Paxton -- Massachusetts State Soil

Photograph of hilly terrain with a pasture in the foreground, a farmstead in the midground, and more pasture and a woodland hilltop in the background.

Photograph of the profile of a typifying pedon of Paxton soil series.

Paxton Soil Profile

Surface layer: very dark grayish brown fine sandy loam
Subsoil: yellowish brown fine sandy loam
Substratum: olive gravelly fine sandy loam (dense till)
The Paxton series consists of very deep, well drained soils on glacial till uplands. These soils formed in friable glacial till overlying firm, dense till.  The dense till is the outstanding characteristic of the Paxton series.   Permeability is moderate in the surface layer and subsoil and slow or very slow in the substratum. Available water capacity is high. Reaction ranges from very strongly acid to moderately acid. A seasonal high water table is perched at a depth of 1.5 to 2.5 feet.

Where stones have been cleared and slopes are gentle, Paxton soils are well suited to cultivated crops, hay, and improved pasture. Some areas are used for residential development. Most areas where stones have not been cleared and slopes are steeper are wooded. Paxton soils occur on about 400,000 acres of the 5.3 million acres in the state.

In 1991, the State Legislature designated the Paxton series as the Massachusetts State Soil.

Small scale map of Massachusetts and adjacent states showing distribution of Paxton soil series.

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