Table 18 shows estimates of some physical characteristics and features that affect soil behavior. These estimates are given for the layers of each soil in the park. The estimates are based on field observations and on test data for these and similar soils.
Depth to the upper and lower boundaries of each layer is indicated.
Particle size is the effective diameter of a soil particle as measured by sedimentation, sieving, or micrometric methods. Particle sizes are expressed as classes with specific effective diameter class limits. The broad classes are sand, silt, and clay, ranging from the larger to the smaller.
Sand as a soil separate consists of mineral soil particles that are 0.05 millimeter to 2 millimeters in diameter. In table 18, the estimated sand content of each soil layer is given as a percentage, by weight, of the soil material that is less than 2 millimeters in diameter.
Silt as a soil separate consists of mineral soil particles that are 0.002 to 0.05 millimeter in diameter. In table 18, the estimated silt content of each soil layer is given as a percentage, by weight, of the soil material that is less than 2 millimeters in diameter.
Clay as a soil separate consists of mineral soil particles that are less than 0.002 millimeter in diameter. In table 18, the estimated clay content of each soil layer is given as a percentage, by weight, of the soil material that is less than 2 millimeters in diameter.
The content of sand, silt, and clay affects the physical behavior of a soil. Particle size is important for engineering and agronomic interpretations, for determination of soil hydrologic qualities, and for soil classification.
The amount and kind of clay affect the fertility and physical condition of the soil and the ability of the soil to adsorb cations and to retain moisture. They influence shrink-swell potential, permeability, plasticity, the ease of soil dispersion, and other soil properties. The amount and kind of clay in a soil also affect tillage and earthmoving operations.
Moist bulk density is the weight of soil (ovendry) per unit volume. Volume is measured when the soil is at field moisture capacity, that is, the moisture content at 1/3– or 1/10-bar (33kPa or 10kPa) moisture tension. Weight is determined after the soil is dried at 105 degrees C. In the table, the estimated moist bulk density of each soil horizon is expressed in grams per cubic centimeter of soil material that is less than 2 millimeters in diameter. Bulk density data are used to compute shrink-swell potential, available water capacity, total pore space, and other soil properties. The moist bulk density of a soil indicates the pore space available for water and roots. Depending on soil texture, a bulk density of more than 1.4 can restrict water storage and root penetration. Moist bulk density is influenced by texture, kind of clay, content of organic matter, and soil structure.
Permeability (Ksat ) refers to the ability of a soil to transmit water or air. The term “permeability,” as used in soil surveys, indicates saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat). The estimates in the table indicate the rate of water movement, in inches per hour, when the soil is saturated. They are based on soil characteristics observed in the field, particularly structure, porosity, and texture. Permeability is considered in the design of soil drainage systems and septic tank absorption fields.
Available water capacity refers to the quantity of water that the soil is capable of storing for use by plants. The capacity for water storage is given in inches of water per inch of soil for each soil layer. The capacity varies, depending on soil properties that affect retention of water. The most important properties are the content of organic matter, soil texture, bulk density, and soil structure. Available water capacity is an important factor in the choice of plants to be grown and in the design and management of irrigation systems. Available water capacity is not an estimate of the quantity of water actually available to plants at any given time.