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High Desert Soils

High Desert soils are mostly loamy sand, deep and well-drained Entisols* formed in alluvium fans derived dominantly from granitic rocks and related rocks.

Typical Entisol Profile
Typical Entisol Profile
These soils have very low organic matter, are high in potassium and have pH's around 7.5 to 8.0. A saline and/or alkaline surface layer occurs in places.

Slopes range from 0 to 10 percent most of the time.

The San Andreas Rift Zone and tributary faults dissect the area and have contributed to the complexity of the parent rocks. Cajon, Hesperia and Rosamond are very common soil series in the region.

To explore soil types, visit USDA's Web Soil Survey.

* young soils with minimum profile development





Parent material diversity, land leveling and fertilization practices are major causes of soil nutrient spatial variability. Site-specific nutrient management studies conducted in this region report significant soil P and K spatial variability.

Below is a map of phosphorus from a 90.8 acre onion field:


Click here to view more examples of phosphorus and potassium maps of alfalfa and onion fields around Lancaster and Palmdale.