Infertile Soil Orders in the United States

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  • 0:00 Soil Orders
  • 0:40 Aridisols & Entisols
  • 1:49 Gelisols & Spodosols
  • 3:00 Ultisols
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will describe infertile soil orders found within the United States. It will also define the terms tundra, weathering, and organic material.

Soil Orders

I have dear friends who love to garden. Planting tulips and lilies has always been one of their favorite hobbies. Unfortunately, these dear friends recently moved to the Southwest, where things like pretty tulips and tall Easter lilies have no chance at growing. To see why, let's take a look at some of the infertile soil orders of the United States.

For starters, when we say soil orders, we simply mean different types of soils. Keeping this in mind, let's get to some of our infertile soils. As we do this, keep in mind that we're using the term 'infertile' rather loosely. Some types of vegetation do grow in these orders.

Aridisols & Entisols

We'll kick things off with soils classified as Aridisols. Aridisols are soils that are too dry for most plants and vegetation. We can remember this one by linking it to its root word, arid. Arid simply means too dry to support vegetation. Not too surprising, Aridisols are found in the deserts of the Southwest, places like Arizona and New Mexico. These are the soils my garden-loving friends now have to contend with!

Entisols are soils that are shallow due to erosion. Keeping things simple, erosion is the wearing away of soil by nature. Erosion tends to be rapid in places that have steep slopes. Linking the 'E' in 'erosion' to the 'E' in 'Entisols,' these soils are found along the Rocky Mountains. To keep this one simple, think about dumping buckets of garden soil down a slide. No matter how rich the soil, the steep slope of the slide is going to make it pretty hard to get the soil deep enough for planting. Now just imagine adding mountain rains. You'd never get any soil to stick!

Gelisols & Spodosols

Gelisols are soils that exist in very cold climates. Found in places like Alaska, soils that are Gelisols are frozen through much of the year. They are often found in areas that are called tundras. Tundras are areas where the subsoil is permanently frozen. As you can imagine, getting vegetation to grow here is about as easy as getting plants to grow in your freezer! Using some alliteration, and some slight mispronunciation of the letter G, 'Wear winter gloves if you're digging in Gelisols!'

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