Basic Fundamentals of Soil

The term soil is a collective term that really refers to the composition of all soils, just as the term vegetation is used to designate all plants.

Characteristics of soil can vary widely. On the steep slopes of the eastern coal fields, the soil will not be as deep or productive as soil that resides in neighboring valleys. Underlying sandstone is often less productive than soil formed from limestone, found in larger quantities within the western portion of the state.

Soil consists of layers known as horizons. Typically soil has an A, B, C and R horizon.

1. A-horizon: Usually higher in organic matter and darker in color than underlying horizons.

2. B-horizon: Typically yellowish brown to red in color from the minerals and materials that have leached from the upper horizons.

3. C-horizon: Unconsolidated parent material. Parent material is the name given to represent the underlying geology, such as sandstone.

4. R-horizon: Bedrock. See this in a soil profile? You are at a really poor site or have dug way too far!

Kentucky’s state soil is the Crider series, found in 35 counties of the state. Soil and geology are important factors that influence the vegetation and water drainage on your property.

Soil maps and surveys are available for most of Kentucky's counties. Use the map below to find contact information for your county. You can also contact your county conservation district or the Kentucky Division of Conservation at 502-564-3080, or visit them online.


Soil Survey by County

Hovering over a county will show the contact information needed to obtain the soil survey publication for that county. The date indicates when the soil survey was published.





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