Maine State Soil

Chesuncook Soil Series

Maine State Soil: Chesuncook Soil Series

Adopted on April 16, 1999.

Chesuncook soil is a soil type that was first identified in Maine and is one of the most widely distributed soil types in Maine. On April 16, 1999, Governor Angus S. King, Jr., signed Legislative Document 592 into law, making Chesuncook Maine's Official State Soil. The soil series name comes from the Native American word for converging bodies of water. A lake written about in Henry David Thoreau's "The Maine Woods" also shares the name.

Maine State Soil: Chesuncook Soil Series

Maine State Soil: Chesuncook Soil Series

At least 14 states have already established a state soil by an act of their state legislature. A total of 47 states have selected their state soil and are in the act of establishing or already have established the state soil by acts of their state legislatures. We could turn the first question around and ask how Maine, known for its natural resource wealth, could have neglected establishing a suitable soil as a state symbol when so much of our natural resource base depends on the soil!

The Chesuncook soil series is a classic Spodosol that typifies the northern temperate and cool forested regions of Maine. It consists of very deep, moderately well drained soils on till plains, hills, ridges, and mountains.

Chesuncook soils produce wood fiber used in paper production, saw logs for lumber, and timber for wood products, such as furniture. These soils have a high woodland productivity rating. The most common tree species are red spruce, balsam fir, yellow birch, American beech, sugar maple, white ash, and red maple.

These soils are considered prime farmland where slopes are less than 8 percent and where surface stones have been removed. Small areas are used for potatoes, oats, barley, hayland, pasture, or low-density urban development. It is estimated that Chesuncook soils occur on more than 150,000 acres in Maine. The soils are named after Chesuncook Lake, in northern Maine.

Chesuncook Soil Profile

Surface layer: black, friable highly decomposed plant material
Subsurface layer: pinkish gray, very friable silt loam
Subsoil - upper: dark reddish brown, very friable silt loam
Subsoil - upper middle: reddish brown, very friable silt loam
Subsoil - lower middle: dark yellowish brown, very friable silt loam
Subsoil - lower: light olive brown, mottled, friable gravelly loam
Substratum: light olive brown, mottled, very firm gravelly loam

Maine Law

The law designating the Chesuncook soil series as the official Maine state soil is found in then Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 9, Subchapter 1, Section 222.

§222. State soil

The Chesuncook soil series, a coarse-loamy, mixed, frigid, Typic Haplorthod, is the official state soil. [1999, c. 70, §1 (NEW).]
1999, c. 70, §1 (NEW).

State Soils
State Soils
A state soil is a soil that has special significance to a particular state. Each state in the United States has selected a state soil, twenty of which have been legislatively established. These Official State Soils share the same level of distinction as official state flowers and birds.