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Grassland Soil Types

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Each part of the world has a system for classifying soil. In North America there are two classification systems for identifying soil deposits. One is that used in the United States is called "Soil Taxonomy," published in 1975 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It has six categories and 12 soil types. Canada has a soil class system that is comprised of five categories with up to nine types of soil. Grassland soils are supposed to be some of the most fertile places to grow crops.


Mollisols are a soil class used in the U.S. soil taxonomy system. This class of soil is one of the youngest soil types and covers about 14 to 26 percent of grassland ecosystems. This type of soil is found through the Great Plains and parts of the South in the United States. Mollisol is a very fluffy, fertile rich soil used for agricultural crops. This type of soil is abundant in grasslands and has a very dark color due to the organic matter that enriches it.


Vertisols are one of the soil types used in the U.S. soil taxonomy system. Vertisol soil has a high clay consistency that can expand or shrink depending upon the climate and moisture conditions. This type of soil is usually found lying under grasslands and rolling hills. This type of soil class is usually located around 50 degrees north to 40 degrees south of the equator. In the United States, parts of Southern Texas have large portions of vertisols. They are also abundant in Eastern Australia. Vertisol makes excellent pasture lands and can be used in the cultivation of rice crops.


Solonetzic is a soil classification in the Canadian system of soil identification. This type of soil is found in the dry areas of the prairies in Canada. There are normally very elevated levels of salt deposits near the soil's surface that cause an evaporation of moisture in the soil. Solonetzic soil in Canada usually has a pH level that leans toward normal to slightly acidic. This soil is usually covered by grass and some trees. Salt-tolerant plants can thrive in this type of soil.


Chernozem is a type of soil class in Canada. This kind of soil is found in grasslands near the Canadian prairies and the interior plains of Western Canada. Chernozem soil is very dark in color varying from brown to black and even grays; it is made up of rich organic material. This soil class obtains its dark color from frequent rains. The soil holds moisture well, which makes it very fertile and excellent for planting crops.

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