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Profile photograph of an Aridisol  

The central concept of Aridisols is that of soils that are too dry for mesophytic plants to grow. They have either:

(1) an aridic moisture regime and an ochric or anthropic epipedon and one or more of the following with an upper boundary within 100 cm of the soil surface: a calcic, cambic, gypsic, natric, petrocalcic petrogypsic, or a salic horizon or a duripan or an argillic horizon, or

(2)A salic horizon and saturation with water within 100 cm of the soil surface for one month or more in normal years.

An aridic moisture regime is one that in normal years has no water available for plants for more than half the cumulative time that the soil temperature at 50 cm below the surface is >5° C. and has no period as long as 90 consecutive days when there is water available for plants while the soil temperature at 50 cm is continuously >8° C.