Plymouth County Soil Survey



Efforts are currently underway to update the soil survey for Plymouth County. The 1969 Soil Survey of Plymouth County is out of print and outdated. Updated soil mapping is available for parts of Plymouth County. The updated mapping is compiled on color-infrared aerial photographs at a 1:12,000 scale. For information about the Plymouth County Soil Survey update, call 508-295-5151 x. 112, or visit our web page at the following URL:


This document provides users with broad concepts for each soil series currently being mapped in the Plymouth County Soil Survey Update. It enables a quick comparison between different soil series and their potential and limitations for several soil interpretations. This publication does not provide map unit interpretations or specific soil series information for the soils in Plymouth County. Map unit descriptions for the soils mapped in Plymouth County can be found on the main homepage listed above.

This document is not intended to replace the technical information contained within County Soil Surveys published by the USDA-NRCS. When researching a specific site within an area, the published County Soil Survey Report contains the more up to date, complete, technical soils information provided by our agency.



Soil Series:

Soils are classified according to a hierarchical system of classification, similar to the system used to classify plants and animals. The soil series is the lowest category in Soil Taxonomy and the most common reference term used to name mapping units in soil surveys. A soil series consists of a range of chemical and physical properties which differentiates it from other series. This booklet contains the series which are currently mapped in Plymouth County Massachusetts.

Brief Nontechnical Soil Descriptions:

This paragraph contains a brief description of the soil series. Complete descriptions of soil series and soil map units are found in the published county Soil Survey reports. The brief description in this booklet contains information on: the soil depth class, which refers to the depth to bedrock (for example a very deep soil is greater than 60 inches to bedrock, a moderately deep soils has bedrock between 20 and 40 inches), soil drainage class, material the soil formed in, the landforms the soil occurs on, and other properties. Most series also contain a description of the soil, including soil color, texture, and horizons.

Depth to Seasonal High Watertable:

This column gives a range in depth to the seasonal high watertable, in feet below the surface. A seasonal high watertable is a zone of saturation at the highest average depth during the wettest season. It is at least 6 inches thick, persists in the soil for more than a few weeks, and is within 5 feet of the soil surface.


Depth: The normal depth range of a seasonal high watertable or zone of saturation of the natural, undrained soil is given to the nearest-half foot. The highest water level is given first. Water above the soil surface is shown by a positive whole number.

Type: Shown in parentheses under the depth class; this gives the kind of watertable recognized within the soil. Apparent watertables are the levels at which water stands in a freshly dug, unlined borehole after adequate time adjustments in the surrounding soil. A perched watertable is one that exists in the soil above an unsaturated zone due to a restrictive or slowly permeable layer.

Estimated Period of Seasonal High Watertable:

This column gives the duration in months in which the seasonal high watertables typically exists during a year with normal precipitation.

Permeability Range:

Soil permeability is the quality of the soil that enables water or air to move through it. This rate is the "saturated hydraulic conductivity" of soil physics. Soil permeability is expressed in inches per hour. The permeability is given for the subsoil (s) and the substratum (b) in this report.

Hydric Soil:

This column lists whether or not the soil series is on the State Hydric Soil List. A hydric soil is a soil that is saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part (Hydric Soils of the United States, June 1991). Hydric soils must meet certain criteria to classify as a hydric soil.

Hydrologic Group:

A group of soils having the same runoff potential under similar storm and cover conditions. Soil Properties that influence runoff potential are those that influence the minimum rate of infiltration for a bare soil after prolonged wetting and when not frozen.

Classes: Soil series are placed into four groups A, B, C, and D.

Definitions of the soil classes are as follows:

A. Low runoff potential. Soil having high infiltration rates even when thoroughly wetted and consisting chiefly of deep, well drained to excessively drained sands and/or gravels.

B. Soils having moderate infiltration rates when thoroughly wetted and consisting chiefly of moderately deep to deep, moderately well drained to well drained soils with moderately fine to moderately coarse textures.

C. Soils having slow infiltration rates when thoroughly wetted and consisting chiefly of soils with a layer that impedes downward movement of water.

D. High runoff potential. Soils having very slow infiltration rates when thoroughly wetted and consisting chiefly of clayey soils, soils with a permanent high watertable, and shallow soils.

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