Soil Survey of Bristol County, Massachusetts


The following Map Unit Description is from the 1981 Soil Survey of Bristol County, Southern Part. Please note: map unit symbols are DIFFERENT for Bristol South and Bristol North reports, do NOT use these descriptions for Bristol North.

WaA-Walpole fine sandy loam, 0 to 3 percent slopes. This soil is nearly level, deep, and poorly drained and somewhat poorly drained. It is in low lying areas that are near or adjacent to streams and rivers. Areas of this soil are irregular in shape and range from 4 to 50 acres. Most are about 25 acres.

Typically, a 3-inch-thick layer of organic material covers the surface layer. The surface layer is dark grayish brown, mottled fine sandy loam about 5 inches thick. The subsoil is brown, mottled sandy loam about 14 inches thick. The upper 4 inches of the substratum is grayish brown, mottled sand. The lower part, to a depth of 60 inches or more, is grayish brown gravelly coarse sand.

Included with this soil in mapping are areas of Pipestone, Scarboro, Sudbury, and Wareham soils. Also included are areas of soils that are very fine sandy loam or silt loam throughout. In a few places the lower part of the subsoil consists of firm fine sand or very fine sand,. Included areas make up about 30 percent of the unit.

The permeability of this Walpole soil is moderately rapid in the surface layer and subsoil and rapid or very rapid in the substratum. Available water capacity is moderate. Root growth is restricted by a seasonal high water table that is at or near the surface in winter and spring. The surface layer of the soil is friable and is easily tilled under proper moisture conditions.

Most areas of this soil are in woodland. Some areas have been drained and are used for farming. A few areas are used for homesites.

This soil is suited to cultivated crops. The seasonal high water table is the main limitation. A system of open drains or tile drains or a combination of the two helps to drain the soil. Minimum tillage and returning crop residue to the soil help to maintain tilth and the organic matter content.

The soil is suited to hay and pasture, especially to water-tolerant plants. Drainage is generally needed. Use of proper stocking rates, deferred grazing, pasture rotation, and restricted grazing when the soil is wet help to maintain plant densities and desirable plant species.

The seasonal high water table makes the soil poorly suited to trees. It causes a high rate of seedling mortality and restricts the rooting depth, making trees susceptible to uprooting during windy periods. Planting water-tolerant species helps to reduce the rate of seedling mortality, and establishing dense stands of trees reduces the hazard of uprooting. The wetness of the soil limits the use of timber harvesting equipment.

The seasonal high water table is the main limitation of the soil for community development, especially as a building site or as a site for sanitary landfills or septic tank absorption fields. The rapid permeability in the substratum causes a hazard of ground-water pollution in areas used for septic tanks or landfills.

Capabilty subclass: IIIw.

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