Soils are like Times Square in New York City: the center of activity. Soils are built on the foundation of bedrock and surficial geology and provide the foundation for plant and animal life.
Five factors influence the formation and distribution of soils across a landscape:
- Parent material: bedrock and/or surficial geology provide the materials for soil to develop and determine characteristics such as soil chemistry, depth, and texture.
- Climate: climatic factors, such as precipitation and temperature, impact a soil’s rate of decomposition and weathering.
- Vegetation: leaf nutrients, plant shade, and root systems influence soil development; for example, the needles of a spruce would acidify soils, and the leaves of a maple would enrich soils.
- Topography: slope, slope aspect, and landscape position determine how water will flow through a site; for example, the slope aspect of Tousant Hill is west, which sends water toward the Lamoille River.
- Time: the maturity of a soil; for example, Vermont has relatively young soils because they formed after the last glacial period, approximately 13,500 years ago.
Soils of Greensboro Bend
In Greensboro Bend, the predominant soils (author-defined as greater than 10% of the village’s total 314 acres), are:
- Moosilauke | Fine Sandy Loam | 0-3% Slope | 18.4% of total land area
- Colton-Duxbury | Fine Sandy Loam | 3-8% Slope | 11.3% of total land area
- Monadnock | Fine Sandy Loam | 15-35% Slope | 14% of total land area
- Monadnock | Fine Sandy Loam | 35-60% Slope | 13.2% of total land area
The Moosilauke Very Fine Sandy Loam soil is built from sand and gravel deposits left by glacial meltwater—outwash plains and stream terraces. Sandy loams have a gritty texture; if you were to rub the particles between your fingers, it would feel like a fine-grit sandpaper. The soil is poorly drained and hydric. Hydric, as defined by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is, “a soil that formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part.” The Moosilauke Very Fine Sandy Loam soil can function as prime farmland, if it’s drained.
The Colton-Duxbury Fine Sandy Loam soil is also built from sand and gravel glacial meltwater deposits and associated with outwash plains and stream terraces. In contrast to the Moosilauke soil, it is excessively drained and not hydric. The Colton-Duxbry soil in the 3-8% slope range is designated as farmland of statewide importance.
The Monadnock Find Sandy Loams are associated with hill and mountain landforms (Tousant Hill in Greensboro Bend and Stannard). The “parent material” is loamy glacial till, derived from metamorphosed sedimentary rock (marble and mica). The Monadnock soil in the 8-15% slope range is designated as farmland of statewide importance.
The table below summarizes each soil type present in Greensboro Bend village.
|Soil Name||Soil Texture||Slope||Hydric||Other|
|Croghan||Loamy Fine Sand||0-3%||No|
|Moosilauke||Very Fine Sandy Loam||0-3%||Yes|
|Colton-Duxbury||Fine Sandy Loam||3-8%||No|
|Colton-Duxbury||Fine Sandy Loam||8-15%||No|
|Colton-Duxbury||Fine Sandy Loam||25-60%||No|
|Cabot||Silt Loam||8-15%||Yes||Very stony|
|Rumney||Fine Sandy Loam||0-3%/td>||Yes||Frequently flooded|
|Wonsqueak & Pondicherry||Muck||0-2%||Yes|
|Monadnock||Fine Sandy Loam||8-15%||No|
|Monadnock||Fine Sandy Loam||15-35%||No||Very stony|
|Monadnock||Fine Sandy Loam||35-60%||No||Very stony|
|Vershire-Glover||Very Fine Sandy Loam||8-15%||No||Very rocky|
|Vershire-Glover||Very Fine Sandy Loam||15-35%||No||Very rocky|
|Source: Web Soil Survey. National Cooperative Soil Survey.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
- Soil material that is 7 to 27 percent clay particles, 28 to 50 percent silt particles, and less than 52 percent sand particles.
- Dark, finely divided, well decomposed organic soil material.
- Rock fragments
- Rock or mineral fragments having a diameter of 2 millimeters or more; for example, pebbles, cobbles, stones, and boulders.
- As a soil separate, individual rock or mineral fragments from 0.05 millimeter to 2.0 millimeters in diameter. Most sand grains consist of quartz. As a soil textural class, a soil that is 85 percent or more sand and not more than 10 percent clay.
- As a soil separate, individual mineral particles that range in diameter from the upper limit of clay (0.002 millimeter) to the lower limit of very fine sand (0.05 millimeter). As a soil textural class, soil that is 80 percent or more silt and less than 12 percent clay.
- Soil separates
- Mineral particles less than 2 millimeters in equivalent diameter and ranging between specified size limits. The names and sizes, in millimeters, of separates recognized in the United States are as follows:
- Very coarse sand: 2.0 to 1.0 mm
- Coarse sand: 1.0 to 0.5 mm
- Medium sand: 0.5 to 0.25 mm
- Fine sand: 0.25 to 0.10 mm
- Very fine sand: 0.1 to 0.05 mm
- Silt: 0.05 to 0.002 mm
- Clay: Less than 0.002 mm
- Rock fragments 10 to 24 inches (25 to 60 centimeters) in diameter if rounded or 15 to 24 inches (38 to 60 centimeters) in length if flat.
- Refers to a soil containing stones in numbers that interfere with or prevent tillage.
Source: Web Soil Survey. National Cooperative Soil Survey. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Thompson, E.H., & Sorenson, E.R. (2000). Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.
Villars, T. (2006). Vermont Soil and Land Judging Manual. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). White River Junction, VT.