The following is a map unit description from the "Soil Survey of Barnstable County, Massachusetts (Fletcher, 1993)"
NsC-Nantucket sandy loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes, stony. This very deep, gently sloping, well drained soil is on hills and ridges in areas of ground moraine and glacial lake deposits. Stones and boulders cover 0.1 to 1.0 percent of the surface. The soil makes up less than 0. 1 percent (1 05 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 25 acres in size.
Typically, the surface is covered with an organic layer. This layer is about 1.5 inches of undecomposed leaves and twigs and 0.5 inch of partly decomposed and well decomposed organic material. The surface layer is sandy loam about 5 inches thick. The upper 1 inch is very dark grayish brown and very friable, and the lower 4 inches is dark yellowish brown and friable. The subsoil is friable sandy loam about 22 inches thick. The upper 12 inches is yellowish brown, and the lower 10 inches is light olive brown. The substratum to a depth of 65 inches is light olive brown, firm loam. Below a depth of 65 inches, it may have layers of loose gravel and sand.
Included with this soil in mapping are small areas of Barnstable, Boxford, and Plymouth soils and areas where slopes are less than 8 percent or more than 15 percent. Also included are areas where stones and boulders cover more than 1 percent of the surface. Included soils make up about 35 percent of this unit.
Permeability is moderate or moderately rapid in the subsoil of the Nantucket soil and moderately slow or slow in the substratum. Available water capacity is moderate. Depth to the seasonal high water table is generally more than 6 feet. In some areas, however, a perched water table is at a depth of 2.0 to 2.5 feet in early spring.
Most areas are used as woodland. Many areas have been developed for homesites.
This soil is unsuitable as cropland because the surface stones and boulders restrict the use of equipment. It is suited to cultivated crops, however, if the surface stones and boulders are removed.
This soil is suited to native pasture. It is poorly suited to hay because the surface stones restrict the use of equipment. The main management objective 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 fairly well 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, eastern white pine, black oak, scarlet oak, and white 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. In areas where the soil has a perched water table, a drainage system is needed.
The slope and the moderately slow or slow permeability in the substratum are limitations on sites for septic tank absorption fields. Enlarging the absorption field helps to overcome the restricted permeability. In areas where the soil is underlain by sandy and gravelly material, excavations that extend to this material generally can overcome the restricted permeability. Installing the distribution lines on the contour or in areas that were graded during construction of the dwelling helps to overcome the slope. In areas where the soil has a perched water table, wetness is a limitation on sites for septic tank absorption fields. Additions of fill or a regional drainage system helps to overcome the wetness.