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There Are Many Types Of Soil Along The Gulf Coast. What Soil Type Do You Have

There Are Many Types Of Soil Along The Gulf Coast. What Soil Type Do You Have

One would think all the soil along the upper Gulf Coast is similar in structure; they are not. Although many soil types exist, there are three dominant soil types along the upper Gulf Coast: Gulf marsh, coastal saline prairies, and coastal prairies.

Gulf marsh soil types

Found immediately along most of the upper Gulf Coast, these soils can be divided into four types: freshwater, intermediate, brackish, and saltwater. Lakes, bayous, tidal channels, and man-made canals crisscross the wetlands cause imbalances in the wetlands and watersheds. Much of this land is highly susceptible to flooding. Other factors are land subsidence, rising seas, and erosion.

Gulf marsh soils are poorly drained, almost continuously saturated, soft, and can support little weight. The organic soils contain a layer of thick, gray undecomposed organic material over a clay-like subsoil.

Coastal saline prairies soil types

Covering over 3 million acres and extending from Mexico through Louisiana. Coastal saline prairies are just at sea level or a couple of feet above. This soil type contains areas of saltwater marsh, and drainage is slow. The water table is either at or just below the surface. Used chiefly for cattle grazing, or wetland wildlife refuges, residents also have developed wonderfully bountiful gardens by amending the soil.

Coastal prairies soil types

Spanning over 9 million acres and stretching through Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, the coastal prairies range from 30 to 80 miles north of the Gulf. Even though surface drainage is slow, much of the soil include dark-colored clays and loams. As most of us who live along the coast know, the topography is level and the soil amazingly productive. Rice, sorghum, cotton, corn, hay, and sugar cane are major crops (and now, of course, farm-raised crawfish) and productive home gardens abound through this area.

The Alabama coast, east of Mobile Bay, more closely resembles the upper Florida coast, with barrier islands, thin lines of beaches, and then flatland forests. Alabama has coastal prairies as well, but just several saline prairies and few coastal marsh soils. The soil varies from sandy to clay.

Whichever of these areas you live in, you need to get your soil tested. See below for links to soil labs in each state:

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