Mimeograph Report 61-3 June 1961
BENCHMARK SOILS: LEON SOILS IN FLORIDA
Introduction . . . . * . * 1
Series Description ..... .. . ... .. .
Descriptions and extent of correlated Leon soils in
counties . . . . . .* * .* 6
List of mapping units of Leon soils within Florida . 12
Management of Leon soils . . .. . . . . 13
1. Cost of clearing areas . . . 1
2. Water management on Leon soils . . 15
3. Potato Production . . ... . . . 18
4. Improved grasses and legumes for pasture . . 20
5. Corn production . . . . . . . 22
6. Celery production . . . . . . 2
7. Deep placement of nutrients in Leon soils . .25
8. Fertilization of pine trees . . . . 30
9. Minor element needs of Leon soils . . 30
10. Microbial activities . . . . . 38
Estimated average acre yields of vegetable and truck crops 40
Some properties of the organic pan .. .. . . \.4*
Physical, chemical and spectrographic analyses of ~e
Leon soils . . . * * 2
Department of Soils
Fla. Agr. Expt. Station
LEON SOILS IN FLORIDA
The Leon soils occur on approximately one-fourth to one-third of the
land area in Florida. Throughout the state these soils are used mainly for
growing pine trees and pasture grasses and legumes, but the greater acreage
of improved pastures on these soils exists in central and southern Florida.
Artificial drainage of some areas is beneficial for the grasses and legumes.
When water management (drainage and irrigation) is installed, the Leon soils
are used for the production of vegetable and truck crops and gladiolus.
Truck crops are grown on Leon soils principally during the fall, winter,
and spring months to help supply fresh products for the northern and local
markets. Citrus trees are grown on some of the drained areas in southern
Florida. It is desirable to provide at least 36 to 48 inches of drained
rooting zone for the citrus trees (48).
The Leon soils are characterized by a thin, gray to very dark gray
surface layer, a light gray or white leached layer, and a black to dark
brown organic pan that begins at depths between 14 and 30 inche.;. These
soils have formed from moderately thick deposits of marine sand;. They occur
on level to very gently sloping areas which have the water table level
fluctuating from shallow (10 to 20-inch depth) to moderately deep (40 to
60-inch depth). The dominant vegetation consists of pine, sawpalmetto,
gallberry, huckleberry, runner oak, and wiregrass.
The Leon series was established in Leon County, Florida in 1905.. The
soil was described having a surface layer of gray or light gray sand, 6 to
10 inches thick, which occasionally contained sufficient organic matter to
give it a dark gray color. The remaining portion of the 36-inch profile
consisted of white compact sand which was saturated with water. No state-
ment was made concerning an organic pan which is a noted feature of this
soil at the present time.
Between 1903 and 1910, the Portsmouth sand (now Rutlege) included soils
with a reddish-brown to yellowish-brown layer at 16 to 36-inch depths. At
present, some of the profiles would be included with the Leon series and
others with the St. Johns series.
It was not until 1910 in the Jacksonville area that the Leon series was
mapped and described with a black or rusty-brown organic pan at depths of 10
to 20 inches, similar to the present description of the series.
The Leon soils are still described with the organic pan and with
approximately similar profiles characteristics from 1910 to the present date.
About 1945 the Immokalee series was established out of the Leon soils to
include the soils having the organic pan below the 30-inch depth and having
a gray to very dark gray surface layer. In 1959 the Pomello series was
redescribed to include soils having a very thin, light gray to gray surface
layer, a leached subsurface layer, and an organic pan usually beginning at
depths between 30 and 42 inches, but, which sometimes occurs slightly
-" f h
p LOCATION OF MAJOR AREAS OF LEON
tz* AND ASSOCIATED SOILS IN FLORIDA
The Leon series comprises Ground-Water Podzols formed from moderately
thick beds of sand in the seaward portions of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal
Plains. These soils are most often associated with the St. Lucie, Blanton,
Immokalee, Ona, Plummer, Pomello, Rutlege, and St, Johns series. They may
also be associated with a number of other soils which represent great soil
groups much different from Ground-Water Podzols. The presence of a prominent
humus B horizon within a depth of 30 inches distinguishes the Leon series.
This horizon may or may not be cemented into a hardpan. The Leon soils are
not as wet and have much lighter colored and thinner AI horizons and thicker
A2 horizons than the St, Johns series. They have more distinct B horizons at
shallower depths than do Immokalee soils. They have lighter colored and much
thinner A1 horizons and a more distinct B horizon than the Ona soils which
also lack an A2 horizon. Leon soils are widely distributed along the coast
and are extensive in Florida and Georgia. The soils are assuming increasing
agricultural importance in Florida but have limited usefulness elsewhere.
Soil Profile: Leon fine sand
A 0-4" Dark gray (2.5Y 4/1) fine sand with very weak fine granular
structure to single-grained; very friable to loose; some
fine roots and few coarse ones; very strongly acid; clear
boundary. 1 to 6 inches thick.
A2 4-18" Light gray (5Y 7/1) to white fine sand; single-grained;
loose; very strongly acid; clear boundary. 10 to 24 inches
B2h 18-22" Very dark grayish brown (10YR 3/2) to black (10YR 2/1) fine
sand; commonly massive; firm to friable when moist, very hard
to extremely hard when dry; very strongly to extremely acid;
gradual boundary. 2 to 6 inches thick.
B3 22-26" Dark brown (10YR 3/2) to dark grayish-brown (10YR 4/2) fine
sand; essentially structureless; friable to very friable
when moist, hard to soft when dry; very strongly acid;
gradual boundary. 3 to 7 inches thick.
C1 26-32" Light grayish-brown (10YT 6/2) fine sand; single-grained;
loose; usually wet and saturated; strongly acid; gradual
boundary. 4 to 10 inches thick.
C 32-60" Light gray (5Y 7/1) fine sand; single-grained; loose,
usually wet and saturated; strongly acid.
Range in Characteristics: Principal types in the series are fine sand and
sand. The Al horizon ranges in color from very dark gray (2.5Y 3/1) to a
mixture of very dark gray and white which gives a salt and pepper effect.
Some profiles have a grayish brown (10YR 5/2) B1 horizon up to 3 inches
thick between the A2 and B2h horizons The B2h horizon ranges from dark
brown (10YR 2/2) through very dark gray (10YR 3/1) to very dusky red
(2.5YR 2/2) in color. It may be weakly to strongly cemented or lack
cementation entirely. Many of the B2h horizons will harden upon exposure
to air. Mottled gray and yellow sandy clay loam to sandy clay or alkaline
layers may be found at depths of 3-1/2 to 5 feet in some localities. Heavy
substratum and alkaline substratum are recognized for such soils. Pebble
phosphate underlies Leon soils in places in central Florida, usually at
great depths. One or more buried B2h horizons may also occur beneath the
solum, commonly at depths of 5 feet or more. Colors given are moist con-
ditions. When soil is dry, colors are one or two units of value higher,
Topography: Dominantly level to nearly level with occasional but rare
very gentle slopes. Gradients are normally less than 1 percent and seldom
exceed 2 percent.
Drainage: Somewhat poorly to poorly drained with slow surface runoff and
slow internal drainage. Permeability of the B horizon is variable but
seldom low. The water table is seasonally high or generally high and is
responsible for wetness of the soil.
Vegetation: Open stands of longleaf pine, slash pine or both with thick
undergrowth of saw palmetto (Serenea repens), runner oak (Quercus pumila),
Gallberry, and wiregrass. Scattered scrub oak may be present among the trees.
Use: Most areas are used for forestry, turpentining, and open range, though
large acreages in Florida are being converted to improved pastures or are
used for special crops.
Distribution Largely in Florida and southeastern Georgia, with some areas
occurring near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Alabama to New Jersey.
Type Location: Brantley County, Georgia; just north of Hoboken.
Series Established: Leon County, Florida, 1905.
Soil Survey USA
DESCRIPTIONS AND EXTENT OF CORRELATED LEON SOILS IN COUNTIES
Leon fine sand
Orange County, Florida
0 to 5 inches, dark gray nearly loose fine sand; contains light gray
sand grains to give a salt-and-pepper appearance.
5 to 18 inches, light gray loose fine sand.
18 to 20 inches, black fine sand; cemented with organic matter; firm
and friable when moist, hard when dry.
20 to 26 inches, dark brown fine sand; weakly cemented.
26 to 48 inches plus, brown or yellowish-brown in upper portion of horizon
and grading to light brownish-gray and light brownish-gray and
light gray with depth; fine sand.
The surface soil varies from gray to very dark gray in color and from
3 to 8 inches in thickness. The third horizon or the organic pan ranges
from black to dark brown in color and from 2 to 6 inches in thickness. The
upper portion of the organic pan is usually dense and hard when dry. Some-
times, the dark colors extend to depths greater than 42 inches. In places
the organic pan is brown in color and is weakly cemented or lacks cementation
The heavy substratum phases have mottled light gray, yellow, and
yellowish-brown sandy clay loam or sandy clay beginning at depths usually
between 30 and 42 inches. The very gently sloping areas have two to five
Approximate acreage and proportionate extent of the soils,
Soil Acreage Proportionate
Leon fine sand 166,705 28.4%
Level heavy substratum phase 1,071 .2
Very gently sloping heavy substratum phase 628 .1
Escambia County, Florida
0 to h inches, dark-dry to very dark gray sand; loose and single grained,
4 to 18 inches, light-gray sand; loose and single grained.
18 to 22. inches, dark reddish-brown sand; strongly cemented; massive
(structureless); this is an organic-matter stained pan.
22 to 28 inches, yellow sand mottled with reddish yellow; loose and
28 to 42 inches, yellow, reddish-yellow, and very pale brown sand;
mottled; loose and single grained; lighter colored as depth
The light colored surface phase differs from the Leon sand in having a
thin gray surface layer and having the organic pan at great depth.
Approximate acreage and proportionate extent of the soils
Soil Acreage Proportionate
Leon sand Z,800 0.7%
Leon sand, light colored surface phase 230 .1
Leon fine sand
Sarasota County, Florida
0 to 7 inches, dark-gray or very dark gray, nearly loose fine sand
that has a salt-and-pepper appearance; strongly acid; this
layer ranges from 6 to 10 inches in thickness.
7 to 14 inches, light-gray, loose fine sand; strongly acid; ranges
from 6 to 12 inches in thickness.
14 to 22.inches, white, loose fine sand; locally contains a few,
medium, faint, light-gray and gray spotches; slightly compact
in place; strongly acid; ranges from 6 to 12 inches in thickness.
22 to 26 inches, black or very dark grayish-brown fine sand cemented by
organic matter; firmly cemented when dry; moderately firm or
firm when moist; strongly acid.
26 to 28 inches, dark-brown or dark grayish-brown fine sand; hard and
cemented when dry, pulverable and moderately firm when moist;
28 to 38 inches, pale-brown, dark grayish-brown, or brownish-yellow,
loose fine sand; common, medium, distinct, rust-colored
mottles; strongly acid.
38 to 50 inches, light-gray, loose fine sand; a few streaks of gray and
The light colored surface phase differs from the other Leon fine sand
in having thin, light gray to gray surface layer.
The heavy substratum phase has mottled light gray, yellow and brown
sandy clay loam layers beneath the organic pan.
Approximate acreage and proportionate extent of the soils
Soils Acreage Proportionate
Leon fine sand 6L,063 17.1%
Leon fine sand, light colored surface phase 3,$62 .9
Leon fine sand, heavy substratum phase 708 .2
Leon fine sand
Hillisborough County, Florida
0 to 5 inches, dark-gray nearly loose fine sand; contains a small
amount of organic matter, which gives it a salt-and-pepper
$ to 20 inches, light-gray loose fine sand.
20 to 24 inches, very dark grayish-brown or black fine sand cemented
with organic matter; firm and friable when moist; hard when dry.
21 to 30 inches, dark-brown fine sand; weakly cemented.
30 to 42 inches +, yellowish-brown loose fine sand in upper part, grades
to lighter colors with increasing depth.
The surface layer ranges from dark gray.to very dark gray in color and
3 to 8 inches in thickness.
The heavy substratum phase differs from the above description in having
mottled light gray, yellow and yellowish-brown sandy clay loam beneath the
The light colored surface phase differs from Leon fine sand in having
a light gray or gray surface layer and the organic pan at depths of 24 to
Approximate acreage and proportionate extent of the soils
Soil Acreage Proportionate
Leon fine sand 154,107 23.2%
Heavy substratum phase 4,976 .7
Light-colored surface phase 17,117 2.6
Leon fine sand
Manatee County, Florida
0 to 4 inches, medium-gray fine sand,
4 to 20 inches, light-gray to almost white loose fine sand.
20 to 22 inches, brownish-black pan layer consisting of fine sand and
an accumulation or organic matter and cementing materials;
hardness of this layer varies with its moisture content, and
it is hardest when dry.
22 to 26 inches, dark-brown to brown fine sand and an accumulation of
partially cemented organic matter; grades to a lighter brown
near the lower limits.
26 to 2. inches +, light-brown, yellow, or light-gray fine sand;
lighter in color with depth.
Approximate acreage and proportionate extent of soils
Soils Acreage Proportionate
Leon fine sand, heavy substratum phase 13,795 3.1%
Leon fine sand, light colored surface phase 17,863 4.1
Leon Immokalee fine sands, 0-2: slopes 167,663 37.4
Leon Immokalee fine sands, 2-5% slopes 1,873 .4
Leon fine sand
Alachua County, Florida
Profile in a virgin area:
0 to 4 inches, medium-gray nearly loose fine sand containing some
grass roots and many long large roots of saw palmetto; very
4 to 18 inches, white or yellowish-white loose fine sand; very strongly
18 to 21 inches, black or very dark-brown hardpan consisting of fine
sand cemented with organic matter; hardens on exposure to
air and becomes extremely hard but brittle when dry; firm to
friable when moist; contains coarse vegetable matter; very
strongly to extremely acid.
21 to 26 inches, dark-brown partly cemented fine sand; upper 1 or 2
inches is moderately hard but brittle, and the rest is friable;
very strongly acid.
26 to 32 inches, yellowish-brown loose fine sand usually saturated
with water; strongly acid.
32 to 60 inches, light-gray loose fine sand with streaks of brown or
dark gray; usually wet; strongly acid.
Acreage and proportionate extent of the soils
Soil Acreage Proportionate Extent
Leon fine sand 93,193 16.3
LIST OF MAPPING UNITS OF LEON SOILS WITHIN FLORIDA
Leon fine sand
Leon fine sand, heavy substratum phase
Leon fine sand, heavy, neutral substratum phase
Leon sand, light colored surface phase
Leon fine sand, light colored surface phase
Leon fine sand, dark colored surface phase
The above soils may be mapped as slope phases for 0 to 2 percent
slopes and 2 to 5 percent slopes.
MANAGEMENT OF CROPS ON LEON SOILS
Under natural drainage conditions, the Leon soils are suitable for
pine trees and improved and native pastures. The trees make a fair growth
on these soils when a proper management system is used. Native pastures
furnish poor to fair grazing. It takes 15 to 25 acres of range pasture to
provide enough herbage for one cow and a calf. The acreage of improved
pastures increased immensely during the past ten years and is continuing
to do so. About two to four acres of improved pasture give enough forage for
a cow and a calf. The plants commonly found in improved pastures are
Pangolagrass, Pensacola and common bahiagrasses, coastal Bermudagrass, white
clover, Huban clover, Black medic clover, and hairy indigo. These pastures
receive adequate amounts of fertilizers, lime when needed, and other proper
Water management is of primary importance for successful production of
cultivated crops. Excess surface water can be removed through ditches or
tile, and during dry seasons supplemental moisture can be applied to the
crops by a subirrigation system through the ditches or by an overhead
irrigation system. The ditches should contain control structures for
regulating the water runoff. Under a good management system which includes
the management of the ground water and frequent applications of fertilizers
and lime when necessary, medium to high yields could be obtained from
vegetable and truck crops and field crops grown on the Leon soils. Cover
crops should be grown in the crop rotation to replenish or to increase the
organic matter content for better moisture holding and nutrient holding
capacities. If some of the organic materials are allowed to remain above
the ground, or if a strip of close-growing plants ate grown in the culti-
vated fields, they would retard movement of soil particles across the
cultivated fields during strong winds. A cropping system that consists
of grass alternated with vegetable crops is adapted to these soils.
This soil is not recommended commonly for citrus production. However,
fair yields of citrus can be expected from areas which have favorable weather
conditions and which receive intensive management practices. Frequent
applications of fertilizers and lime when necessary, cover crops, drainage,
and irrigation are some of the management practices required for the pro-
duction of citrus on Leon soils. Drainage should be provided to a depth of
36 to 48 inches for adequate rooting area above the level of the fluctuating
water table. During dry seasons the citrus trees should receive supple-
mental moisture through an overhead irrigation system (26).
1. Cost of clearing areas
Total costs per acre for clearing land, preparing the seed-bed,
adding soil amendments and seeding forage plants depend largely upon
the density of cover of trees and plants that must be eradicated and also
upon the amount of drainage work required. Per-acre costs calculated by
Reuss (47) from records for 1951-53, a period of rapid pasture development,
are as follows: $33 to $89 in the Pasco County area; and $31 to $63 in
the DeSoto County area.
The sites studied in the Pasco County area were moderately stocked
with trees and stumps. The sites in DeSoto County were lightly stocked
and contained much palmetto land susceptible to clearing by use of an
undercutting plow at modest per-acre cost.
Per-acre costs of clearing comparable land for pastures increased
approximately 15 percent from 1952-53 to 1956-57. This increase in cost
of clearing was caused by higher prices for equipment, repairs, fuel and
2. Water Management
In a study by Blue and Hammond (7 ) the hydraulic conductivity of a
typical Leon fine sand profile near Gainesville indicated that a sandy
clay layer below the organic pan supported the perched water table.
Approximately 16,500 feet of three-inch diameter vinyl plastic mole lines
were installed in Leon fine sand and Plummer fine sand near Gainesville
(24). Various treatments included tile spacings of 10 feet, 20 feet, and
40 feet and depths of 18 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches. Studies
included soil moisture distribution from subirrigation for one fluctuating
and two constant water table levels. Each of these three plots of approx-
imately one acre will be subdivided for testing a member of crop and
fertility levels. At the end of one year none of the thirty 40o-foot lines
spaced 10 feet apart at depths of 18 and 30 inches have remained open and
operative for the entire distance (26). The 200 foot laberal lines spaced
20 feet apart plus the clay-tile main installed at 24 inches have been
effective in removing heavy precipitation from pasture and corn plots,
which were usually damaged by flooded conditions during previous years.
Good growth of corn was obtained on the drained plot in 1959. The yield
was 109 bushels per acre.
An experimental area was established by Hammond and Myers (25) to
study the design criteria for water table control systems for soils of the
flatwood areas, dominantly Leon fine sand. Each of the three plots was
square in shape and had side lengths of 67 feet, 133 feet, and 200 feet.
Each plot had a ditch 5 feet deep along two opposite sides, Pumping
facilities were available for regulating the water levels in the ditches.
Depth to the water table in the plots was measured in water table tubes
located in three rows 10 feet apart, placed across the center of each plot
between the ditches. Readings from the soil moisture tensionmeter and
soil samples taken mechanically were used to determine the effect of the
water table location on soil moisture in the plant root zones.
The horizontal movement of water was at a rather slow rate when there
were low pressure heads in the upper 30-inch layer of soil. When the water
level in the ditch was raised from a 30-inch to a 2l-inch depth for 1.75
hours, the water table level was raised 0.16 feet at a distance of 10 feet
from the ditch and was not changed at the 30 feet distance. In another
test it took 25 hours for a 1,5 foot static pressure head in the ditch to
cause the water table to begin to rise at a horizontal distance of 90
feet from the ditch, and the water table was raised only 0.15 feet during
The agricultural potential of millions of acres of sandy soils in
Florida can be developed and maintained only by the use of subsurface drainage
(31). Open ditches can be used successfully in most situations to provide
this drainage, but ditch systems have the disadvantages of utilizing other-
wise productive land, restricting machinery movement and making necessary
regular maintenance involving significant expense to assure the function
of the system. Tile systems might be expected to do much of this drainage
for less cost, but so many tile systems have failed that the general con-
clusion among growers is that tile drainage is not suitable for sandy soils.
Preliminary work has been started to evaluate the use of various filters
as a mean of minimizing the problem of sand entry into tile lines.
Moisture Properties and Bulk Densities of Leon Fine Sand Profiles
Depth Bulk Hydraulic Moisture Contet (dry weight basis)
DensityY/ Conductivity2/ 60cm.L/ 0.1atm./ Moisture 15atm.J/
in. gm/c in/hr.
Layer of Organic pan.
Layer of sandy clay loam or sandy clay.
SFrom Permeability Determinations by D. P. Powell, Soil Conservation Serivee,
SFrom Progress Report of Project 576, "The Relationship Between Several Soil-
Water Constants and the Moisture Content of Soils Under Supplemental
Irrigation," L. C. Hammond and F. B. Smith. June 30, 1960
3. Potato Production
Research findings by Myhre (32) showed that the quality of potatoes
grown in Leon soils was improved and yield was increased 23 cwt. per acre
by leveling the soil and breaking the organic pan,
Improvement of soil porosity and maintenance of high soil moisture
content appeared to be key factors in increasing potato productivity on
old land. Results indicated that Sebago potato yields on old land in the
Hastings area can be doubled or increased to at least 300 cwt, per acre by
breaking the organic pan under Leon 'white caps', leveling the land to an
uniform slope, maintaining a high soil moisture content throughout the
entire growing season, employing good cultural and spraying practices
and using about 2,500 pounds per acre of both seed and 6-8-8 fertilizer.
Whole Sebago seed was used in the following experiment.
The brownish organic pan of the Leon soil was broken up with a
bulldozer blade and mixed throughly with the dark and light colored sandy
top layers in the area. This hard, slowly permeable layer was 2 to 12
inches thick and about 18 inches below the surface. The area was leveled
to provide a uniform slope of about 0.3 foot drop per 100 feet. Breaking
the organic pan and mixing it throughly with the top soil appeared to
have an aggregate forming effect which increased the number of larger
air spaces. This beneficial structural improvement appeared to facilitate
better water movement which was an important factor in obtaining a high
The leveled area and an adjacent undisturbed, nonleveled area were
limed with 1 ton per acre of dolomite. Potatoes were planted in both areas,
using 2,500 pounds per acre of both seed and 6-8-8 fertilizer. Some plots
were sidedressed one, two, or three times with 500 pounds per acre of
6-8-8. Artesian water was maintained in irrigation furrows adjacent to
the plots from time of planting until one week before harvest.
On an acre basis, average yield in the leveled area was 338 cwt.,
of which 95 percent were U.S. 1A size potatoes, and exceeded the yield
in the nonleveled area by 23 cwt. Yields were not increased significantly
by side-dressing in either the leveled or nonleveled areas. Yields were
significantly higher in the center rows of the 8-row bed than in those
near to or far from the irrigation furrow. The improved quality of the
potatoes in the leveled area was of more importance than the increased yield.
The fourth crop following treatment gave an 11 percent increase in
potato yields (34).
Eddins and Myhre (10) found that corky ringspot did not develop in
soil where pangolagrass had been grown for one year, several years, and
in an adjacent area where potatoes had been severely affected with the
disease in previous years.
Corky ringspot did not occur in a leveled area where the organic pan
had been broken-up and mixed with topsoil. A considerable amount of scurf
and 'growth cracks' and some corky ringspot occurred in an adjacent area
which had not been disturbed. No corky ringspot appeared in another leveled
field in which potatoes were severely affected with the disease before the
land was leveled.
In the following year Eddins and Myhre (10) reported that Sebago and
Red Pontiac tubers grown in the same field of Leon fine sand did not develop
corky ringspot. In an adjacent undisturbed, nonleveled area, the disease
occurred in 70, 5p, 42, and 23 percent (by weight) of Sebago tubers in the
first, second, third, and fourth rows from the irrigation furrows, respecti-
vely. These results showed that severity of corky ringspot increased as
soil moisture content increased.
Further evidence was obtained by Eddins and Myhre (12) in 1959 which
showed excess soil moisture content increased the development of corky
ringspot.. The disease was very mild in 1959 in one dry, sandy, Leon
'white capped area that showed very severe in the same area kept wet by
excessive rainfall and irrigation in 1957. Additional information was
obtained to show that development and severity of corky ringspot in tubers
increased with length of time they remained in the soil.
Myhre (33) found that the physical condition of the soil was improved
by the use of one or two years of pangolagrass in the rotation. Volume
weight values for the continuously cropped soil were about 10 percent
higher than in the former sodded soil, indicating that aeration and water
movement were more favorable for root growth and tuber formation in the
4. Improved Grasses and Legumes for Pastures
Blue (2) reported that the analytical data for soil samples taken in
February 1955 showed very efficient retention of Fall-applied potassium
through the winter months in the Leon and related soils. There were approx-
imately 113 inches of rain during this period The data indicated that
potash leached less rapidly from these soils than had been previously sup-
posed. This may be of considerable importance in the fertilization of
pastures growing on Leon fine sand and associated soil types, Analysis
showed that phosphorus had accumulated in these soils where phosphate
fertilizers and lime were applied.
Fall-applied potash was retained again in 1956 in Leon fine sand (3).
Under grazing conditions, very little benefit is obtained from additional
spring-applied potash on this soil. He also found that one ton of lime gave
approximately the maximum conversion of nitrogen on Leon fine sand. The
values were 11 ppm of nitrate nitrogen from unlimed soil and 34 ppm from
limed soil. The data may be useful in fertilizing for the establishment
of pastures on new soil.
The results of the four years of pasture experiments were reported by
Blue (4) in 1958. The phosphate accumulated in the soil with years and
increasing rates of phosphate application. Potash did not accumulate from
year to year any appreciable extent, but was retained efficiently from
October to February. Rainfall during this period varied from 1.2 to 14.9
inches, Soil organic matter was increased by 0.72 percent. Accumulation
of organic matter was not significantly different for programs. Soil pH
was inversely correlated with soil organic matter and total phosphorus was
directly correlated with organic matter.
It was found (6) that a mixture of boron, copper, and zinc gave
significant response to the white clover Pensacola bahiagrass, pasture
on Leon fine sand.
After phosphates were withheld from the fertilizer applied in the
proceeding November to the phosphate source plots on Leon fine sand,
Neller and Robertson (36) reported that the spring growth of Ladino clover
for the fifth year of the experiment was fully as good for each of the
following treatments: (1) application of 2000 pounds per acre of rock
phosphate when the grass and clover were planted, (2) application of 1000
pounds per acre of rock phosphate when grass and clover were planted and
supplemented with 30 pounds of P205 per acre in superphosphate, and (3)
application of 60 pounds of P205 per acre annually in superphosphate. The
residual effects of basic slag, applied at the rate of 30 pounds per acre
soluble P205 annually, were as good as any of the above phosphate treatments.
The annual air-dry weight seven-year average of Ladino clover and
Pensacola bahiagrass clipped from plots on Leon fine sand was 5.95 tons per
acre where rock phosphate had been added initially at 300 pounds P2a5 per
acre together with superphosphate annually at 30 pounds P205 per acre (37).
The next best growth was with rock phosphate applied initially at 600 pounds
per acre P20 Response to basic slag used at the rate of 30 pounds citrate
soluble per acre was 5.66 tons of forage annually. The poorest growth was
from the plots that received superphosphate at 15 pounds P205 per acre
annually. Uniform amounts of potash, minor elements and dolomitic lime, but
no nitrogen, were added to these plots. Clover predominated in the early
springs, cuttings and the grass was dominant, for most years, in the latter
part of the summer. Poorest growth of clover was where the least (15 pounds
P205 per acre) amounts of superphosphate had been added. The exchange
capacity and organic matter content of the surface four inches of soil
was somewhat higher where basic slag had been used.
In a greenhouse experiment with Ladino clover, growing on Leon fine
sand, growth of the first cutting was best where gypsum, copper and manganese
sulfates, and borax were added in appropriate amounts to basic slag. Use
of superphosphate '20 percent P205) plus the minor elements resulted in
slightly better growth than with an equivalent amount of phosphorus added
as basic slag.
Neller (35) found that elemental sulfur and rock phosphate increased
yields of clover and Pensacola bahiagrass on virgin Leon fine sand and
increased the phosphorus content of the herbage.
Volk (51) made direct measurements of volatile loss of ammonia from 50
pounds of nitrogen on sod on Leon fine sand of pH 5.8 and found that surface
liming significantly increased volatile loss of ammonia from ammonium sulfate
but not from ammonium nitrate.
5. Corn Production
Soils of the flatwood areas are often considered unsuitable for the
production of cultivated field crops, and corn is not generally grown on
These soils in Florida. However, five leading hybrids of corn were planted
by Norden (38) on Leon fine sand May 1, 1958. Two seeding rates, 15,000 and
8,000 plants per acre, were used and the crop received a total of 112 pounds
of nitrogen, 84 pounds of phosphorus, and 168 pounds of potassium per acre.
The high rate of seeding gave an average yield of 103 bushels per acre,
compared to 75 bushels for the low rate. Yield differences among varieties
were not statistically significant. Although more ears were produced per
plot at the high seeding rate, they were not significantly smaller than the
ears produced on the low population plots. The number of ears per plant
decreased from 1.43 to 1.O as the plant population increased from 8,000
to 15,000 plants per acre, and the percent of lodged plants increased from
6 to 10 percent.
Results of this test suggested that on flatwood soils where moisture
is usually not limiting, plant populations might be higher than those
normally recommended for the well drained soil on which most of the corn
in Florida is now being grown.
In a study by Robertson (43) corn grown with high rates of fertilizer
on Leon fine sand gave yields up to 129 bushels per acre in 1959. The
distribution of rainfall was good during the growing season and the total
rainfall was above average. Where the highest yield was obtained, the
exchangeable calcium (CaO), potassium (K20), and magnesium (MgO) and the
acid acetate-soluble phosphorus (P205) content of the surface six inches
was approximately 2000 pounds, 120 pounds, 50 pounds, and 150 pounds per
acre respectively and the pH was 6.3.
His experiment at the Dairy Research Unit in 1957 showed no consistent
yield responses to magnesium for oats on Leon fine sand, although corn grown
on the same area had previously shown symptoms of magnesium deficiency (42).
6. Celery Production
Westgate (52) reported that the maximum yields of marketable crop of
celery was obtained on the Leon fine sand in the Sanford area by using from
300 to 500 pounds per acre of nitrogen. Marked increases of marketable
celery have been obtained by the use of all nitrate nitrogen, either from
sodium nitrate of calcium nitrate, in comparison to equal amounts of nitrogen
from ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. The addition of lime to neu-
tralize the acidity of the ammonium sulfate has not corrected the trouble.
He found that the stunted, light celery plants with short, down
curving petioles, and curled leaves characteristic were due to excessive
amounts of ammonia nitrogen in the soil.
Various amounts of nitrogen applied per acre and
yield of Marketable Celery, 1925
Fertilizer applied Average yield
pounds per acre Marketable celery
6-6-6 Crates per acre
Relation of amount of nitrogen applied per acre
to yield of marketable celery, 1951.
Fertilizer applied Yield of
pounds per acre Marketable Celery
5-5-8 Crates per acre
Relation of amounts of nitrogen applied per acre and
yield of marketable celery, 1954
Fertilizer applied Yield of
pounds per acre Marketable Celery
5-5-8 Crates per acre
Nitrate Nitrogen versus Ammonia Nitrogen for Celery, 1937
Source of nitrogen Nitrogen applied Average yield of
(pounds per acre) Marketable Celery
Crates per acre
All nitrogen from
ammonium sulfate 330 354
All nitrogen from
ammonium sulfate plus lime 330 346
All nitrogen from
sodium nitrate 330 1,047
7. Deep Placement of Nutrients
On Leon fine sand yield increases were obtained for subsoiling alone
and for fertilizer, lime, and/or minor elements placed in the subsoil (44).
Responses to fertilizer were related to the chemical composition of the soil
profile and rainfall distribution. Better responses were obtained when
moisture stress periods occurred during the first part of the season. The
residual effects of the subsoiling treatments were generally small.
The field of Leon fine sand had been cultivated for many years and had
relatively high fertilizer residuals of calcium in the profile and phosphorus
in the surface. (Table 1). The soil had an organic pan beginning about 12
to 16 inches beneath the surface.
Subsoiling alone and deep placed and shallow placed fertilizersin-
creased corn yields significantly above the check. (Table 2.). Chemical
analyses of the corn ear leaf (Table 2) indicated that the roots were
absorbing the nutrients from the fertilizer bands and excavations across
the corn row showed that shattering of the subsoil helped root development
in the subsoil. The significant yield increase for fertilizer was probably
caused by phosphorus since phosphorus added in the subsoil significantly
increased the uptake of this element. Originally, the subsoil was low in
phosphorus (Table 1). Applying the fertilizer 14 inches deep gave only 3
bushels more corn than the surface application. The early dry season
encouraged roots to go deeper for moisture and fertilizer but the good
moisture distribution later in the season minimized the advantage of the
deeper root system.
Minor elements did not significantly increase corn yields on Leon fine
sand. Minor element data are given in Table 3. The manganese values for
the soil and the leaf tissue were very low and manganese added in the frit
significantly increased the intake of this element. In the early growth
stages, leaf deficiency symptonis attributed to magnesium and zinc were
observed but these disappeared at later growth stages.
The Leon fine sand was replanted to corn in 1956 to test the residual
effect of treatments. Since rainfall was evenly distributed in 1956, it
was assumed that there was little residual effect of the 1955 applications.
It was further found by Robertson and Fiskell (h4)(46) that subsoiling
improved root penetration in soils having plow soles or hardpans when the
beginning of the growing season had periods of moisture stress. If the
rainfall was heavy during the early stage of plant growth, the effect of
subsoiling on root penetration was less. Placement of fertilizer and lime
in the subsoil generally improved root development. The placement of
fertilizer in a vertical band was preferred to lateral placement and re-
sulted in continuous root development with deeper penetration by the roots.
Higher yields were associated usually with the improved root development.
Soil Analyses Data of Pre-fertilization Profile Samples from
the Experimental Site on Leon Fine Sand
Depth pH Ca P 0 K 0 Mg Organic Moisture
inches lbs/A bsA A l bs/A Matter Equivalent
0-6 5.9 500 890 60 80 1.8 4h.
6-12 5.2 1070 120 30 20 1.4 5.0
12-18 5.1 1560 30 40 10 1.7 4.4
18-24 5.2 380 0 20 10 0.5 2.9
Corn and Oat Yields and Chemical Data from Corn Ear Leaf from Leon Fine Sand
Treatment* 1956 Data
No. High Calcic Fertilizer Depth Corn Yield Ear leaf content Gr. Wt. Corn Yield Ear leaf content
Lime Placed P Ca K Oats P Ca K M
lbs./A lbs./A inches bu./A % % % lbs./A bu./A % % $ %
1 3100 0 14 71.9 0.23 0.27 2.43 6970 39.5 0.26 0.29 1.85 0.140
2 0 110-110-110 14 80.7 0.33 0.24 2.61 2900 44.2 0.27 0.29 1.84 0.136
3 2500 60-60-60 14 81.8 0.29 0.27 2.61 6390 44.5 0.25 0.29 1.84 0.137
4 2500 60-60-60o 14 80.2 0.26 0.24 2.33 6530 44.8 0.27 0.26 1.84 0.145
5 2500 60-60-60* 0 77.1 0.28 0.24 2.57 5880 43.0 0.24 0.21 1.77 0.152
6 0 0 14 70.3 0.26 0.24 2.30 5230 46.0 0.27 0.25 1.80 0.133
7 0 0 0 60.0 0.24 0.23 2.30 5660 13.8 0.27 0.27 1.80 0.139
LSD 5% S .. .... o.. .. ..9.8 0.04 0.04 N.S. 1050 N.S. N.S. O.04 .s. N.S.
LSD 1% .. .. ..... .. .. .. 13.7 0.06 I.S.
All treatments received in addition 300 pounds per acre 4-12-12 at planting and 30 pounds per acre N
as a sidedressing when corn was knee high in
1955 and 1956.
SFrit FN-501 added to mixture equivalent to a rate of 70 pounds per acre,
Profile Analysis for Available Iron and Magnesium and Minor
Element Composition of Corn Ear Leaves from Leon Fine Sand.
Depth Available Iron* Available Magnesium*
inches ppm. ppm.
0-6 1.02 0.124
6-12 0.56 0.112
12-18 0.98 0.068
18-24 1.56 0.052.
Coef. Var. 18% 25%
Chemical Data From Ear Leaf from Leon Fine Sand
Treatmentst Ear Leaf Content
N~o. High Calcic Fertilizer Depth Mn Fe Zn
Ibs./A lbs./A inches ppm. ppm. ppm. ppm.
1 3100 0 14 33.1 12.9 83 22.9
2 0 110-110-110 14 21.3 12.6 69 19.4
3 2500 60-60-60 14 29.3 15.7 93 17.4
4 2500 60-60-60t 14 56.1 12.0 76 24.1
5 2500 60-60-60o 0 29.6 14.3 83 25.1
6 0 0 14 26.4 12.4 82 20.1
7 0 0 0 16.3 11.1 75 12.0
LSD . . .... . . .19. 2.6 N.S. N.S.
*As Measured by extraction with 0.1% KC1.
tAll treatments received in addition 300 Ibs. per acre 4-12-12 at
planting and 30 lbs. per acre N as a side-dressing when corn was knee high
in 1955 and 1956.
*Frit FN-501 added to mixture equivalent to a rate of 70 lbs. per acre
Deep liming of Leon fine sand to 24 inches increased the number of
Ladine clover roots and microflora in the lower layers of this soil (5).
The larger root systems provided some drought resistance. The placement
of limestone to depths of 18 inches promoted a proliferation of roots of
alfalfa, Huban clover, and white clover in the limed zone during a period
of mild drought and lowered water table in the soil (22). Deep placement
of lime had no influence on yields during short drought periods.
8. Fertilization of Pine Trees
Pritchett and Swinford (40) reported that after fifteen years follow-
ing applications of 0.5 to 2.0 tons of colloidal phosphate, made at the
time of planting slash pines on Leon fine sand at two locations in north-
central Florida, cordwood volumes in treated plots were significantly
greater than in the control plots. If a stumpage value of $7.00 per cord
was used, the value of the increased yields from the best treatment was
$28.70 in the experiment near Gainesville and $48.30 at Welaka. The most
economical treatment was tit application of 0.5 ton of colloidal phosphate
applied in alternate 4-foot strips and disked. This treatment cost ap-
proximately f$11.63 per acre and resulted in a financial gain of $h2.71 at
the Welaka area over that of the untreated plots. The return on the initial
investment was slightly more than 9 percent interest, compounded annually,
for the 15-year period. The authors stated that the results indicated
commercial feasibility of fertilizing slash pine plantations on Leon and
related acid soils with relatively inexpensive phosphate materials.
9. Minor Element Needs of Leon Soils
Forage, consisting chiefly of white clover with some pangolagrass
which was produced on Leon fine sand at the Beef Research Unit, yielded
five tons of oven-dry weight per acre from five cuttings removed in the
period July 1954 to April 1955. This yield was not significantly different
Average pH, total phosphorus and nitrogen, and 1/
extractable nutrients of soil samples collected
from colloidal phosphate experiment in 1960.
Zone of sampling pH Phosphorus Total Extractablel/ bases
I Total Extractable/-. N Ca Mg K
inches ppm ppm ppm ppm ppm ppm
0-8 4.25 103 2.3 .047 197 29 13.3
8-16 4.90 70 1.1 .021 65 5 9.5
0-8 4.4o 59 1.9 .056 143 38 10.5
8-16 5.00 34 1.0 .008 62 8 l.0
1/ Ammonium Acetate (pH 4.8) extractable.
The site indices for growing loblolly, slash, and longleaf pines on Leon
sand were reported by Thomas (50).
Woodland suitability groups of soils and
estimated productivity by site indices
for loblolly, slash and longleaf pines.
Soil name Site index
Loblolly Slash Longleaf
Leon sand 85 70 65
where all the minor elements were applied, or where copper, zinc, manganese,
iron, or molybdenum was omitted. (15) However, plots without boron yielded
three tons less with poor clover persistence and stand. On adjacent plots
clover persisted over the summer months, with best stands at the higher
phosphate and higher lime rates and in each plot in a pattern such that
plot margins showed least clover. These observations indicated both boron
and calcium are involved in clover persistence in a program of high
potassium, phosphate, and sulfate fertilization. Little wilting of
clover occurred, although the season was unusually dry in the spring of
Fiskell and Winsor (19) found that white clover growth persisted over
the summer months of 1955 mostly on plots receiving boron, with lime, and
supplied at three tons per acre in 1952. With uniform potash fertilization
and no fertilizer nitrogen over a two-year period, yields on an oven-dry
basis average 6,000 pounds per acre. Nitrogen content of the hays was
the same where molybdenum, manganese, zinc, copper, or iron was committed
or where they were all together in the minor element application which
was made in 1952. Where neither these minor elements not boron had been
applied, much less nitrogen content was found because there was little or
no clover growth on these plots. Total production of treatment with all
the minor elements averaged 164 pounds of nitrogen and 4.7 tons of oven
dry hay per acre, compared to 131 pounds of nitrogen and 4.1 tons with
boron only, or to 49 pounds of nitrogen and 2.5 tons hay without boron.
Poorer stands of clover in 1956 were observed on plots that had not re-
ceived copper in the 1952 treatments.
In 1957 Fiskell (16) reported that white clover continued to grow
throughout the 12 months for the third straight year on Leon sand limed
to pH 5.5. On plots limed at half the above level, clover stands were
much less. A significant decline in clover stand and production of small,
slightly chlorotic leaves occurred where copper was absent in the 1952
fertilization. Clover on the plots without boron and without manganese
was paler than where these elements were added, but leaf size remained
large. A notable improvement in clover growth occurred after a fall
application of 300 pounds per acre of sulfate of potash magnesia. After
this treatment, clover established strongly on plots previously doing
poorly. Clover growth up to March was significantly lower on the plots with-
out copper. The plots were retreated with minors at the rate of 1 pound
per acre per element in March. Clover yielded lower in April where boron,
copper, or all the minors were omitted. In the May yields, clover growth
was uniformly good. Total yield for the year averaged 5.5 tons from the
Fiskell and Winsor (20) observed in November 1957 that the Ladino
clover on Leon fine sand near Gainesville showed a remarkable response to
frit FN-501 at 30 pounds per acre applied at seeding the previous spring.
this effect persisted during the winter months but not for clover growth
in April and May. Liming levels and gypsum treatments all showed the
response on the half of the plot receiving the frit. Causes for the better
clover growth may have been better nodulation, since inoculation and lime
with the seed was uniform on all the plot areas. However, the effect was
likely nutritional since nearby clover plots have shown a need for boron
and copper. Clover seeding was done in the spring as well as in the fall
on the above plots.
In 1958 Fiskell (17) found that the survival of Ladino clover over the
summer months of the previous year was markedly better on those plots that
had received copper and boron. For 12 months the average oven-dry yield was
5.9 tons from plots that received all the minor elements, compared to 5.4
tons without copper, and 4.8 tons where either manganese, boron or all the
minor elements were not added. No nitrogen fertilizer had been applied to
the clover plots since 1952.
From these studies minor elements requirement of such forage on this
soil would appear to be satisfied from soil sources and ordinary fertilizer,
especially for iron, zinc, molybdenum, and perhaps manganese. Ample supply
of boron, manganese, and copper remained six years after fertilization at
the rate of 2a0 pounds per acre each with dolemanite and the sulphates of
manganese and copper.
Winsor (57) reported that Dutch white clover yielded 228 pounds dry
weight per acre on leon fine sand near Gainesville when the soil contained
0.20 ppm. of boron. Where the boron was increased to 0.37 ppm. by frit
FN-501 at 30 pounds per acre, the yield was 1,437 pounds. The additional
boron seems most necessary for establishment, as older stands on Leon and
Ona fine sands were excellent at 0.19 and 0.23 ppm. of boron, respectively.
A definite relationship between soil pH and minimum boron require-
ment in turnips and cabbage was observed by Winsor (58). Where soil p1H
reNected an adequate calcium supply, the amount of boron required was higher
than where pH was low. In the St. Johns and Flagler counties areas a
serious degree of boron deficiency in cabbage was found at boron levels
of 0.11 to 0.21 ppm on Leon and Bladen fine sands. Green beans grew poorly
in Alachua County where boron values were 0.17 to 0.20 ppm. but grew well
at 0.26 to 0.28 ppm. (55).
Westgate (53) reported that truck crops (including celery) on Leon
fine sand responded to boron and chelated iron (Fe EDTA) either as
foliar sprays or soil applications. Iron chlorosis of plants has been
corrected by foliar sprays of ferrous sulfate, but not by soil applications
of this iron compound. Other minor elements have not given response. The
essential elements N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S also gave responses to the crops.
Becker, Erwin, and Henderson (1) showed significant correlation between
the incidence of "salt-sickness" in cattle and the cobalt content of soils
on which animals were pastured.
Composition of Soils From Deficient Ranges, as Related to
the Occurrence of Nutritional Anemia in Cattle.
Soil Type Acid-Soluble Copper Iron Phosphorus pH
ppm. ppm. percent percent
Leon fine sand 0.007 1.61 0.007 .006 h.59
O. o0 3.15 0.013 .005 4.93
0.003 1.96 0.01o .013 4.72
Cobalt contents of soils from areas on which livestock
responded to cobalt therapy, following symptoms of deficiency.
Soil Type Acid-soluble cobalt (ppm)
Leon Fine Sand .002
Winsor (56) found that samples of Leon fine sand collected in paper
bags were contaminated by the boron in the bags. The extent of contamination
are shown in the table below. All soil samples to be analyzed for boron
should be protected by aluminum foil or some other materials free of boron.
Boron contamination of Soil Samples Collected in
Paper Bags as Determined by Boiling-Water
Extraction of the Air-Dried Soil
Depth pH Soil Boron When Sampled Boron Combination
Soil Type Sampled and dried in: from Paper Bags
Aluminum Paper Bags
inches ppppm.ppm. ppm.. percent
Sand 0-6 4.6 0.19 0.40 0.21 111
6-12 4.9 0.09 0.35 0.26 289
12-18 5.0 0.08 0.39 0.31 388
18-24 5.0 0,05 0.44 0.39 780
Analyses by Winsor (55) showed that the virgin Leon soils southeast
of Naples contained 0.12 ppm. of boron and between Naples and Ft. Myers,
0.20 ppm. It is possible that boron deficiency could become a problem in
these and similar intensively cultivated areas between Ft. Myers and Lake
Okeechobee. Unpublished data of analyses by Winsor of Leon samples are
given below for several locations in Florida.
Boron in Leon fine sand from various locations in
Florida, determined as boiling-water extractable.
H. W. Winsor, Department of Soils
Sample Miles and Town etc. Use Soil
*Boron for the first 5 samples may be somewhat in excess of true values,
as these samples were collected before it was known that samples may
become boron-contaminated from paper bags. All subsequent samples were
collected in bags with aluminum-foil liners.
Profile characteristics, nutrient concentrations, and microbial pop-
ulations of Leon fine sand used for vegetable production in the Sanford area
were determined (13). The upper part of the A2 horizon (9- to 12-inch depth)
which has a low organic matter content and low exchange capacity had small
amounts of nutrients and relatively few microorganisms compared to other parts
of the profile. In this layer, nutrient concentrations and numbers of micro-
organisms increased very little with increasing amounts of fertilizer.
Nutrient concentrations in the 12-to 30-inch portion of the profile increased
with rates of fertilization and, in spite of being continuously saturated
with water, numbers of microorganisms increased. There was a very good
correlation between number of fungi and bacteria and concentration of nitrate
Eno (14) found that large applications of wettable powders of DDT,
lindane, toxaphene, chlordane, aldrin, and dieldrin to Leon fine sand did
not affect relative numbers of fungi and bacteria, nitrate production, rate
of carbon dioxide production and urea hydrolysis in the soil. The data
continued to substantiate the opinion that the soil microbes were not being
seriously damaged by the present level of insectiuide residues in these
Malik (30) reported the following data relating to organic matter
content, total nitrogen, and nitrate-nitrogen production in some surface
layers of Leon soils.
The Organic Matter and Total Nitrogen Content and
Nitrate-Nitrogen Production in Certain
Sample No. Percent Percent NO-N Produced
Leon fine Organic Total (pp) in Days Total Ratio
sand Matter Nitrogen 1h 28 2 O.M/N O.M/N N/NO3
94 1.08 0.025 16.0 11.9 6.0 33.9 43.2 318.5 7.4
95 1.04 0.020 7.6 23.0 9.4 40.0 52.0 260.0 5.0
180 9.17 0.01o 0.5 2.9 6.5 9.9 62.8 931.9 14.8
197 2.45 0.0o8 22.1 0.7 0.0 22.8 50.9 1072.8 21.0
209 6.48 0.186 0.2 0.1 30.0 30.3 34.8 2132.7 61.3
213 5.13 0.092 0.2 3.1 0.5 3.8 55.7 1334.8 23.9
215 4.11 0.071 12.0 13.7 8.9 24.6 57.8 1188.3 20.5
Estimated average acre yields of the principal crops under two levels of management
(Yields in Columns A are those expected under common management practices; those in
to be expected under good management practices. Absence of yield figure indicates
not commonly grown.)
From report of Soil Survey of Orange County, Florida (28)
Columns B are
the crop is
A A B
Leon fine sand,
0 2% slopes
O 2 slopes
2 5% slopes
Leon fine sand,
0 2% slopes
0- 2% slopes
Leon fine sand,
0 2% slopes
0 2% slopes
Leon fine sand,
0 2% slopes
tons crates bushels crates
125 160 5 7 90 120 125 225 95 140 300 400
140 175 6 8 100 130 130 225
90 120 175
325 425 100 150 175 300
140 175 6 8 100 130 130 225 95 140 325 425 100 150 175
--From report of Soil Survey of Hillsborough County, Florida (27)
130 2001 4 7 85 110 160 250 50 90
130 2001 4 7 85 110 160 250 50 90
- 4 200 300 160 250
200 300 160 250
--From report of Soil Survey of Sarasota County, Florida (54)
80 100 5 9 85 110 130 275 95 140
80 loo 5 9 85
--From report of
- 125 300 200 260 125 2302
110 130 275 -
Soil Survey of Manatee County, Florida (9)
- 100 5 125 -
- LUU -_ 0 -
S. 200 -
1Polebeans 2Staked tomatoes
___ I __
_ __ ____
SOME PROPERTIES OF THE ORGANIC PAN IN LEON SOILS
The commonly accepted theory that the organic pan layer was toxic to
plant growth because of tannic acid was not supported by the data presented
(1l). The results from plant growth in pots showed that the organic pan
was more productive than the surface layer in all instances, and in no case
was there evidence of toxicity observed. Without fertilizer the organic pan
horizon invariably produced a better growth of oats in pots than did the
surface soil. Aluminum was very definitely concentrated in the organic pan
The Content of Iron, Aluminum, and Calciuk and Loss on
Ignition in the Different Horizons of Hardpan Soils.
--*L-IL----- II111~--- __~~ ___ ___~___ _~ ~ /
.1h98 9 71c
--I .1 7
(Samples collected in the potato fields near Hastings, Flagler Co., frla.)
Carbon, Nitrogen, and Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio in Hardpan Soils.
~--- _---------------- ---
No. Horizon Carbon Nitrogen Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio
1 A .671 .051 13.19
B .818 .0o9 16.69
C .361 .025 14.44
2 A .660 .0t7 16.17
B .516 .037 13.95
c .333 .021 15.86
Loss on Igfnition
Samples of the two organic pans in a Leon soil were collected east of
Cocoa and some of them were analyzed for carbon 14. The organic pan at a
depth less than 30 inches contained carbon approximately 1,100 years old,
and the second organic pan about 72 to 96 inches below the ground surface
contained carbon about 22,000 years old (L9).
Other Observations Concerning the Organic Pans
Two or more organic pans have been observed in other cuts and borings
in many places in Florida. Some of the deeper organic pans studies at the
edges of mine pits, which remain after mining phosphate in central Florida,
were several feet in thickness. The organic pan occurring near the surface
of the ground and the ones at greater depths have not been characterized as
to their forming processes. Some people believe that much of the organic
materials in the uppermost organic pan had moved downward through the sandy
layers and gradually -accumulated and bui3t upward from the location of a
former water table level. Other people believe that each of the organic pan
was formed when that portion of the soil profile was the surface soil and
before it was covered by a later deposition of sands. Some of the deeper
organic pans must have formed from old surface soils of former Bog-like
areas because the pans were several feet thick.
PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND SPECTROGRAPHIC ANALYSES OF SOME LEON SOILS
Data of physical, chemical and spectrographic analyses of several Leon
profiles from Alachua, Manatee and Collier counties were reported by Gammon
and et. al. (23). Fine sand and medium sand were the dominant particle-sizes
in the sandy horizons. The surface or topmost layers contained 1.3 to 5.1
percent silt and 0.5 to 1.3 percent clay. The leached horizons contained
less silt and clay than the surface layers. The organic pan layers had 1.7
to 6.3 percent silt and 1.0 to 5.8 percent clay. The organic matter content
ranged from 2.14 to 4.32 percent in the surface layers, from 0.10 to 0.43
percent in the leached layers, and from 1.24 to 5.01 percent in the organic
pan layers. The pH readings varied from 4.27 to 5.75 in the surface layers
and 4.39 to 4.91 in the organic pans. All of the horizons were very low
in calcium, potassium, and magnesium but the surface layers had greater
amounts of these elements than the other layers. The clay minerals of the
0 to 4-inch layer of Leon sample from Collier county consisted mostly of
quartz, hydrous mica, and montmorillonite and the 20 to 24-inch depth
(organic pan layer) consisted of quartz, kaolinite, hydrous mica and
vermiculite. (Analyzed by S. B McCaleb, North Carolina State University.)
Data of chemical analyses of Leon soils used for citrus in Brevard
county are given in Table 1 (39) of tte appendix. Data of pH and chemical
analyses of a virgin, newly cultivated, and old cultivated Leon fine sand
in Alachua county are given in Table 2 (8). The sand, silt, clay and P20g
contents and mineralogy of subsoil samples of Leon soils in Pasco and Citrus
counties are given in Table 3 (18). Data of chemical analyses of Leon soils
in Polk county are given in Table 4 (21). The engineering test data for a
profile of Leon fine sand in Sarasota County are given in Table 5 (54).
Profile samples were collected from several Leon soils near Gainesville
and Jacksonville. The description of the various layers are given in Table
6 (29). The data of the mechanical analyses showed that the upper 30 inches
of the profiles from Alachua county contained approximately 40 to 50 percent
fine sand and 25 to 32 percent medium sand particle sizes. These horizons
had 2.9 to 8.6 percent silt and 0.8 to 5.6 percent clay. Solution losses
ranged from 1.6 to 5.9 percent in the surface layers and from 2.1 to 7.7
percent in the organic pans. The samples from near Jacksonville had 55 to
95 percent fine sand size particles, 1.9 to 6.1 percent silt, and approxima-
tely 1.0 percent clay. The solution losses from these surface samples were
2.2 to 4.4 percent and 2.8 to 7.8 percent from the organic pans.
1. Becker, R. B., T. C. Erwin, and J. R. Henderson. Relation of Soil Type
and Composition to the Occurrence of Nutritional Anemia in Cattle.
Soil Science 62; 383-392, 1946.
2. Blue, W. G. Pasture Programs and Breeding Systems for Beef Production
on Flatwood soils of Central and North Central Florida. State
Project 627, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1955.
3. Pasture Programs and Breeding Systems for Beef Production on
Flatwood Soils of Central and North Central Florida. State Project
627, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1956.
-- Pasture Programs and Breeding Systems for Beef Production on Flat-
wood Soils of Central and North Central Florida. State Project 627,
Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1958.
5. Blue, W. G., N. Gammon, Jr., and J. R. Neller. Maintenance of Soil
Fertility Under Permanent Pasture. Hatch Project 40h, Fla. Agr.
Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1954.
6. -- Maintenance of Soil Fertility Under Permanent Pasture. Hatch
Project 40h, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1958.
7. Blue, W. G. and L. C. Hammond. Pasture Irrigation on Flatwood Soils.
State Project 684, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report 1956.
8. Breland, H. L. and J. A. NeSmith. A study of the Reproducibility of
Soil Analysis Results. Fla. Agr, Expt. Sta. Journal Series No. 1217.
9. Caldwell, R. E. and et al. Soil Survey of Manatee County, Florida.
U. S. Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. 1958.
10. Eddins, A. H. and D. L. Myhre. Corky Ringspot of Potatoes, State Project
715, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1956.
11. -- Corky Ringspot of Potatoes, State Project 715, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta.
Annual Report, 1957.
12. Corky Ringspot of Potatoes, State Project 715, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta.
Annual Report, 1959.
13. Eno, C. F., W. G. Blue, G. D. Thornton, and F. B. Smith. Interrelation-
ship of Microorganisms Action in Soils and Cropping Systems in
Florida. State Project 328, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1955.
14. Eno, C. F. Nitrification in Florida Soils. State Project 771. Fla.
Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
15. Fiskell, J. G. A. Availability and Leaching of Minor Elements in
Florida Soils. Purnell Project h47. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual
16. -- Retention and Availability of Minor Elements in Florida Soils.
Hatch Project 813. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1957.
17. -- Retention and Availability of Minor Elements in Florida Soils.
Hatch Project 813. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1958.
18. Fiskell, J. G. A. and L. 0. Rowland. Soil Chemistry of Subsoils of
West Central Florida. Soils and Crop Science Society of Florida.
In Press. 1960.
19. Fiskell, J. G. A. and W. H. Winsor. Availability and Leaching of Minor
Elements in Florida Soils. Purnell Project 447, Fla. Agr. Expt.
Sta. Annual Report, 1956.
20. -- Fertilization Value of Minor Element Sources Having a Moderate Rate
of Nutrient Release. State Project 792. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta.
Annual Report, 1958.
21. Fowler, Earl D. and et al. Soil Survey of Polk County, Florida. U. S.
Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1927.
22. Gammon, N., Jr., and et al. The Role of Major Bases in Florida Soils.
Hatch Project 598. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1960.
23. Gammon, N., Jr., and et al. Physical, Spectrographic and Chemical
Analyses of some Virgin Florida Soils. Bul. 524, Fla. Agr. Expt.
24. Hammond, L. C. Drainage of Flatwoods Soils With Plastic-lined Mole
Drains. Fla. Agr. Egpt. Sta. Annual Report, 1958.
25. Hammond, L. C. and J. M. Myers, Open-Ditch Systems for Water Table
Control on North Central Florida Flatwood Soils. State Project
946. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
26. Hammond, L. C, and F. B. Smith. Moisture Retention, Movement, Measure-
ment and Availability to Plants in Florida Soils. State Project 957,
Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
27. Leighty, R. G. and et al. Soil Survey of Hillsborough County, Florida.
U. S. Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1958
28. Leighty, R. G. and et al. Soil survey of Orange County, Florida.
U. S. Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1960.
29. Leighty, R. G. Unpublished data of soil samples. 1939.
30. Malik, Mohammon N. An Evaluation of Several Methods of Determining the
Nitrogen Status of Florida Soils. Master Thesis, University of
31. Myers, J. M. Tile Drainage Systems for Sandy Soils. Non-project
studies, Annual Report, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1959.
32. Myhre, D. L. Investigation of Factors Affecting Potato Production on
Old Land. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., Annual Report, 1956.
33. -- Investigation of Factors Affecting Potato Production on Old Land.
State Project 769, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1957.
34. -- Investigation of Factors Affecting Potato Production on Old Land.
State Project 769, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
35. Neller, J. R. Sulfur Requirements of Representative Florida Soils.
State Project 608, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1956.
36. Neller, J. R. and W. K. Robertson. Availability of Phosphorus from
Various Phosphates Applied to Different Soil Types. State Project
428, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1958.
37. Neller, J. R., W. K. Robertson, and T. L. Yuan. Availability of
Phosphorus from Various Phosphates Applied to Different Soil Types.
State Project 428, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1960.
38. Norden, A. J. Corn Production on Flatwood Soils. Non-project studies.
Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
39. Peech, M. and T. W. Young. Chemical Studies On Soils From Florida
Citrus Groves. Bul. 448, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1948.
40. Pritchett, W. L. and K. R. Swinford. Response of Slash Pine to
Colloidal Phosphate Fertilization. Presented before Division Va,
Soil Science Society of America, 24(1960), in press.
41. Richardson, L. A. The Factors Affecting the Formation of the Organic
Hardpan in the Florida Flatwood Soils. Master Thesis, University
of Florida, 1959.
42. Robertson, W. K. Yield Potential of Soils of the Flatwoods. Non-
project studies. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1960.
L3. -- Lime Needs of Certain Soils. Non-project studies. Fla. Agr.
Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1957.
44. Robertson, W. K. and et al. Results from Subsoiling and Deep Fertili-
zation of Corn for Two Years. Soil Science Society of America
Proceedings, 21; 340-346, 1957.
45. Robertson, W. K. and J. G. A. Fiskell. Subsoiling and Deep Placement
of Fertilizers. State Project 764, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual
46. -- Subsoiling and Deep Placement of Fertilizers. State Project 764,
Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1960.
47. Reuss, L. A. Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Improved Pastures
in Central Florida. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta., Bul. 600, 1958.
48. Sites, J. W., L. C. Hammond, and R. G. Leighty. Information Relative
to the Growing of Citrus on Flatwoods Soils. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta.
Circular (in press), 1961.
49. Soil Survey Laboratory, U.S.D.A., Beltsville, Maryland. Unpublished
50. Thomas, B. P. and et al. Soil Survey of Gadsden County, Florida.
U. S. Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. In Press.
51. Volk, G. M. Availability of Various Forms of Nitrogen Applied to
Florida Soils. State Project 687, Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual
52. Westgate, P. J. Nitrogen in Celery Fertilization. Soil Science
Society of Florida, 15: 86-90, 1955.
53. -- Minor Element Response of Vegetables at Sanford. A Review. Soil
Science Society of Florida, Vol. 15, 1954.
5k. Wildermuth, R. and et al. Soil Survey of Sarasota County, Florida.
U. S. Dept. of Agr. and Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. 1959.
55. Winsor, H. W. Rotention and Utilization of Boron in Florida Soils.
State Project 833. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1955
56. -- Level of Boron in Florida Soils. State Project 785. Fla. Agr.
Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1957.
57. -- Level of Boron in Florida Soils. State Project 785. Fla. Agr.
Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1959.
58. -- Level of Boron in Florida Soils. State Project 785. Fla. Agr.
Expt. Sta. Annual Report, 1960.
Table 1. Minimum, Maximum and Average Amounts of Various Constituents Found in Leon Fine Sand in
Different Citrus Groves (1942-1946 Survey) (39).
pH Base Exch.
Ca Mg K Mn
Cu Acid Water
Total Organic Ratio
Nitrate N % Matter Es.Cap Ratio
N % O.M. C-N'
Table 2. The pH and Easily Extractable Nutrients Levels
Obtained for Leon fine sand,
Location Condition pH CaO Ibs/A MgO lbs/A P205 lbs/A K20 lbs/A
ave. ave. ave, ave. ave.
Alachua Co. Virgin U.6 308 92 7 39
Alachua Co. Newly
Cultivated 5.0 $58 59 9 122
Alachua Co. Old
Cultivated 5.6 2,529 143 78 155
Average of 40 determinations over a period of three months using ammonium
acetate (pH 4.8) extracting solution.
Table 3. The Sand, Silt, Clay and P205 Contents and
Mineralogy of Leon Soils
Depth Particle Siz,e Distribution Total Clay Mineralogy from
Location Sampled Sand Silt Clay P205 Xray Diffraction
INCHES % % % % H20 Dispersed Whole
Pasco Co. 20-30 96.5 e5 1.0 .07 V2 K2 HM3 Q3
Pasco Co. 24-30 93o7 2.3 1.1 .02 V2 K2 Q2
Citrus Co. 20-30 96.9 .8 1.5 Oil KI V2 Q3
1Code for mineralogical data;
40% or greater
10 to 4C0
less than 10% present
Table h4 Chemical Analyses of Soils from Polk County, Florida
Depth Fe203 A1203 CaO MgO K20 Na20 P205 S03
0 % % % % % % %
(21 mi. east
Leon fine sand 0-5"
(12 mi. north 5-22"
and 4 mi. west
of Carters; 22-30"
5 mi. east of
..07 .15 .09 .03 .004 084 .00 .009
.05 .09 .02 .00 .000 .061 .00 .005
.07 1.17 o02 .01 .005 .056 .00 *000
.08 .68 .01 .00 .004 .041 .01 .000
,08 .47 .00 .00 .003 .062 .00 .000
.02 .00 .07 .03 .001 .076 .00 .010
.02 .00 .00 .00 .000 .039 .00 .002
.27 .53 .05 .02 .004 .052 .00 .000
1.73 4.90 .34 .22 .013 .094 .00 .006
,96 4.08 .27 .15 .018 .121 .06 .001
--- -- -~- -: `i-- -------I------------- ---- ----;-_--- ~
---- -- -- ~--- ------ ------ ------------ ~ ---
Name Depth Horizon Moisture-Density
d or Maximum Optimum
tion Inches Layer Dry Density Moisture
lb./cu. ft. %
fine 9-20 3 104 14
7S, R. 20-22 4 101 16
:y. 22-26 5 106 13
26-52 6 109 10
Tests performed by Bureau of Public Roads.
Table 5. Engineering Test Data for Soil Samples1
Percentage Passing Sieve Percentage Smaller Than:
No. 10 No. 40 No. 60 No. 200
(2.0mn)(0.42mm)(0.25mm)(0.074mm) 0.05m 0.02mm 0.005mm 0.002mm
100 96 76 5 5 5 3 1
100 98 75 12 9 6 6 5
100 97 76 9 8 6 4 3
100 97 78 6 5 4 3 2
DESCRIPTIONS OF SOIL PROFILES OF THE LEON SERIES IN FLORIDA
Profile No. 1. Leon fine sand, loamy phase.2/
Profile samples were taken south of Payne's Prairie on the south
side of the old Gainesville-Micanopy road and 3A miles west of the inter-
section of this road with the new highway.
Dark gray fine sand.
Gray fine sand, compact when wet.
Black compact hardpan layer.
Brown loamy fine sand (lower portion of hardpan layer.)
Brownish-gray loamy fine sand with brown pebbles.
Gray sandy clay with brown or reddish-brown streaks.
Gray sandy clay, well saturated with water, some pebbles and also
some brownish mottlings.
Profile No. 2. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken near the above location but nearer to
13 B 58-65"
Dark gray fine sand.
Gray to light gray fine sand.
Dark or black organic hardpan.
Brownish-gray loamy fine sand. Lower portion of hardpan.
Gray loamy fine sand with brown mottlings. Some pebbles or
Gray sandy clay loam. Small amount of mottlings.
Gray sandy clay with brown mottlings.
Profile No. 3. Leon fine sand, loamy phase.l/
Profile samples were taken on the west side of the new Gainesville-
Micanopy road and 1 mile south of Payne's Prairie.
14. 0-4" Dark gray fine sand.
15. 4-11" Gray to light gray fine sand,
16. 11-14" Black organic hardpan.
17. 14-18" Brownish-gray loamy fine sand with brown mottlings.
pebbles. Lower portion of hardpan.
18. 18-32" Brownish-gray loamy fine sand with brown mottlings.
pebbles or concretions.
19. 32-46" Brownish-gray fine sangrloam with brown mottlings.
20. 46-55" Gray sandy clay loam with a few brown mottlings.
Profile No. h. Leon fine sand, loamy phase./
Profile samples were taken 1 mile north of Marietta, Duval County,
Florida and adjacent to Bladen fine sandy loam.
21. 0-4" Dark gray fine sand, loamy.
22. 4-13" Gray fine sand.
23. 13-16" Black, dense organic hardpan.
24. 16-22" Dark brown fine sand with pale yellowish-gray mottlings, showing
25. 22-40" Gray to light gray fine sand with yellow mottlings.
26. 40-60" Yellowish-gray fine sandy clay loam streaked with reddish-brown
Profile No. 5. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken 1 mile west of Whitehouse, Du'val
27. 0-5" Dark gray fine sand.
28. 5-17" Light gray fine sand.
30. 18-24" Black organic hardpan.
31. 24-34" Yellowish-brown fine sand. (Lower portion of hardpan).
32. 34-46" Yellowish-gray fine sand with some brown mottlings.
33. 46-60" Dark gray fine sand. (Formerly an old hardpan).
Profile No. 6. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken along the Jacksonville-Jacksonville
Beach Road eight miles east of the St. Johns River Bridge, Duval County,
34. 0-6" Dark gray fine sand.
35. 6-26" Gray fine sand.
36, 26-32" Black organic hardpan.
37. 32-38" Dark brown to brown fine. Lower portion of hardpan,
38. 38-60" Gray fine sand with a little brown colorings.
Profile No. 7. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken 1 miles west of Orange Heights on the
south side of the Gainesville-Melrose road, Alachua County, Florida.
39. 0-4" Gray fine sand, darkened some by organic matter.
4O. 4-18" Gray to light gray fine sand.
41. 18-25" Dark brown fine sand (hardpan layer).
42. 25-32" Yellowish-brown fine sand (lower portion of hardpan layer).
43. 32-52" Yellowish-gray fine sand with a few brown mottlings.
4h, 52-62" Gray fine sandy clay loam with yellow and brown mottlings,
Profile No. 8. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken 3A miles Northwest of Fairbanks, Florida
along the Fairbanks-Louise County road.
45. 0-h" Gray fine sand, darkened with some organic matter.
46. 4-22" Light gray fine sand.
47. 22-25" Dark brown organic hardpan.
48. 25-36" Yellowish-gray to brownish-gray fine sand.
49. 36-58" Yellowish-gray fine sand.
50. 58-70" Dark gray to gray fine sand with light gray mottlings. Could
not reach sandy clay at 9 foot depth.
Profile No. 9. Leon fine sand.
Profile samples were taken l1 miles Northwest of Fairbanks, Alachua
51. 0-5" Gray fine sand with a small amount of organic matter.
52. 5-24" Light gray fine sand.
53. 24-28" Dark gray fine sand, disintegrated hardpan.
54. 28-40" Brownish-gray to yellowish-gray fine sand,
55. 0O-54" Gray fine sand with a few yellow mottlings.
56. Sh-66" Gray fine sand
2/The heavy substratum phase includes the loamy phase of former years.