The following is a map unit description from the "Soil Survey of Barnstable County, Massachusetts (Fletcher, 1993)"

BaC-Barnstable sandy loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes.

This very deep, strongly sloping, well drained soil is on hills and ridges in areas of ground moraine and ice-contact deposits. It makes up less than 0.1 percent (169 acres) of the survey area. It is mapped mainly in the Plymouth-Carver-Barnstable general soil map unit. Areas are irregular in shape and range from 5 to 60 acres in size.

Typically, the surface is covered with an organic layer. This layer is about 1 inch of undecomposed pine needles, leaves, and twigs and 2 inches of partly decomposed and well decomposed organic material. The surface layer is dark gray, very friable sandy loam about 1 inch thick. The subsoil is friable sandy loam about 22 inches thick. The upper 1 inch is dark brown, the next 7 inches is yellowish brown, and the lower 14 inches is light olive brown. The substratum to a depth of 65 inches or more is light yellowish brown, loose coarse sand.

Included with this soil in mapping are areas of Carver, Merrimac, Nantucket, and Plymouth soils. Also included are small areas where slopes are less than 8 percent or more than 15 percent and scattered spots where stones are on the surface. Included soils make up about 30 percent of this unit.

Permeability is moderately rapid in the subsoil of the Barnstable soil and rapid or very rapid in the substratum. Available water capacity is moderate. Depth to the seasonal high water table is more than 6 feet.

Most areas are used as woodland. Many areas have been developed for homesites, and a few areas are farmed.

This soil is suited to cultivated crops. Good tilth can be easily maintained in cultivated areas. The soil is subject to erosion, especially in the steeper areas, and tends to be droughty during periods of low rainfall. Farming on the contour or across the slope, terracing, stripcropping, including grasses and legumes in the crop rotation, growing cover crops, and applying a system of conservation tillage help to control runoff and erosion. Mixing crop residue and manure into the surface layer increases the organic matter content and helps to maintain good tilth.

This soil is well suited to hay and pasture. The main management objective is the prevention of overgrazing, which reduces the hardiness and density of desirable plants and exposes the soil to erosion. Proper stocking rates, timely grazing, and restricted use during wet periods help to maintain plant density and minimize surface compaction.

This soil is suited to woodland. No major hazards or limitations restrict woodland management. Thinning dense stands to standard stocking levels results in more vigorous tree growth. Removal or control of competing vegetation may be necessary for the best growth of newly established seedlings. The most common trees are pitch pine, white oak, scarlet oak, eastern white pine, and black oak.

The slope is a limitation if this soil is used as a building site. Land shaping is generally needed. Buildings and lots should be designed so that they conform to the natural slope of the land. Erosion is a hazard during and after construction. Planting well suited grasses as soon as possible after the surface is disturbed minimizes the erosion hazard.

This soil is limited as a site for septic tank absorption fields because of the slope and the rapid or very rapid permeability in the substratum. The soil may not adequately filter the effluent. The poor filtering capacity may result in the pollution of ground water. The hazard of pollution increases with the density of housing. Installing the distribution lines on the contour or in areas that were graded during construction of the dwelling helps to overcome the slope. Precautionary measures may be necessary in some areas.

  • The capability subclass is IIIe.

  • Page Maintained by Jim Turenne

    Base URL: