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New Jersey State Soil - Downer

New Jersey State Soil - Downer

Soil is the unconsolidated mineral and organic material on the immediate surface of the earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.

- Resource Conservation Glossary, Third Edition, 1982

Photo of a Downer Soil Profile

Downer Series
TAXONOMIC CLASS: Coarse-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, mesic Typic Hapludults


Downer soils are used mostly as woodland. The natural vegetation consists of mixed oaks, hickory, and scattered pines. Some areas are cultivated for high-value vegetable and fruit crops that are usually irrigated. Downer soils occur on 291,319 acres in New Jersey. These soils are dominantly in the 11 counties of southern New Jersey.

The Downer Series was first recognized and established as a soil series back in 1960 in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Since that time it has been identified in 11 of 21 counties in the Garden State, and approximately 349,294 acres of this series are now mapped in New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Downer soils are formed in loamy fluviomarine deposits in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain, located in broad interfluves, low hills, and ridges with slopes ranging from 0 to 30 percent. Downer soils are well drained with a seasonal high water table greater than 60 inches and permeability from moderate to moderately rapid.

Overall these soils are desirable for agricultural use since they do not present restrictions for use and management except in areas that are too sandy or too steep.

Most areas are used for growing field crops, vegetables, flowers, and some tree fruits.

Dominant vegetation in natural conditions includes white oak, red oak, scarlet oak, black oak, Virginia pine, pitch pine, hickory, sassafras, dogwood, greenbriar, and American Holly. Loblolly Pine occurs in the southern part of Downer soils distribution. The understory is dominantly low bush blueberry and mountain laurel.

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New Jersey's State Soil - Downer (96 KB) - one-page fact sheet