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Your Local Soil

It is obvious as you look out he window of your car while driving on 395 that the Eastern Sierra is highly variable in its soils due to differences in altitude, geology, and availability of water. In many areas of the world, vast tracts exist of similar soils, but here you can find  different soils on each side of the highway!

This page has links to resources to help you identify your soil type. Key things to learn about your soil are:

  • Typical soil pH
  • Salinity issues (usually calcium here)
  • Soil texture: usually sandy loam or loamy sand, but it can vary
  • Presence of an undesirable layer like clay or salt

This document has information to determine your soil's texture "by feel" using your hands. You'll need a little water and a paper towel. Soil Texture Feel Test (PDF)


The local Farm Advisor has written up a few soil fact sheets for local communuties. These are a good place to start.


One of the best tools is UC Davis' soil web map service: https://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/gmap/ 

Soil map of Olancha, CA from the SoilWeb application
Soil map of Olancha, CA from the SoilWeb application

Try this: Go to the "Menu," select "Zoom to location" and type your address. Click on the spot you want to see information for. One or many soils will show up under "Map Unit Composition." Click on the one with the biggest percentage. For example in Bishop you would choose "Dehy." from there you will see an illustration of your soil. Clicking on "Description" will give you more information, but everything you need is shown alread. Click around and see what you find!

This page (about 1/2 way down) has information on diagnosing soil problems that may exist on your site.