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

MeC-Merrimac sandy loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes. This very deep, strongly sloping, well drained soil is on small hills and ridges on outwash plains and in areas of ice-contact deposits. It makes up about 0.6 percent (1,550 acres) of the survey area. It is mapped mainly in the Enfield-Merrimac-Carver general soil map unit. Areas are irregular in shape and range from 5 to 75 acres in size.

Typically, the surface is covered with an organic layer of loose, undecomposed pine needles, leaves, and twigs about 3 inches thick. The surface layer is very friable sandy loam about 3 inches thick. The upper 1 inch is black, and the lower 2 inches is light brownish gray. The subsoil is sandy loam about 21 inches thick. The upper 4 inches is strong brown and very friable, the next 10 inches is yellowish brown and friable, and the lower 7 inches is brownish yellow and friable. The substratum to a depth of 65 inches or more is light yellowish brown, loose coarse sand.

Included with this soil in mapping are small areas of Carver, Enfield, Hinckley, and Plymouth soils. Also included are a few areas where slopes are less than 8 percent or more than 15 percent. Included soils make up about 30 percent of this unit.

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

Most areas are used as woodland. Some areas have been developed for homesites.

This soil is suited to cultivated crops. Good tilth can be easily maintained. Erosion and droughtiness during periods of low rainfall are management concerns. Irrigation is needed for maximum crop yields. 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 improves tilth and increases the available water capacity.

This soil is well suited to hay and pasture. The main management concern is the prevention of overgrazing, which reduces the hardiness and density of desirable plants. 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. Because of droughtiness, some seedling loss is expected. Removal or control of competing vegetation helps to obtain 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 site for buildings. 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 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.

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