Florida Soil Types Explained

Many people assume that all Florida soil types are primarily sand. Although we do have a lot of sandy soil types, that is not the only soil we have here in the Sunshine state.

It is important to understand the makeup of your specific property if you want to successfully grow plants, vegetables, fruit trees, tropical flowers, and more. Here are just a few of the types we do see in the state, and where you are likely to find them.

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Scientifically Speaking – Florida Soil Types

Florida is known for offering many diverse environments. From hardwood forests in the panhandle, to white sandy beaches and swampy marsh – there are a wide variety of ecosystems across the state. Therefore it is likely not surprising that of the 12 known soil types found across the country, Florida exhibits 8 of them. The type depends on geographic area and other natural conditions.

  • Alfisols are clay-rich soils typically found under forests. The clay and subsoil is full of nutrients and allows the soil to retain moisture, making alfisols an appropriate choice for agricultural purposes. Alfisols are found on the state’s east coast, on the northwest (Panhandle) coast, and in some southwestern areas.
  • Entisols are often undeveloped soils, and are typically located in areas exposed to extreme erosion (such as sand dunes and flood plains). They are found throughout the state, most commonly the southern coast, across the Panhandle, and in some parts of central Florida.
  • Histosols are known to be dark, rich, and chock-full of organic material. They are found primarily in the swamps and marshes of South Florida; but can be utilized as agricultural soil if their moisture is preserved.
  • Inceptisols are young, shallow soils found in a wide range of ecosystems where bedrock is directly under the soil. They are most prevalent in the Everglades and close to the central east coast.
  • Mollisols are fairly rare in the state, but an be found beneath grasslands. Like histosols, they are rich in organic material and can retain a significant amount of water; making them a great choice for agricultural purposes.
  • Spodosols are quite common in the central regions of Florida. Their high sand content makes it impossible for them to effectively retain water, but in high rainfall conditions, they work well for growing. These soils have a very light-colored layer just a few inches beneath the surface, and an iron-rich layer underneath the sandy portion.
  • Ultisols are similar to alfisols, but contain fewer nutrients as they have less organic material. One of the more acidic of the Florida soil types, you can still plant if you use appropriate soil amendments.

Which Type Do You Have?

You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out how to best utilize the soil on your property to effectively grow the plants and trees you desire. Simply head to a local landscape supply company or nursery, and they should be familiar with the type of soil in the area, and how to exploit it to its best usage.

You can also do a soil test which will help you to further identify your soil’s pH balance, so that you can amend it in order to grow a beautiful lawn and garden. At Big Earth Landscape Supply, you can get everything you need to optimize your soil, no matter what type it may be! Stop into one of our 4 area locations to speak with an expert.