Established Series


The Birchwood series consists of very deep, moderately well drained soils formed in a mantle of sandy material overlying dense till on uplands. They are nearly level to strongly sloping soils on plains. Slope ranges from 0 to 15 percent. Permeability is moderately rapid or rapid in the surface layer, rapid or very rapid in the subsoil and slow to very slow in the dense substratum. Mean annual temperature is about 50 degrees F. and the mean annual precipitation is about 45 inches.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Mixed, mesic Aquic Udipsamments

TYPICAL PEDON: Birchwood sandy loam - in a cultivated field at an elevation of about 18 feet. (Colors are for moist soil.)

Ap--0 to 10 inches; dark brown (10YR 3/3) sandy loam; weak coarse granular structure; very friable; many fine roots; 2 percent rock fragments; strongly acid; abrupt smooth boundary. (6 to 10 inches thick)

Bw1--10 to 15 inches; yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) loamy sand; weak fine granular structure; very friable; common fine roots; 10 percent rock fragments; strongly acid; clear wavy boundary.

Bw2--15 to 24 inches; yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) loamy sand; common medium faint brown (10YR 4/3) and common medium distinct grayish brown (10YR 5/2) iron depletions; single grain; loose; few fine roots; 10 percent rock fragments; strongly acid; clear wavy boundary. (Combined thickness of the Bw horizons is 6 to 24 inches.)

2Cd--24 to 60 inches; black (10YR 2/1) gravelly sandy loam; weak thick platy structure; very firm; 25 percent rock fragments; strongly acid.

TYPE LOCATION: Bristol County, Rhode Island; town of Bristol on Popasquash Neck, about 2265 feet west of Usher Point. USGS Bristol quadrangle, 41 degrees, 39 minutes, 42 seconds N, 71 degrees, 18 minutes, 8 seconds W, NAD 27.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Thickness of the solum and depth to the dense substratum ranges from 20 to 38 inches. Depth to bedrock is commonly more than six feet. Rock fragments range from 0 to 25 percent in the surface layer, 0 to 20 percent in the subsoil and from 5 to 35 percent in the substratum. Except where the surface layer is stony, the fragments are mostly subrounded pebbles and typically make up 65 percent or more of the total rock fragments. Unless limed, the soil is very strongly acid to slightly acid, but some horizon between 10 and 40 inches is moderately acid or slightly acid.

The Ap horizon has hue 10YR or 7.5YR value 3 or 4 and chroma 2 to 4. Undisturbed pedons have a thin A horizon that has hue 10YR, value 2 or 3 and chroma 1 or 2. The Ap or A horizon is fine sandy loam, sandy loam, loamy fine sand or loamy sand in the fine earth. It has weak granular structure and is friable or very friable.

Some pedons have a thin E horizon below the A horizon. It has hue 10YR or 2.5Y value 4 through 6 and chroma 1 to 3. Texture, structure and consistence are like the A horizon.

The B horizon has hue 7.5YR to 2.5Y, value and chroma 4 to 6. Some pedons have a thin lower B horizon with 5YR hue. The lower part of the B horizon has distinct or prominent redoximorphic features above a depth of 24 inches. The B horizon is loamy fine sand, loamy sand, fine sand or sand in the fine earth. It has weak, fine or medium granular structure or it is massive or single grain. Consistence is very friable or loose.

The 2Cd horizon is neutral or has hue 2.5YR to 5Y, value 2 to 5 and chroma 1 to 4, and commonly has redoximorphic features. It is fine sandy loam, loam or silt loam in the fine earth. The horizon has weak or moderate, thin to thick plates or it is massive. Consistence is firm or very firm.

COMPETING SERIES: Theses are the Algansee, Altmar, Brems, Brockatonorton, Deerfield, Elnora, Fortress, Livonia, Meckling, Morocco, Ottokee, Partridge, Tedrow, and Zaborosky series.

Algansee, Brems, Brockatonorton, Livonia, Morocco, Ottokee, Partridge, Tedrow, and Zaborosky soils are from outside LRR R.

Algansee soils have an irregular decrease in organic carbon. Altmar and Livonia soils do not have a densic contact within 100 cm of the mineral soil surface. Brems and Ottokee soils have a solum more than 40 inches thick. Brockatonorton soils have a buried histic epipedon. Elnora soils contain less medium and coarse sand in the lower part of the control section and lack angular rock fragments. Morocco and Partridge and Zaborosky soils have iron depletions above 15 inches. Tedrow and Zaborosky soils are calcareous within the series control section.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Birchwood soils are nearly level to strongly sloping soils on till plains that typically border outwash terraces. Slope ranges from 0 to 15 percent but commonly is less than 8 percent. The soils formed in sandy sediments over loamy till. The till is derived from a wide variety of rocks, including sandstone, shale, phyllite, schist, gneiss, and granite. Mean annual temperature is 45 degrees to 52 degrees F., mean annual precipitation is 40 to 50 inches and the growing season is 120 to 185 days.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: These are the Acton, Agawam, Bernardston, Broadbrook, Deerfield, Ellington, Essex, Hartford, Hinckley, Hinesburg, Ludlow, Manchester, Merrimac, Narragansett, Newport, Ninigret, Paxton, Penwood, Pittstown, Pompton, Poquonock, Quonset, Rainbow, Scituate, Sudbury, Sutton, Wapping, Watchaug, Wethersfield, Windsor, and Woodbridge soils on nearby landscapes.

Acton soils are sandy-skeletal and lack a dense substratum. Agawam, Hartford, Hinckley, Manchester, Merrimac, Penwood, Quonset and Windsor soils are better drained soils on nearby terraces. Bernardston, Broadbrook, Narragansett, Newport, Paxton, Pittstown, Rainbow, Wapping and Wethersfield soils are loamy soils on nearby uplands. Deerfield, Ellington, Ninigret, and Sudbury soils have a stratified sandy or sandy and gravelly substratum within a depth of 40 inches. Essex soils are better drained upland soils with a loamy sand substratum.
Hinesburg soils lack redoximorphic features in the B horizon and are underlain by stratified and varved loamy lacustrine materials. Ludlow and Woodbridge soils have a coarse-loamy particle-size control section. Pompton, Sutton, and Watchaug soils are coarse-loamy and lack a dense substratum. Poquonock soils (well drained) are associated in a drainage sequence. Scituate soils have a loamy solum.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Moderately well drained. Surface runoff is negligible or very low. Permeability is moderately rapid or rapid in the surface layer, rapid or very rapid in the subsoil and slow or very slow in the substratum. Saturated hydraulic conductivity is high or very high in the solum and low to moderately high in the substratum.

USE AND VEGETATION: Most areas are used for hay and pasture but some acreage is used for tobacco, vegetables, potatoes, and silage corn. Some areas are used for community development. A few areas are idle or used as woodland. Common trees are red, white and black oak, red maple, white ash, gray birch, and white pine.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: Sandy mantled glaciated uplands of Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island; MLRA 144A. The series is of small extent.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Hartford County, Connecticut, 1959.

REMARKS: Geographic coordinates determined from narrative description.

Diagnostic horizons and features recognized in this pedon include:

1. Ochric epipedon - from a depth of 0 to 10 inches (Ap horizon)
2. Psamments - less than 35 percent rock fragments and a texture of loamy fine sand or coarser in all layers from a depth of 0 to 24 inches (Ap, Bw1, and Bw2 horizons).
3. Aquic feature - redox depletions with a chroma of 2 or less and aquic conditions within 100 cm. of the mineral soil surface.
4. Densic materials - at a depth of 24 to 60 inches (Cd horizon).

ADDITIONAL DATA: Reference samples from pedons 93P0706, samples 93P4885-4893 and 95P0006, samples 95P0032-0046 from Plymouth County, MA; samples by NSSL, Lincoln, NE, 7/93 and 9/94.

National Cooperative Soil Survey