The following is a map unit description from the "Soil Survey of Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts (Peragallo, 1989)"

MmC-Merrimac fine sandy loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes. This is a very deep, strongly sloping, somewhat excessively drained soil on side slopes of terraces that commonly follow major stream valleys. Areas of the soil are irregular or elongated in shape and range from 6 to 60 acres.

Typically, the surface layer is dark brown fine sandy loam about 6 inches thick. The subsoil is about 14 inches thick. It is yellowish brown fine sandy loam in the upper part and yellowish brown loamy sand in the lower part. The substratum is light yellowish brown, stratified very gravelly coarse sand to a depth of 60 inches or more. In places the texture changes more abruptly from the subsoil to the substratum. In areas of this soil in the Boston Basin, the subsoil and the substratum are mostly olive colored and are 50 to 75 percent, by volume, coarse fragments of dark, flat shale and slate.

Included with this soil in mapping are a few small areas of Hinckley soils on knolls. Included areas make up about 10 percent of this map unit.

Soil properties:

Permeability: Moderate or moderately rapid in the surface layer and the subsoil and rapid or very rapid in the substratum.
Available water capacity:
Soil reaction:
Very strongly acid to moderately acid throughout.
Depth to bedrock:
More than 60 inches.
Depth to high water table:
More than 6 feet.
Hydrologic group:

Most areas of this soil are used as individual homesites. Some areas are used as cropland, pastureland, and woodland.

This soil is fairly suited to cultivated crops, lawns, landscaping, and gardens. It is well suited to pasture. Slope and droughtiness are the main limitations. Tillage operations on the contour or across the slope, diversions, stripcropping, and cover crops help to control erosion. Irrigation is needed for best plant growth, but application is difficult because of slope. In pasture management, preventing overgrazing protects the hardiness and density of desirable plants.

Potential productivity for northern red oak on this soil is moderate. Seedling mortality is moderate because of moisture stress caused by droughtiness. Minimizing soil disturbance, retaining the sponge-like mulch of leaves, and designing regeneration cuts to optimize shade and reduce evapotranspiration help to retain the limited soil moisture. Thinning crowded stands to accepted standard stocking levels allows more vigorous growth. In thinning operations it is important to remove diseased, poorly formed, and otherwise undesirable trees. Shelterwood cutting, seed-tree cutting, and clearcutting help to establish natural regeneration or to provide suitable planting sites. Removing or controlling competing vegetation allows best growth of newly established seedlings. Softwood trees grow faster than hardwood trees on this soil.

Designing buildings to conform to the natural slope of the land helps to overcome the slope limitation and to control erosion in disturbed areas. Land shaping is needed in some areas. Constructing roads on the contour, if possible, and planting roadbanks to well adapted grasses help to control erosion. If the soil is used as sites for septic tank absorption fields, ground water pollution is a hazard. Because of rapid or very rapid permeability, the soil readily absorbs but does not adequately filter the effluent. Low density housing development reduces the volume of effluent, thus lessening the pollution hazard.

  • This soil is in capability subclass IIIe.
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