It would be a dirty crime to say that the only soil found in Georgia is red clay. The red clay normally associated with Georgia results from the oxidation of red, orange and brown iron bearing minerals weathered by Georgia's climate. Other soils abundant in Georgia include agricultural, industrial use, upper piedmont and coastal plain soils. According to University of Georgiaâ??s Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, David C. Coleman, Georgiaâ??s variety of soil types depends on the amount of organic matter being left behind by decomposition, plant growth, nutrient recycling, climate and biological weathering of the earthâ??s surface.
Georgia Red Clay
The technical term for the soil prevalent in Georgia is ultisol, which literally means "red clay". Ultisol soils typically lack nutrients, but support a variety of southern pine trees. Red clay soils in Georgia are not well aerated and must often be supplemented with manure and soil conditioners in order to support landscape features throughout Georgiaâ??s suburban areas.
Georgia's Kaolin Industry
Kaolin, also known as china clay, is one of Georgiaâ??s largest and most lucrative natural resources. Kaolin is an alumina-silicate clay used for making everything from paper and paint to cosmetics and auto parts. During the Tertiary time period, the erosion of crystalline rocks was deposited on Georgiaâ??s Fall line, leaving behind large deposits of kaolin. According to the Ceramic Industry statistics, the economic impact of Georgiaâ??s kaolin industry is global and continues to grow steadily in demand by 1.7% annually. Additional statistics from the Ceramic Industry show that international trade in kaolin consumes at least half of the kaolin outside its country of origin.
Georgia Agricultural Soils
Though soil in the Atlanta area has been greatly leached of organic matter, the Conservation Reserve Program works to improve soil quality through reduction of erosion and sediment deposit in water sources. According to recent developments through the Conservation Reserve Program, urban and agricultural soil in Georgia has improved. In addition, through the Conservation Reserve Program, Georgiaâ??s farmers are compensated for converting depleted cropland into vegetative cover, including trees grass and wildlife growth.
The Georgia Piedmont Region
Located between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Upper Coastal Plain, the soil found in Georgiaâ??s Piedmont Region is rich in organic material because itâ??s not regularly harvested as it in from Upper Piedmont agricultural soils. Forested regions contain thick layers of nutrient rich soil created from regular patterns of decomposition. New growth resulting from this decomposition further recycles the nutrients, returning them to the soil.
Georgia Coastal Plain Soil
Georgiaâ??s Upper Coastal plain expands southward to Florida and its soil is largely formulated with sand and clay marine deposits. Land formation and drainage affects the variety of soils found in these areas. Soil composition depends on specific location, soil particle size, and its ability to be permeated with sedimentary deposits.
Making The Most of Georgia's Dirt for Gardening
In Georgia's gardens, the need for soil conditioners enriched with nutrients is a sure bet.rnFrom compost cow manure to lime for PH level adjustments, additions to Georgia's garden soil are necessary aspects of successful gardening, especially in urban ares. Many soil conditioners specifically designed for ultisol soils contain moisture retention properties for dry soil. Local certified garden retailers know the tried and true methods for bringing Georgia garden soil to a nutritionally rich consistency and It never hurts to bring a soil sample in for evaluation.
- www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/crp: Conservation Reserve Program
- www.georgiaencyclopedia.org: Land and Resources
- www.georgiaorganics.org: Healthy Land, Healthy People
- www.georgiamining.org: Georgia's Kaolin Industry
- www.ceramicindustry.com: Global Demand for Kaolin to Reach 24.8 Mt in 2013
- www.doityourself.com: Getting Down and Dirty With Dirt
Based in Atlanta, Kristen Noelle has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in AOL News, "Mothering Magazine," "Maui News," "Christian Science Monitor," "Forsyth County News" and the "Forsyth Herald." Noelle studies comparative literature at the University of Georgia.