sandy clay which extends to a depth of 50
inches or more. (Plate IV)
This red sandy clay is underlain with red fri-
able sandy clay mottled with yellow and gray.
(2) MAGNOLIA SOILS are distinguished from the
Orangeburg soils in having thinner surface and
a heavy friable sandy clay subsoil.

CROP ADAPTATION: The Orangeburg and Magnolia soils have
a little better natural fertility than the Norfolk soils. They
make good cotton, peanut, corn and shade tobacco soils com-
prising most of the shade tobacco land in the Quincy area.
They make good pasture and timber lands.
C Brownish-gray surface soils over reddish yellow to yel-
lowish red sandy clays:
(1) RUSTON SOILS are intermediate in color between
the Norfolk and Orangeburg soils. The range in
color and depth is not as uniform as that of the
Orangeburg soils. (Plate IV)
(2) FACEVILLE SOILS differ from the Ruston soils in
having a heavier, friable sandy clay in the subsoil
(3) CARNEGIE SOILS are distinguished from the Face-
ville soils by having brown iron pebbles through-
out the profile.
(4) CUTHBERT SOILS differ from the Ruston soils in
having a tough, more compact reddish yellow sub-

CROP ADAPTATION: These soils have about the same crop
adaptation as the Norfolk and Tifton soils.
D Red surface soils having red subsoils:
(1) GREENVILLE SOILS have a dark red to brownish
red surface to a depth of 7 to 8 inches. This passes
into a dark red, heavy friable sandy clay overlying
a heavy sandy clay which is slightly mottled with
yellow and gray at 50 to 60 inches. The subsoil
may be influenced by limestone.

The Soils of Florida

Plate V
Native vegetation of oak and pine on Lakeland fine sand.

(2) RED BAY SOILS are distinguished from the Green-
ville soils in having less fine material in the surface
and subsoil and the absence of lime influence.

(3) BLAKELY SOILS are redder than Greenville soils
throughout the profile.

CROP ADAPTATION: These soils have about the same crop
adaptation as the Orangeburg and Magnolia soils. They are
used for general farm crops and pasture, but are too heavy for
shade tobacco. The clay types are not suited for cultivated
crops. They represent the red land in the Marianna, Talla-
hassee and other areas.

18 Department of Agriculture

Plate VI
Upland soils. Florida Peninsula.

Gaines- Eustis Orlando Lakeland Vaucluse Lake- Blanton
ville wood
See legend on page 15.
Actual depth of profile is 48 inches.

The Soils of Florida

These soils were developed from beds of non-calcareous sands
over beds of acid sandy clays. They represent the greater part of
the high sand ridges in the Peninsula and north central Florida,
and the deep sands in the western counties. They support a native
vegetation of long leaf pine and blackjack oak which is scrubby
in nature on the deep sands. They have a wide range in depth
and use, comprising most of the acreage now grown to citrus and
farm crops in the Florida Peninsula. The deep sands in the western
counties have little crop value. (There are six series described in
this group.)

Gray surface soils over yellow sandy subsoils:
(1) LAKELAND SOILS have a gray surface 0-4 inches in
depth underlain by a smooth yellow to pale yellow
sand ranging in depth from 30 to 70 inches. This
yellow sand overlies a thin layer of loamy sand
resting directly on a reddish and gray mottled fri-
able sandy clay which is several feet in depth.
(Plate VI)
(2) KERSHAW SOILS are deep sands and are distin-
guished from the Lakelaiid soils being lighter in
color, deeper and more drought. The red friable
sandy clay ranges from 6 to 30 feet below the

(3) VAUCLUSE SOILS represent a shallow phase of Lake-
land soil with a red compact sandy clay occurring
within 30 inches. (Plate VI)
(4) BLANTON SOILS are distinguished from the Lake-
land soils in having a less elevated position and a
pale yellow to gray splotched subsoil. (Plate VI)

(5) EUSTIS SOILS are distinguished from the Lakeland
soils in having a reddish color in both the surface
and subsoil. They have about the same native
vegetation as the Lakeland soils and are underlain
with beds of red friable sandy clay. (Plate VI)

Department of Agriculture

Plate VII
St. Lucie sand on left and Lakewood sand on right, with sand (scrub) pine.
The road cut is 8 to 10 feet deep.

(6) ORLANDO SOILS differ from the Lakeland soils in
having a dark gray surface ranging from 8 to 15
inches in depth. This passes into a pale yellow to
gray subsoil to a depth of 42 inches. This may be
over sandy clay, sand, or brown sandy clay.
(Plate VI)

CROP ADAPTATIONS: Although these soils are inherently low
in plant nutrients they make good citrus and subtropical fruit
soils in the citrus belt when properly fertilized and managed.
They are used for watermelons, cucumbers and general farm
crops north of the citrus belt, with the exception of the Kershaw
sands which have little crop value outside of the citrus belt.

The Soils of Florida

These sands comprise the white to light gray rolling dune-like
sands occurring in the upland sections of the state, particularly the
peninsular counties. They are largely quartz sand probably devel-
oped from beach sand and contain very little organic matter and
plant food. They support a scrubby vegetation consisting of scrub
oak, sand pine, rose mary, and other scrubby plants.
(1) LAKEWOOD SANDS are characterized by light gray
loose sand 0-3 inches in depth, underlain with a
white, loose incoherent sand which passes into an
orange colored sand at 10 to 30 inches in depth.
(Plates VI, VII)
(2) ST. LUCIE SAND differs from Lakewood sand in that
the white sandy material extends several feet in
depth, void of any orange color. (Plate VII)

These sands were developed from beds of sand mixed with
shells or beds of sand over limestone.
They represent level to ridge areas in the southeast counties
and usually support a dense vegetation of seagrapes, palmetto and
subtropical plants.
(1) PALM BEACH SAND has a gray to speckled brown
salt and pepper like sand to a depth of 4 to 6
inches. This passes into a light grayish-brown to
brownish-yellow sand grading into yellow sand or
marl. Fragments of shells are usually present in
the surface.
(2) DADE SAND has a gray surface 0-5 inches in depth
which passes into a light gray sand underlain with
Oolitic limerock (Plate XII) anywhere from 10 to
30 inches in depth, which has an irregular pot-hole-
like appearance. They are somewhat drought, and
similar to St. Lucie sand, except for Oolitic lime.

CROP ADAPTATION: When fertilized and properly managed,
including irrigation, these sands are adapted to a wide range
of subtropical and truck crops, including citrus, where the
Oolitic rock is not too near the surface.

Department of Agriculture

Dark gray to black soils supporting pine, oak and hammock
They represent level to gently sloping lands, between the well
drained and poorly drained soils. They have a variable content
of organic matter and a high moisture capacity. Furthermore,
the high water table favors the surface moisture. They are not as
extensive as the Leon soils, but occur in considerable acreage over
the State. Six related series are given below:
(1) SCRANTON SOILS have a dark gray to black sur-
face ranging from 8 to 12 inches in depth. This
passes into a light brownish gray to pale yellow at
a depth of 30 to 36 inches. (Plate VIII)
(2) ONA SOILS differ from the Scranton soils in being
less productive and having a brown to grayish
brown stained layer underneath the surface,
which is not as thick as that of the Scranton
soils. (Plate VIII)
(3) LYNCHBURG SOILS may be characterized as imper-
fectly drained Norfolk soils.
(4) HOFFMAN SOILS differ from the Norfolk soils in
having a more compact subsoil which retards water
movement, often causing seepage. The underlying
sandy clay has pink and yellow mottlings.
(5) GRADY SOILS occur as poorly drained depressions
among the red and yellow soils of West Florida.
They have a dark gray to yellow subsoil over a
bluish tough sandy clay at 18 to 30 inches.
(6) KANAPAHA SOILS are similar to the Blanton soils
except in having a lighter surface, and being af-
fected by underlying phosphatic limestone.

CROP ADAPTATION: These soils make excellent truck crops
such as strawberries, cabbage and tomatoes, as well as farm
land when properly fertilized and managed. The imperfectly
drained subsoil usually requires open ditches for surface drain-

The Soils of Florida

age. These soils also make good pasture lands and good citrus
soils in the citrus belt.


These soils are commonly known as pine and scrub palmetto
flatwoods. They occur in extensive areas in the Florida Peninsula.
(See Figure 2.) They were developed from beds of acid sands
representing level to slightly undulating sand of imperfect drain-
age. To the inexperienced farmer they are deceptive because of
the impervious hardpan layer underneath which is strongly acid,
and markedly hinders root growth as well as the movement of soil
water, up or down. In their natural condition, they have a limited
agricultural value, being used for range and forest lands, with some
improved pasture grasses. But with proper moisture, fertilizer and
management, they grow good pasture and certain crops success-
fully. Four soil series are listed as follows:
(1) LEON SOILS are characterized by a gray, salt and
pepper like surface 4 to 8 inches in depth overlying
a light gray sand which passes into a brown or-
ganic hardpan between 15 and 30 inches in depth.
(See Plate VIII.) This hardpan may be over sand,
clay or marl.

(2) IMMOKALEE SOILS differ from the Leon soils in
depth, having a less cemented organic hardpan at
30 to 42 inches in depth.

(3) POMELLO SANDS are intermediate between the St.
Lucie and Leon sands, having a hardpan at 42
inches or below, and a very light gray surface.
(Plate VIII.)

(4) ST. JOHNS SOILS differ from the Leon soils in hav-
ing a dark gray to black surface, and less drainage.

CROP ADAPTATION: When moisture is controlled, drained
and or irrigated as needed, the soils make good lands for cer-
tain crops if limed and properly fertilized. They are deficient
in all plant nutrients, requiring a complete fertilizer including

Department of Agriculture

Plate VIII. Poorly Drained Acid Soils.

., ..


-. .
*~ *.a,.

Scranton Ona Bladen Leon Pomello Plummer Rutlege

See legend on page 15.
Actual depth of profile is 48 inches.

' "J

The Soils of Florida

most trace elements. They are strongly acid. The impervious
hardpan makes possible surface irrigation with shallow ditches
(seepage), as well as sub-irrigation which is done in the San-
ford celery area. They also grow good truck crops such as
cabbage, tomatoes and beans as well as corn, sugar cane and
other crops. They are not adapted to citrus, tung nuts, cotton,
tobacco and peanuts.
A-A gray to light gray surface soil.
These soils were developed from beds of acid sands and
sandy clays in the level to undulating sections of the state.
They are commonly known as Grassy Flatwoods. Extensive
areas occur on the east coast in the St. Johns and Kissimmee
river valleys. In their native condition they support pine, oak,
hardwood and grasses. Five series are presented as follows:
(1) BLADEN SOILS have a gray surface 4 to 8 inches in
depth underlain with a yellowish gray mottled
plastic sandy clay. (Plate VIII.)
(2) COXVILLE SOILS differ from Bladen soils in hav-
ing yellowish to reddish mottled plastic sandy clay
(3) PLUMMER SOILS have a dingy gray sand to a depth
of 36 inches. (Plate VIII.)
(4) RAINS SOILS differ from the Plummer in having a
gray sandy clay within 30 inches of depth.
(5) REX SOILS are similar to the Coxville soils, except
higher in elevation, and less plastic subsoils.

CROP ADAPTATION: In their natural conditions these soils are
used for timber and range lands, with some improved pasture
grasses. They require drainage for cultivated crops. This is
usually done with surface ditches and canals. When drained
and properly fertilized they are adapted to a wide range of
crops such as potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and other truck crops,
as well as corn, sugar cane, clover and pasture grasses. They
usually require lime for best results. The BLADEN and COX-
VILLE soils represent the best potato land in the Hastings area.
When located in the citrus belt they grow good citrus if drained

Department of Agriculture

and properly managed. But they are not adapted to cotton,
tobacco and peanuts because of the imperfectly drained subsoil.
B-Black to dark gray surface soils.
These soils were developed from beds of acid sands and
clays. They occur in the level and depression areas through-
out the state. They have a relatively high content of organic
matter. In their native conditions they support pine, prairie
grass, hardwood, gallberry and palmetto.
(1) BAYBORO SOILS have a dark gray to black surface
4 to 10 inches deep. This is underlain with a
medium gray loamy fine sand which passes into
mottled or streaked yellowish brown, heavy plastic
(2) PORTSMOUTH SOILS have a dark gray to black
sandy surface underlain within 30 inches with a
light gray sandy loam, or sandy clay.
(3) RUTLEGE SOILS differ from the Portsmouth soils in
having a lighter textured subsoil. (Plate VIII.)
(4) HYDE SOILS have a dark gray to black color through-
out the profile.

CROP ADAPTATION: When drained and properly fertilized and
managed, these soils make good truck and pasture lands. They
are not used for deep rooted crops such as citrus, except in
special cases of moisture control.

These soils were developed from sands intermixed with lime
and phosphate rock. They occur in scattered areas over the well
drained to the poorly drained soils. Considerable acreage of the
upland types is found in Alachua, Marion, Hernando, Pasco, Hills-
borough and Sumter Counties. The poorly drained types occur in
varied acreage in nearly all the coastal counties. The native vege-
tation of the rolling uplands varies from pine to hardwood ham-
mocks to that for the poorly drained types consisting of pine,
cabbage and saw palmetto and grass, to a scrub type vegetation
in the southern counties. These soils are generally considered as

The Soils of Florida

Fig. 2. Typical vegetation of cabbage palmetto and pine on soils underlain
with calcareous materials.

having a higher inherent fertility than non-calcareous soils of
similar texture and drainage.
A-Rolling uplands soils developed from intermixed beds of
phosphatic sand and lime (phosphatic pebbles are usually
present in the subsoil layers).
(1) GAINESVILLE SOILS are characterized by a brown
to reddish brown surface to a pale reddish yellow
to chocolate brownish subsoil. Chert and phos-
phatic pebbles are usually found in the lower layers
of the subsoil. Where the depth is shallow, they
are called HAGUE soils, which in a sense is a shal-
low phase of the Gainesville soils. (Plate IX.)

Department of Agriculture

Plate IX. Gainesville sandy loam, left. Arredondo fine sand, right.

(2) ARREDONDO SOILS are characterized by a grayish
brown surface over a pale yellow to light yellowish
brown subsoil underlain with phosphatic beds of
clay. They have a more brownish color than the
Lakeland soils, but are less brown than the Gaines-
ville. (Plate IX.)

(3) FORT MEADE SOILS are characterized by dark gray
to black surface with brownish gray to light gray
subsoils containing phosphatic pebbles.

CROP ADAPTATION: These soils have a relatively high inher-
ent fertility, most of them carrying considerable phosphatic

The Soils of Florida

reserves. They represent good citrus lands in the citrus belt
and good lands for general farm crops in the northern counties.
When irrigated they make good land for most Florida crops.

B-These soils represent rolling to undulating lands in the
north central counties. The native vegetation consists
of long leaf pine and oak. The following series have
been described:
(1) COCOA SOILS are lighter in color than the Gaines-
ville soils and are influenced by and underlain with
coquina rock instead of phosphatic limestone.
(2) HERNANDO SOILS are characterized by a brownish
gray surface 3 to 6 inches in depth, underlain with
a yellowish brown sandy material from 18 to 24
inches thick. This material passes into a sandy
calcareous clay over limestone. (Plate IV.)
(3) JONESVILLE SOILS differ from the Hernando soils
in having a deeper sandy material ranging from 30
to 60 inches in depth to the sandy clay over lime.
(4) ARCHER SOILS differ from the Hernando soils in
having a reddish brown, firm to compact, heavy
sandy clay over the limestone.
(5) CHIEFLAND SOILS are similar to Blanton soils, ex-
cept for limestone underneath. (Plate IV.)
(6) SUWANNEE SOILS have a dark gray surface similar
to Scranton soils, but better drained, and have
limestone underneath.

CROP ADAPTATION: When properly managed and fertilized
these soils are adapted to a wide range of general farm crops
such as corn, cotton, tobacco, peanuts, etc., and to citrus as well
as subtropical crops where the climate is favorable.
The sands underlain with clay loams and sandy clays within
30 inches are considered better farm lands than the deeper
sands. Due to the moisture relationships they do not represent
the highest grade of pasture land without irrigation. They are
not adapted to strawberries and potatoes.

Department of Agriculture

Plate X
Profile of Fellowship clay loam (left) showing variation in colors, and eroded
bank (right).

Plate XI
Profile of Parkwood fine sandy loam (left). Right shows deep view underlain
with shelly marl 6 feet.

The Soils of Florida


C-These soils represent the rolling to undulating hammock
lands in the central part of the state, extending from
Pasco to Alachua Counties. The subsoils are usually plastic
and impervious. Two series have been described in this
(1) FELLOWSHIP SOILS are characterized by a gray to
dark gray surface 8 to 12 inches thick with mottled
gray to brown and reddish brown impervious and
plastic sandy clay to clay subsoil. (Plate X for
range of colors.) Phosphatic pebbles are usually
present in the subsoil. The subsoil layers are rather
impervious, with a slow movement of soil mois-
ture, creating a seepage condition on rolling land.
(2) BLICHTON SOILS are differentiated from the Fel-
lowship soils in being lighter in color and having
a deeper surface with less plastic subsoil materials.
CROP ADAPTATION: When properly fertilized and managed,
the level phases of these soils make good truck and farm soils,
but in most cases they require drainage. The rolling sands and
sandy loams make good farm land. But the loams and heavier
types are unsuited for farm crops. They are rather seepy dur-
ing rainy seasons. They make good pasture and timber lands,
and good citrus in the citrus belt if properly managed.

These soils were developed from beds of sand over lime-
stone, marl (a calcareous clay) and shells.
They occur in scattered areas over the state, especially in the
coastal counties. The native vegetation consists of oak, pine, cab-
bage palmetto, hardwood and wire grass. They have a dark gray
to gray surface 4 to inches thick, with varied subsoil differences.
The soil forming materials are intermixed, creating many shades
and gradations as indicated below:
(1) PARKWOOD SOILS have a dark gray surface passing

Felda Sunni-

Plate XII Poorly Drained Neutral to Alkaline Soils.

:.i 'm.
S. .. .

m h~A~ U

I-.: .


Dade Arzell

e ,J

Delray Peat Perrine Rock-
S Marl ale


'. ..-.


The Soils of Florida

into a light gray sandy mantle over a friable gray
marl within 30 inches. (Plates XI, XII.)
(2) KERI SOILS differ from the Parkwood soils in having
a gray sand with a marl sandwich 6 to 12 inches
thick at 20 to 30 inches in depth.
(3) BRADENTON SOILS differ from the Parkwood
soils in being lighter in color, better drained, and
having a grayish brown sandy clay subsoil over
(4) BROWARD SOILS differ from the Parkwood soils in
having a brownish gray sandy subsoil over lime-
stone instead of marl.
(5) ADAMSVILLE SOILS represent deep beds of sand
having a gray Leon-like surface with a brownish
yellow sandy subsoil extending to 42 inches or
more underlain with shelly marl.
(6) RUSKIN SOILS represent shallow beds of sands that
differ from the Leon and Immokalee soils in that
they lack the organic hardpan and overlie a shelly
marl at medium depths.
(7) SUNNILAND SOILS differ from the Bradenton soils
in that they overlie clayey sediments instead of
marl. (Plate XII)
(8) PANASOFFKEE SOILS have a light gray surface over
a gray loose sand, weakly cemented over gray plas-
tic clay which is underlain with limestone. BUSH-
NELL soils differ from the Panasoffkee soils in
having siliceous rocks throughout the profile.

CROP ADAPTATION: Due to their low elevation, these soils re-
quire drainage for cultivated crops. This is usually done by
making wide beds, leaving a ditch between them, permitting
easy movement of water to canals or large outlets. When
drained and properly fertilized, these soils are adapted to a
wide range of crops such as cabbage, beans, tomatoes, corn,
sugar cane, citrus and subtropical fruits, as well as clover and
pasture grasses. The deeper types may be acid and will require
lime for some crops. They are not adapted to such crops as
cotton, tobacco and peanuts.

Department of Agriculture

These soils have developed from beds of sand over cal-
careous clays and marls.
They occur in level areas and depressions scattered over the
coastal counties. In their native condition they support gum, oak,
cabbage palmetto, pine, grass and shrubs. Several series have
been described as follows:
(1) MANATEE SOILS have a black surface 12 to 15
inches thick, underlain with a gray sandy clay
loam (within 30 inches) which passes into marl
within 42 inches.
(2) COPELAND SOILS differ from the Parkwood soils in
being underlain with hard marl or limestone.
(3) POMPANO SOILS have a gray sandy surface under-
lain with a pale brown fine sand to 30 inches or
more in depth. They resemble Plummer soils in
color, but have a neutral to alkaline reaction. Cal-
careous clay material usually occurs below 30
inches. (Plate VIII).
(4) MATMON SOILS have a brown surface, developed
from thin beds (0-12") of marine sand mixed
with residues of moderately soft to hard limestone
which is irregular in depth.
(5) FEIDA SOILS have a dark gray surface 4 to 8 inches
thick. This passes into a light gray fine sand and
silty material, underlain with a yellow mottled
brown alkaline clayey sediment over shelly marl.
(Plate XII).
(6) DELRAY SOILS have a black surface sometimes
mucky fine sand which passes into a gray sand
underlain with limestone. (Plate XII).
(7) CHARLOTTE SOILS have a grayish brown surface
with a yellowish to reddish yellow fine sand at 12
to 24 inches, and may have sandy clay or shelly
marl below 30 inches. (Plate XII).
(8) ARZELL SOILS have a light gray to gray surface 0 to
4 inches thick, underlain with a white to grayish

The Soils of Florida

brown fine sand which is less acid than St. Lucie
sand. (Plate XII).
The Davie soils were developed along the outer edges of the
Florida Everglades from shallow layers of peat and muck over beds
of marine sand underlain with limestone. After these areas were
drained, much of the peat and muck have burned, or oxidized so
that the sand is exposed in many places.
CROP ADAPTATION: Due to low elevation these soils require
drainage for cultivated crops. But during dry winters and
spring, vegetable and truck crops may be grown when prop-
erly fertilized and managed. They are not generally used for
citrus. But if water is controlled (drainage as well as irriga-
tion), citrus and truck crops as well as clover and pasture
grasses can be grown successfully when properly fertilized and

Organic soils were developed from beds of water-loving plants
submerged in water. This submergence retards oxidation and decay,
hence the accumulation. Organic soils are divided into two major
classes, namely MUCKS and PEATS. (Plate XII.) The mucks rep-
resent the deposits which have advanced in disintegration to the
extent that the original plant parts leaves and stems are not
visible to the eye. They are usually black in color and have a min-
eral content ranging from 10 to 50% or more, whereas peat soils
are usually brown, showing a fibrous material of varying degrees
of brown and black colors, and parts of the original plants are
still in evidence. The mineral content of the peats ranges from
6 to 12%. The depth varies from a few inches to several feet in
both groups. The underlying materials vary from acid to neutral
sands and clays, to varying proportions of marl, shells and lime
intermixed with sand. Organic soils may have layers of clay and
marls sandwiched in at almost any depth, thus modifying their
Mixtures of peat and muck are called peaty mucks, and it is
not always easy to determine which dominates. Naturally, a wide
range exists. Areas in which sand is in evidence are known as
sandy mucks. Variations in depth and underlying material are
almost unlimited, creating differences in color, use and crop adap-

Department of Agriculture

station. Several different types of peat have been described and
given official names in the state. But a detailed discussion of them
is not deemed advisable at this time.
The native vegetation varies from trees such as myrtle, elder-
berry, cypress, willow and custard apple on the mucks, to saw-
grass on the peats, with a wide range in gradations from one to
the other. Organic soils, especially peats, are subject to shrinkage
with drainage. Peats are also subject to fire damage during periods
of dry weather. All organic soils have relatively high moisture
capacity and capillary action, and their use depends on water con-
trol entirely. Since the shrinkage is severe when the moisture is
low, it is advisable to keep the water table high during off-crop
All the organic soils are high in nitrogen and relatively low in
phosphorus and potash, with varying amounts of calcium, depend-
ing on the underlying material. They are usually deficient in
trace minerals such as copper and manganese. Strongly acid peats
and mucks are not as desirable for cultivated crops as the slightly
acid to neutral types because of the high tonnage of lime required
to neutralize the acids. Areas of organic soils of varying degrees
of acid are found in most every county in the state. They all
represent good farm lands when water is controlled and properly
managed. Their inherent fertility varies with the mount of cal-
cium which is affected by the underlying material.
CROP ADAPTATION: With water control and proper manage-
ment, including the supply of trace elements, potash and other
needed nutrients, organic soils have a very high productive
capacity for truck and farm crops including pasture grasses.
Outstanding record of production can be secured under proper
management, oftentimes greatly exceeding that of mineral soils.
The Florida Everglades represents one if not the largest de-
posits of neutral organic soils of any tropical region in the
world. The discovery of the trace element needs of these de-
posits has been one of the outstanding contributions of science
to Florida agriculture during the past half century and has
transformed this large body of organic soils into productive
land. They are not generally planted to citrus. But the neutral
types produce good citrus and other subtropical fruit when
properly managed.

The Soils of Florida


A number of river flood plain soils have been given official
names. They represent narrow strips deposited along the streams,
especially in West Florida, and support a dense vegetation in-
cluding pine and grass. They are not extensive in acreage and
agricultural value. Only a few typical series will be presented in
this report.

A Second Bottom Soils no longer subject to overflow from

(1) MYATTE SOILS have a dark gray surface underlain
with a gray to yellowish gray mottled, sticky,
sandy clay over a gray and brown mottled clay.

(2) LEAF SOILS differ from the Myatte soils in having
a red, yellow and gray plastic clay in the lower
layers of the subsoil.

(3) KALMIA SOILS have a gray surface similar to the
Lakeland soils, but not as deep, occurring along
rivers in west Florida, and the western counties of
the peninsula.

(4) CAHABA SOILS represent second bottom terrace land
in west Florida and are similar to the Ruston soils
in color and structure, but not as deep.

CROP ADAPTATION: These soils are mostly used for forest and
grazing. They usually require surface drainage for cultivated
crops. When this is done they have about the same crop use
as the Blanton, Norfolk and Ruston soils.

B First Bottom Soils subject to overflow from streams:

(1) THOMPSON SOILS are similar in color to the Kal-
mia soils, and have about the same crop value.
They occur along the Suwannee River and other
west Florida rivers.

Department of Agriculture

(2) JOHNSTON SOILS represent river floor plain soils
similar in color to the Portsmouth soils. They
have about the same crop value as the Portsmouth
soils when drained.
(3) BIBB SOILS represent gray sands underlain with
white subsoils, not greatly different from St. Lucie
sands. But due to their moist conditions they
support a vegetation of pine, grass and hardwood.
They have little or no crop value.
(4) OCHLOCKONEE SOILS represent the brown to gray-
ish brown flood plains of the larger rivers in west
Florida. They have a brown to grayish brown
subsoil. They support a hardwood vegetation such
as tupelo and black gum. Some areas have fair
drainage, but in most cases drainage is required
for crop use. They have about the same crop
adaptation as the heavy types of Greenville and
Orangeburg soils.
Many other types of river flood plain soils are named, but they
have a relatively low agricultural value and will not be included
in this discussion.

Colluvial soils represent colluvial and alluvial material brought
down from higher elevations either by gravity or water. These
deposits support a dense vegetation of hardwood and hammock,
and vary in drainage.
(1) ALACHUA SOILS occur in depressions representing
moderately well drained mixed colluvial and allu-
vial materials from Gainesville, Arredondo and
Fort Meade soils. They have a brown to grayish
brown surface, 8 to 15 inches thick, underlain with
a yellow brown to pale brown loose, sandy subsoil
of varying depths. The depth of the recent de-
posits is quite variable and thins out as it extends
up the slopes, and as the subsoil approaches the
original parent surface soil it is difficult to dis-
tinguish between the colluvial and the parent soil.

The Soils of Florida

(2) JAMISON SOILS occur in depressions, or on slopes
associated with Lakeland, Archer, Hernando and
similar uplands. They differ from the Alachua soils
in having a lighter color throughout the profile.
The surface is yellowish gray, with a pale yellow
to yellowish gray subsoil. The drainage is usually

(3) GADSDEN SOILS represent material washed in from
more elevated areas. They occur in depressions
and along streams in west Florida and support a
hardwood hammock vegetation. They have a dark
gray surface underlain with a gray brown subsoil
which extends to 36 or more inches in depth.

CROP ADAPTATION: Because of the favorable moisture condi-
tions, these soils are especially suited to farm crops such as
corn, sugar cane, pasture grasses. They have a higher inherent
fertility than their parent soils.

Only in rare cases are rocks used for crop purposes. This is
being done to a considerable degree in Dade and Collier Counties
because of the subtropical climate and nature of the material. The
limerock is soft and irregular with pockets of sand and can be
scarified and crushed with machinery not unlike road construction
equipment, thus producing sufficient fine material to permit root
anchorage. Such lands (Rockdale Plate XII) are used for tomatoes,
avocado and other subtropical crops. Dade and Collier Counties
also have a large acreage of marls used for crop purposes during
the winter season. The marl is extremely fine in texture and may
contain 50% or more of lime. They vary from a few inches to
several feet in depth. To date several different types have been
named in the State such as Ochopee, Tucker, Perrine (PlateXII),
Hialeah and Flamingo. But a detailed description of each is not
deemed advisable at this time. When deep enough to permit root
anchorage they all will produce a number of truck crops success-
fully if properly managed and water controlled. Strange as it may
appear, marls grow good potatoes. (Plate XII.)

Department of Agriculture

(1) Marsh and Swamp land are very common in Florida, espe-
cially near the coast.
(2) Cypress ponds are also common, representing considerable
(3) Coastal beach include strips of light gray to white sand
containing varying admixtures of shells, grass, brush,
driftwood, etc. Some areas support a growth of live
oaks, seagrapes and other plants. They have no agri-
cultural value aside from residence, buildings and
camp sites.
(4) Mines and pits: In the process of mining phosphate and
lime comparatively large areas of land are stripped of
the overburden. Large mining pits are often left. The
overburden and waste material after washing are usu-
ally deposited on adjacent land, leaving a rugged ap-
pearance. Some pits are 50 to 100 feet in depth and
are used for fish and game. The overburden and waste
material grow up to varied types of vegetation and
These waste lands represent considerable acreage in the mining
districts. Aside from fish, game and grazing, they have little value.
When the rough overburden and pits are levelled off, they are
called made lands. Oftentimes building sites are elevated or filled
in, producing made land. Such made lands have a limited acreage
and agricultural use.

A relatively small percentage of the land in Florida is devoted
to cultivated crops. The combined acreage of citrus and truck
crops would not amount to more than two average counties. The
land used for farm crops and improved pastures is considerably
more than that for citrus and truck crops, leaving a large percent-
age of the lands in the state as timber, range, idle or waste lands.
The growing of timber is becoming a valuable industry, and the
choice of lands for timber and crops is a problem for the future
to decide. Grazing and/or crop soils can be altered to advantage,
but this is not so true with timber and tree crops.

The Soils of Florida

In the past, soils with the highest inherent fertility were chosen
for cultivated crops, leaving the less productive lands to forest.
Rough, hilly land and lands subject to erosion are naturally better
suited to forest and tree crops than to cultivated crops. Level
sandy lands underlain with clay and hardpan which are accessible
to water (from canals, wells or streams) are being successfully used
for cultivated crops. Two decades ago such soils were considered
marginal. These soils are inherently low in all nutrients but when
properly fertilized and managed they can be used to grow a wide
variety of cultivated crops because of the level terrain, available
water and workability. To what extent the vast acreage of Florida
Flatwoods which are now partially idle or range land, will be
used for intensified agriculture only time will tell.

The deep, drought sands are also low in inherent nutrients,
yet when located in the warmer belt, are being profitably used for'
citrus and other deep rooted tree crops. The deep sands do not
have as high a timber and grazing value as moist soils. Soil adap-
tation and utilization are not entirely what they used to be. Mois-
ture, topography and workability become strategic factors with
the new science of nutrition.

One of the chief problems of the farmer is that of choosing
the crop suited to the soil and or modifying the soil (moisture
and nutrition) to suit the crop in question. This is being done
on a large scale in Florida. Moisture control and fertilizers are
essential for successful operations of many Florida farms.

Experience over the years has shown that the basic factors re-
quired for the growing of crops are relatively few, namely (1)
moisture, (2) favorable temperature, (3) light, (4) air, (5) pest
control, (6) support or anchorage, and (7) nutrients. To a large
degree, the inherent qualities of the soil supply the moisture, root
anchorage and air relationships. Sunlight and temperature, usually
fixed factors, are not extensively modified in practice. Pest control
varies from locality to locality, partly under the control of the
operator. To a degree, farming Florida soils is similar to growing
plants in sand cultures. The operator provides adequate moisture
and proper nutrients, while the soil supports the plants. The use
of soluble chemicals as fertilizers involves a delicate problem. But

Department of Agriculture

it is proving successful with a wide range of crops including pas-
ture grasses. This is a common rather than the exceptional prac-
tice. Records show that more pounds of hay, forage and meat can
be grown on these seemingly poor soils than are being grown on
better soils in less favorable climates.

Regardless of the yardstick used in appraising land for crop
purposes, all methods point to the major influence of calcium and
magnesium in successful agriculture. Soil fertility seems to cen-
ter around a good supply of calcium, lime or Dolomite, either
native or supplied. Worldwide records confirm this repeatedly.
This is further confirmed by the marked response of many acid
soils in the state to the use of Dolomite, lime and other soil amend-
ments. The fertility of the organic soils in the Florida Everglades
is greatly influenced by the underlying calcareous materials. The
sandy soils underlain with calcareous material in the form of shells,
marls and or limestone are more to be desired than those underlain
with acid materials.

With few exceptions all Florida soils respond to some kind of
fertilizer. This is one of the major must factors to be considered.
Organic soils rarely need nitrogen but require trace elements,
phosphorus and potash. Soils derived from phosphatic materials
rarely need phosphates, yet must have other nutrients. Marls and
alkaline soils require more trace elements than sands and loams.
Red and yellow soils usually require relatively high amounts of
phosphates. Sands require practically all of the known nutrients.
Furthermore, sands are more susceptible to leaching losses than
clays and loams. This involves a time and rate factor in the use
of fertilizer. These principles have economic value, and a knowl-
edge of soil types is helpful.

The sands take precedence over loams and clays which have
a higher inherent fertility because sands are more workable and
the nutrition can be'better controlled. The value of soil classifica-
tion is of major importance in modern agriculture. The growing
of timber is becoming a major industry in the State, and it is quite
possible to profitably use idle land for timber growing. This is
especially true for the moist types. Since much of the sandy lands
are low in the essential plant nutrients, the use of fertilizers for
the growing of timber could become a worth while project.

The Soils of Florida

The records show that no one soil is best suited to all crops.
Likewise, no one crop is equally well suited to or adapted to all
Ssoils. Some soils are inherently higher in plant nutrients and avail-
able moisture than others. Furthermore, some crops have a limited
root system and require rather specific moisture and nutrient con-
ditions, while others seem to do well on a wide variety of soils.
Celery is a crop requiring relatively higher moisture than melons
and beans. Tobacco requires specific soil properties, while corn
and sugar cane can be successfully grown on a variety of soils.
Cabbage requires a higher fertility than peanuts. Strawberries
and potatoes are adapted to more acid soils than tomatoes and
Soil adaptation is partly a climatic factor. This is well illus-
trated with citrus, avocados and other tree crops being successfully
grown on acid sands when properly limed and fertilized in a
-favorable climate. Yet these crops are better adapted to soils
underlain with loams of a calcareous nature than to acid sands.
Tung trees are exceptions because they seem to be more sensitive
to lime than citrus. Many truck crops such as cabbage, tomatoes
and beans require more minerals and lime than cotton and corn.
Through a judicious use of lime and fertilizers, soil adaptation has
been greatly extended in Florida. It is true that the deep sands
such as St. Lucie, Lakewood, Kershaw and the deep phases of Lake-
land sands have a low mineral content and are inherently poor
soils. But with moisture, proper fertilizers and soil amendments,
they will grow deep-rooted crops like citrus. Even under these
conditions they are not as valuable as soils underlain with heavier
materials. Deep sands retain less moisture and are subject to
Severe leaching. They do not retain cover crops as well as the
heavier types. Sandy soils can be tilled and managed with greater
ease than heavier loams and clay soils. Although sands are more
susceptible to soil diseases, flooding them during the off-crop sea-
sons will help control this problem.
The value of a soil depends to a large degree on the underlying
material, such as sand, sandy loam, sandy clay, hardpan, shells,
marl, etc. Soils underlain with shells, marl and calcareous clays
are usually more desired than those underlain with acid clays and
hardpan, yet with proper use of lime, soil amendments and fer-

44 Department of Agriculture

tilizers, hardpan soils are being used successfully for a wide variety
of crops.
It appears possible that the usefulness of the vast acreage of
Hardpan Soils commonly known as Leon Soils can be extended to
include citrus and many other crops through the use of modern
technology, namely, the breaking and mixing of the hardpan with
minerals and lime, and adequate moisture control.
Such crops as cotton, bright tobacco and watermelons require
soils of moderate fertility which can be controlled. The loarpy
sands and sandy loams of the Norfolk, Tifton and related soils
with favorable topography are adapted to the production of these
crops. They all require fertilizer for profitable results. Peanuts
are best adapted to sands and sandy loams of less fertility than
cotton. Shade tobacco requires soils of higher inherent fertility
than cotton, watermelons and sweet potatoes. Orangeburg sandy
loam and sandy loams of related soils are well suited to the pro-
duction of shade tobacco.
Corn, sugar cane and small grains are adapted to a wide range
of soils having reasonably good internal drainage and a relatively
high fertility. The productivity usually varies with fertility and
the use of fertilizer.
Celery is more specific in its requirements than most crops.
Relatively high amounts of moisture is a must for this crop. Peats,
mucks and sands with water control are best adapted to celery
In the case of cabbage, tomatoes, beans and similar crops of a
shallow rooted nature, any soil with adequate moisture can be
successfully used when properly fertilized and limed.
Moisture is also important for Irish potatoes. Sands and sandy
loams underlain with moist sands and clays are well adapted to
potato production, although this crop is being successfully grown
on a wide range of soils including marls when properly managed.
The Bladen and Coxville sandy loams and related types are known
as potato soils in the Hastings area.
Soils having a loamy sand to sandy loam surface to a depth of
20 to 40 inches are more desired than the deep sands and shallow
soils for most crops. Strange as it may appear, some crops in-
cluding avocados are successfully grown on rock land with rela-
tively no surface soil. But citrus is not suited to the rock land.

The Soils of Florida

Pasture grasses grow on a wide range of soils but the moist
types produce the greatest tonnage. Here again, adequate lime
and fertilizer pay good dividends. Clovers are rather specific, re-
quiring more moisture and a higher mineral content than the
grasses. Adequate moisture is a must for most clovers grown in
Florida. Most any moist soil can be modified with the use of lime
and fertilizers to produce clover and many other Florida crops.
The cost of modification is very important and may be too risky,
depending on the soil. A knowledge of soil types including in-
ternal drainage, underlying material and accessible water is very
helpful in selecting lands for intensive crops including pasture
lands. Alfalfa is a deep rooted crop and requires soils of good in-
ternal drainage. Certain strains of alfalfa are being successfully
grown in many Florida soils when properly limed and fertilized.
Pines are grown successfully on a wide range of Florida soils,
but here again moisture and inherent fertility levels have values.
The deep sands and the drought sands with low mineral content
do not produce pine trees as well as the low, moist soils with a
higher mineral content. Observations indicate that fertilizer will
pay good dividends for pine trees on some soils.


The author wishes to express his sincere appreciation and
indebtedness to the Board of Directors of Soil Science Foundation,
to the assistance rendered by the technical staff of Soil Science
Foundation for their valuable cooperation and assistance in the
preparation of the manuscript, to Dr. James NeSmith for critically
reading of the manuscript; to Olin C. Lewis, State Soil Scientist;
O. E. Cruz, H. G. Dasher, B. P. Thomas and Jack Zellis and asso-
ciates of the U. S. D. A. Soil Conservation Service for furnishing
valuable material and assistance, and to Robinsons Printers, Inc.,
for preparing the color plates.

Printed by
Orlando, Florida

Department of Agriculture


Color Plate

Adamsville ....----.--
Alachua --------------
Archer ..-------------
Arredondo ----------
Arzell --------
Bayboro -----------...
Bibb ---------
Bladen, Fig. 1, P. 8
Blakely -------
Blanton ------
Blichton ------
Bradenton -----------
Broward ---
Bushnell .-----------
Cahaba -------
Carnegie -----.- -----
Charlotte --.---------
Chiefland ------------
Cocoa -------
Copeland -------
Coxville ------
Cuthbert .-----
Dade Sand -----------
Davie Sands -
Delray -------
Eustis ----
Faceville -----
Felda -------
Fort Meade
Gadsden -----

---- 14, 28
--- --- 32



------- 18

------ 32

---- 130


-.......... -... 32

--------------------- 14


..................... 3 2

--------------------- 3 2
--------------------- 1 8

--------------------- 3 2


The Soils of Florida

Gainesville --
Grady --..---
Greenville ---
Hague -------
Hoffman --.--
Hyde .--.--.-
Immokalee .
Jamison ------
Johnston ----
Jonesville ----
Kalmia ---
Keri ------
Kershaw ----
Kanapaha ---
Lakeland ----
Lakewood --
Leaf Soils ----
Leon --------
Lynchburg --
Magnolia ----
Manatee -----
Marlboro --.-
Matmon ----
Mucks ---.--
Myattee .
Norfolk -----
Ona ---
Orlando -----


Color Plate

.-. .. ..... .... .... .... ....-- - ------ 18 28

----------------------------- 6,1,8
--------- --- 18, 28


6, 24
--. ------- -8, 14

----- 24
------------ 14


---------------- --- -------------6- 1 8

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --------- 1 8 2 0

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ------- 6 2 4

. . . . . . .- 8, 1 1 4

..........................................- 6,42
. . . . . . 1

..... ........ ... ... -----.. 18.

-- ---- 24
... .. .. .. ... ... .. .. .. 1 4
.. ... .. .. .. .. 1 8


Department of Agriculture


Palm Beach Sand --
Panasoffkee --.-----------
Parkwood ---------------
Peat -----
Perrine ------
Plummer ----
Pomello _----
Pompano --------------
Portsmouth --
Rains -----------------
Red Bay ---
Rex ------
Ruskin ---
Ruston ----
Rutlege ..-----
Scranton ----
St. Johns ---
St. Lucie .---
Sunniland --
Suwannee --
Thompson ---
Vaucluse ----

Color Plate

.. -- -.... 30, 32
-.. 24
.......... 24.


S- 14
-- 24

....-----.. ..............-.. 24

-. .. 32

-- - 2 4

-- -- -- 2 0
--- --- -- --- -- --- --- --- 3 2

---- ---- --- ---- --- ---- --- 1 4
--- -- --- -- --- -- --- -- -- 1 8




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