Established Series
Rev. WHC


The Ashton series consists of very deep, well drained, moderately permeable soils that formed in loamy alluvium. These soils are on low stream terraces and alluvial fans. Slopes range from 0 to 15 percent.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Fine-silty, mixed, active, mesic Mollic Hapludalfs

TYPICAL PEDON: Ashton silt loam, on a low stream terrace in a cultivated field. (Colors are for moist soil unless otherwise stated.)

Ap--0 to 9 inches; dark brown (10YR 3/3) silt loam, brown (10YR 5/3) dry; weak fine granular structure; very friable; many fine roots; slightly acid; clear smooth boundary. (7 to 10 inches thick)

BA--9 to 15 inches; brown (7.5YR 4/4) silt loam; weak fine subangular blocky structure; friable; common fine roots; slightly acid; gradual smooth boundary. (0 to 15 inches thick)

Bt--15 to 44 inches; brown (7.5YR 4/4) silt loam; weak medium subangular blocky structure; friable; few fine roots; few fine pores; thin patchy clay films in pores and on ped faces; common fine black concretions; slightly acid; gradual smooth boundary. (20 to 40 inches thick)

C--44 to 80 inches; dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/4) silt loam; massive; friable; common fine black concretions; slightly acid.

TYPE LOCATION: Clark County, Kentucky; 4-1/2 miles north of Winchester, 1/4 mile west of U. S. Highway 227 and 300 yards east of Hoods Creek.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Solum thickness ranges from 40 to 60 inches. Depth to bedrock is more than 60 inches and is commonly many feet. There are from 0 to 5 percent pebbles, by volume, in the solum, and from 0 to 10 percent in the C horizon. The reaction ranges from neutral through medium acid.

The Ap or A1 horizon has a hue of 10YR or 7.5YR, value of 3, and chroma of 2 or 3 and the dry color value is less than 6; typically it is silt loam but is loam or fine sandy loam in some pedons; structure is weak or moderate very fine through medium granular. Some pedons have an A1 or A3 horizon up to 6 inches thick immediately below the Ap horizon with hues of 10YR or 7.5YR, value of 4, and chroma of 2 or 3; it is silt loam.

The BA horizon has hues of 10YR or 7.5YR, value of 4, and chroma of 2 through 4; structure is weak or moderate, very fine through medium subangular blocky or granular; consistence is friable or very friable. The Bt horizon has hues of 7.5YR or 5YR, values 3 through 5, and chroma of 3 through 6; typically, it is silt loam or silty clay loam, but some pedons have subhorizons of loam in the lower part; structure is commonly weak or moderate, very fine through medium subangular blocky but some pedons have weak coarse prismatic that parts to subangular blocky; consistence is friable or firm. Some pedons have a BC horizon up to 15 inches thick with color and texture like the Bt horizon.

Hue, value, and chroma of the C horizon are like those of the B2t horizon except that hue of 10YR is also included. Texture is silt loam, silty clay loam, silty clay, loam, or fine sandy loam and some pedons have thin strata ranging from fine sand through silty clay. Some pedons have few or common mottles in shades of brown or gray below 36 inches.

COMPETING SERIES: These are the Batavia, Bowes, Downs, Festina, Frankville, Grays, Harvard, Hedrick, Juda, Knox, Massbach, Mellott, Mt. Carroll, Myrtle, Nassett, Richview, Shelbyville, Sicily, Watkins, Waubeek, and Wingate series in the same family. Batavia, Bowes, Harvard, Juda, Mellott, Richview, Waubeek, and Wingate soils formed in loess and the underlying glacial till or outwash. In addition, Juda soils commonly have sola less than 40 inches thick and have free carbonates at a depth of 20 to 40 inches. Downs, Hedrick, Knox, Mt. Carroll, and Sicily formed entirely in loess. Festina soils are cooler with mean annual temperatures of 45 to 52 degrees F. They are also drier for longer periods of time, and in addition, have hues of 10YR in the B2t horizon. Frankville soils have limestone bedrock at a depth less than 40 inches. Grays soils have free carbonates at a depth of 20 to 40 inches. Massbach, Nassett, and Shelbyville soils formed in loess and the underlying clayey residuum of limestone or shale. They have clayey 2B horizons. Myrtle soils have sola more than 60 inches thick and the lower part formed in paleosols from glacial till. Watkins soils have A2 and B1 horizons containing distinct light gray grainy ped coatings.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Low stream terraces and alluvial fans. Slopes range from 0 to 15 percent. These soils formed in alluvium derived from limestone or partly in residuum from limestone. Annual precipitation ranges from about 25 to 45 inches. Mean annual temperature ranges from 52 to 57 degrees F.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: These are the Elk, Huntington, and Wheeling series. Elk and Wheeling soils lack A horizons with color values of a mollic epipedon and they are typically more acid. Also, Wheeling soils have a control section that is more than 15 percent fine sand and coarser. Huntington soils have a mollic epipedon more than 10 inches thick and do not have an argillic horizon.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Well drained. Runoff is slow or medium and permeability is moderate. Some areas are flooded occasionally.

USE AND VEGETATION: Nearly all areas now are used for growing cultivated crops and pasture. Crops include corn, small grains, burley tobacco, truck crops, potatoes, and hay. Native vegetation is mostly oaks, maples, elms, sycamore, poplars, black gum, shagbark hickory, ash, and beech.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland, and possibly Arkansas, and Indiana. The series is of large extent, with a total of roughly 100,000 acres.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Northumberland County, Pennsylvania; 1942.

National Cooperative Soil Survey