|Used in||WRB, USDA soil taxonomy, others|
|WRB code||sa, HSsa|
|Parent material||Organic matter|
In the World Reference Base for Soil Resources and similar soil classification systems, a sapric is a subtype of a histosol where virtually all of the organic material has undergone sufficient decomposition to prevent the identification of plant parts. Muck is a sapric soil that is naturally waterlogged or is artificially drained.
World Reference Base
The World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) defines "sapric" (sa) as a histosol having less than one-sixth (by volume) of the organic material consisting of recognizable plant tissue within 100 cm of the soil surface.
In the USDA soil taxonomy, sapric may be a subtype of a haplohemist or glacistel type, and may also be a diagnostic organic soil material where the fiber content is less than one-sixth of the volume. Muck soils are defined by the USDA NRCS as sapric organic soils that are saturated more than 30 cumulative days in normal years or are artificially drained. In other words, it is a soil made up primarily of humus from drained swampland.
Use and vegetation
Muck farming on drained swamps is an important part of agriculture in New York, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, where mostly vegetables are grown. The muckland of Torrey Farms of Elba, New York, which covers the counties of Orleans, Niagara, and Genesee, is thought to be the largest continuous section of muckland in the world. American "muckers" often have roots from the Netherlands or Eastern Europe, where their ancestors practiced a similar type of farming. Holland Marsh, north of Toronto, Ontario, is the site of the Muck Crops Research Station, a part of the University of Guelph.
Muck farming is controversial, because the drainage of wetlands destroys wildlife habitats and results in a variety of environmental problems. It is unlikely that any more will be created in the United States, because of environmental regulations. It is prone to problems. As the soil is very light, windbreaks are necessary to protect these fields in dry weather. It also can catch fire and burn underground for months. Oxidation also removes a portion of the soil each year, so it becomes progressively shallower. Some muck land has been reclaimed and restored as wetlands for wildlife preserves.
The word muck has much usage in the English language, referring in some cases to agricultural soil, and in others to dirt in general, and animal dung in particular. Origins are probably from Norse, Danish, and Proto-Germanic roots referring to cow dung.
- Canarache, A.; Vintila, I.I.; Munteanu, I. (2006). Elsevier's Dictionary of Soil Science. Elsevier. p. 745. ISBN 9780080561318.
- Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States: A Guide for Identifying and Delineating Hydric Soils (version 8.1 ed.). Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2017. p. 38.
- IUSS Working Group WRB (2015). World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, update 2015 (PDF). International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. Rome: FAO. ISBN 978-92-5-108370-3.
- Canada Soil Survey Committee, Subcommittee on soil classification (1978). "The Canadian system of soil classification". Can. Dep. Agric. Publ. 1646. Supply and Services Canada (Pb), Ottawa, Ontario. 83pp.
- Field Book for Describing and Sampling Soils (version 3.0 ed.). Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2012. p. 2–43.
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Muck - Definition of muck by Merriam-Webster". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
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- Barbagallo, Tricia (June 1, 2005). "Black Beach: The Mucklands of Canastota, New York" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, established on muck land returned as much as possible to the original state
- An example of a typical muck farming operation