Kalkaska -- Michigan State Soil

Aerial photograph showing farmland, woodland, and drainage ways.

Photograph of the profile of a typifying pedon of the Kalkaska soil series.

Kalkaska Soil Profile

Surface layer: black sand
Subsurface layer: brown sand
Subsoil - upper: dark reddish brown sand
Subsoil - lower: strong brown and yellowish brown sand with columns of weakly cemented, dark reddish brown ortstein
Substratum: light yellowish brown sand
The Kalkaska series is one of the earliest soil series to be recognized in Michigan. It was first described in 1927, in Kalkaska County, which is the source of the series name. Kalkaska soils occur in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and in 29 of the state’s 83 counties. There are over 750,000 acres of these soils in Michigan. Public Act 302, the State Soil Bill, enacted on December 4, 1990, established the Kalkaska series as the Official State Soil.

Kalkaska soils formed in sandy deposits left by the glaciers that once covered Michigan. These soils are used primarily for hardwood timber, namely sugar maple and yellow birch. Some areas are used for the production of Christmas trees or for specialty crops, such as potatoes and strawberries. The soils also are used for wildlife habitat and building site development.

Small scale map of Michigan showing distribution of Kalkaska soil series.

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