Established Series


The Washington series consists of deep, well drained soils formed in old glacial drift (pre-Wisconsin Age) or colluvium derived mainly from limestone and granitic gneiss. Washington soils occur on nearly level to steep glacial till plains in limestone valleys. Slope ranges from 0 to 40 percent. Mean annual air temperature ranges from 50 to 55 degrees F. and mean annual precipitation is about 40 to 48 inches.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Fine-loamy, mixed, semiactive, mesic Ultic Hapludalfs

TYPICAL PEDON: Washington loam - pastured. (Colors are for moist soils.)

Ap--0 to 9 inches, dark yellowish brown (10YR 3/4) loam; moderate medium granular structure; friable; many fine roots; 10 percent subangular pebbles composed of granitic gneiss, sandstones, chert and leached limestone; neutral; clear smooth boundary. (7 to 12 inches thick)

Bt1--9 to 17 inches, strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) loam; moderate fine and medium subangular blocky structure; friable; many fine roots; few thin clay films on ped faces; 5 percent 3 mm to .25-inch granitic gneiss fragments; many worm channels filled with dark soil; neutral; diffuse wavy boundary.

Bt2--17 to 29 inches, strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) clay loam; strong medium and coarse subangular blocky structure, parting to moderate medium subangular and angular blocky; friable; few very fine roots; many thick clay films on ped faces and in the many worm channels; 5 percent thoroughly weathered and slightly weathered granitic gneiss fragments .25 to 1.25 inches in diameter; neutral; diffuse wavy boundary.

Bt3--29 to 42 inches, strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) clay loam; moderate medium subangular and angular blocky structure; friable; patchy maganese stains; thin patchy clay films on ped faces; 10 percent weathered gneiss, quartz and chert pebbles and few, soft, weathered, limestone pebbles; coarse sand and fine gravel impart gritty feel; neutral; gradual wavy boundary.

Bt4--42 to 52 inches, strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) clay loam; moderate, medium subangular and angular blocky structure; friable; thin, patchy clay films on ped faces; 10 percent gneiss, quartz, chert and limestone pebbles; coarse sand and fine gravel imparts a more gritty feel than in the Bt3 horizon; neutral; diffuse irregular boundary. (Combined thickness of the Bt horizons is 29 to 55 inches)

C--52 to 72 inches, brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) blotched with strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) loam grading toward gravelly silt loam with depth; massive; friable; coarse fragments increase from 10 percent to 35 percent with depth with increasing limestone or limey shale and less gneiss; neutral; abrupt irregular boundary. (0 to 140 inches thick)

2R--72 inches, massive and shaly dark gray limestone, with many large solution cavities.

TYPE LOCATION: Hunterdon County, New Jersey; 3 miles northeast of West Portal, DeBoor farm, in pasture, second field back from buildings, 100 feet in from fence corner on top of slope. Radioactive fallout sample site.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Solum thickness ranges from 40 to 60 inches. Depth to bedrock is 5 to 20 feet and variable within short distances. Weighted average clay content ranges from about 20 to 35 percent and sand is less than 40 percent in the control section. Subangular to rounded coarse fragments range from 2 to 35 percent, distributed throughout solum but usually increasing slightly with depth. Quartz, gneiss and chert fragments dominate in the solum, but soft, thoroughly weathered limestone and limey shale ghosts increase near the bottom of solum and limestone fragments increase in the substratum. Reaction ranges from moderately acid to neutral, generally becoming less acid with depth.

The Ap horizon has hue of 10YR or 7.5YR, with value of 3 or 4 and chroma of 2 through 4. Texture is loam, silt loam or clay loam and gravelly analogues. A horizons rarely occur, but when present have value of 3 and chroma of 1 through 3.

The B horizon has hue of 7.5YR or 10YR, with values of 5 or 6 and chroma of 4 through 8. Texture is dominantly clay loam or loam, but silt loam or silty clay loam textures occur in individual subhorizons. Structure ranges from moderate to strong, medium to coarse, subangular to angular blocky. The soil is typically friable throughout but some pedons may have some firmness in the lower B.

The C horizon dominantly has hue of 7.5YR or 10YR, but includes 5YR. Value is 4 through 6 and chroma is 4 through 8. Coarse lithochromic mottling may occur. Textures include clay loam, loam and silt loam. Where 2C horizons occur, texture may include silty clay loam, silty clay and clay. Structure is generally massive and consistence is friable.

COMPETING SERIES: These are the Bolton, Bookwood, Carpenter, Renox, and Ryder series. Bolton soils have 5YR and redder hues in the sola. Bookwood soils have interbedded limestone, shale and siltstone bedrock at 40 to 60 inches and have rock fragments consisting of primarily limestone, siltstone and shale throughout. Carpenter soils have rock fragments that are domantly sandstone, siltstone, shale, geodes, or chert throughout. Renox soils have rock fragments consisting of primarily of shale, siltstone, limestone, chert, geodes, and sandstone that are mostly gravel- or channer-sized. Ryder soils have interbedded limestone and limy shale bedrock at 20 to 40 inches.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Washington soils occur on nearly level to steep till plains within limestone valleys, commonly with many shallow, closed depressions. The soils formed in old glacial drift (pre-Wisconsin Age) or colluvium from these materials, typically overlying limestone bedrock. Mean annual air temperature ranges from 50 to 55 degrees F. and mean annual precipitation is about 40 to 48 inches.
Frost free period typically ranges from 163 to 188 days.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: These include the Allenwood, Annandale, Bartley, Bedington, Berks, Edneyville, Elliber, Evendale, Kreamer, Lawrence, Melvin, Thorndale, Turbotville and Wiltshire soils. Allenwood, Annandale, Bedington and Edneyville soils have base saturation below 35 percent and Annandale also has a fragipan. Bartley, Lawrence, Thorndale, Turbotville and Wiltshire soils have fragipans and redox features above the fragipan. The Berks and Elliber soils have shallower sola, more rock fragments throughout, and lack argillic horizons. The Evendale, Kreamer and Melvin soils are poorly drained and have redox features in the upper part of the solum.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Well drained. Saturated hydraulic conductivity is moderately high. Permeability (obsolete) is moderate. Index surface runoff class is low to high (depending on slope).

USE AND VEGETATION: Nearly all of this soil is cropped for vegetables, general farming and pasture.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: Northwest New Jersey and east-central Pennsylvania. The series is of large extent with about 122,000 acres identified.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Belvidere, New Jersey, 1917.

REMARKS: The 12/2005 revision places Washington soils in a semiactive family based on six characterization pedons. Control section CEC-7/clay ratios range from .19 to .37, with four semiactive and two subactive. The pedon description was updated to current horizon nomenclature and redoximorphic feature terminology. Competing series section was also updated. The "heavy" textural modifiers were removed from the Bt1 and C horizons and "light" textural modifier was removed from the Bt4 horizon.

Diagnostic horizons and features recognized in this pedon are:
a) Ochric epipedon - the zone from the surface of the soil to a depth of 9 inches (Ap horizon)
b) Argillic horizon - zone from 9 to 52 inches (Bt1, Bt2, Bt3 and Bt4 horizons)
c) Lithologic discontinuity at 72 inches (top of 2R horizon)
ADDITIONAL DATA: Characterization data are available for pedons 83NJ019002, 91NJ041001, 91NJ041002, 91NJ041003, 94NJ041001, 94NJ041002, from the National Soil Survey Laboratory, Lincoln, NE.
MLRA: 148, the northeast margin of 147, and the southern fringe of 144A
REVISED: 04/81-KPW-CFJ-LEG; 12/2005-DHK

National Cooperative Soil Survey