Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSD) Introduction

“Official soil series description” is a term applied to the description approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service that defines a specific soil series in the United States. These official soil series descriptions are descriptions of the taxa in the series category of the national system of classification. They mainly serve as specifications for identifying and classifying soils.

While doing survey work, field soil scientists should have all the existing official soil series descriptions that are applicable to their soil survey areas. Other official soil series descriptions that include soils in adjacent or similar survey areas are also commonly needed. Scientists in other disciplines, such as agronomists, horticulturists, engineers, planners, and extension specialists also use the descriptions to learn about the properties of soils in a particular area.

Additional information about the establishment and maintenance of official series descriptions can be found in the National Soil Survey Handbook, Part 614.06.