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New Hampshire State Soil

Marlow - The New Hampshire State Soil

Image of Marlow Soil Profile The broad, gently sloping hillsides and summits of loamy drumlins provide some of the most productive soils for farmers and foresters in the harsh granitic landscapes of New Hampshire. We call these important soils Marlow.

Marlow was established as a soil series in 1939 in the town of Marlow in Cheshire County, NH. It is a well-drained soil that has a very firm substratum of basal till that was deposited by the glacier during its last advances over the northeast about 15,000 years ago.

From rock-lined rolling fields to the steep forested uplands of the White Mountains, Marlow soils underlie much of the picturesque backdrop of rural New Hampshire. Many of the State’s current farms are located on this same land that the early settlers cleared of trees and picked of stones. Marlow soils are also economically important soils for timber products, where the climax forest typically consists of shade-tolerant hardwoods such as sugar maple and beech.


The picture (above) is a typical Marlow Soil, dug down to about 1 meter. This is what soil scientists call a soil profile – looking at soil from the side! Marlow is by far one of the most beautiful State Soils in the nation, with its dramatic colors near the surface and a dense "hardpan" underneath.


The spatial distribution of Marlow soils in New Hampshire


This map (left) shows the extent of Marlow Soil in New Hampshire. Although not officially adopted as the State Soil by the Legislature, Marlow was chosen by a committee of New Hampshire Soil Scientists several years ago, and is recognized as the State Soil nationally by the USDA -Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Other Information about NH Soils

To See more State Soils, visit the National Soil Survey Center's State Soil Website.


Image of a drumlin in New Hampshire








Marlow Soil is found on landscapes such as the one pictured above, on areas where the glacier left hills called "drumlins" (in background) and in the mountainous uplands of northern and western New Hampshire.