by Kristina Hughes
Clear Creek County Master Gardener
I just discovered an online tool which I think is pretty neat for learning about the characteristics of your property. You can type in any address in the U.S. and receive a report of the soil types typically found in that area.
The start, go to https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov and click on the big green button ‘Start WSS’. Find the Area of Interest (AOI) tab. Click on ‘Address’ and enter an address. Click on ‘View’. A map will appear with a location marker on the address.
The next step is to select an Area of Interest. Along the top of the map are tool buttons. On the right end of the tool bar, click on either button which says ‘AOI’. Then use the mouse to delineate a specific area on the map. Once you have outlined an area, click on the ‘Soil Map’ tab towards the top of the page to find the report.
The report for my area was interesting. It gave mean annual precipitation, numbers of frost free days and mean annual temperature. The next section listed the typical depth of each soil layer and its composition. There was information on drainage, runoff and flooding characteristics.
There is also an educational area on the website which provides brief descriptions of what soil is, how it is formed, and more.
The information in the report is generalized for the type of land forms in an area. For example my report is titled ‘Georgetown Area, Part of Clear Creek, Gilpin & Park Counties’. To get specific, detailed information for planting on my property I still need a soil test, but I found this report from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to be fun and interesting!