UBC Cultivated Site

Soil Site Details: UBC Cultivated Site

Soils on this site are classified as Podzols. Many would consider the Podzols to be the most visually striking soils in Canada. Podzols are one of the most common soils found under coniferous (evergreen) forests.

Basic Facts

Soil Order: Podzol
Ecosystem: Agriculture
Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
BC Biogeoclimatic Zone: Coastal Western Hemlock

Location: UBC Farm
City, Region, Country: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Lat / Long: 49.25002/ -123.239

Soil Classification

Soil Order: Podzol
Great Group: Humo-Ferric Podzol
Subgroup: Duric Humo-Ferric Podzol
Soil Series: Bose
Classification Code: DU.HFP
Soil Horizons Present: Ap, Bf1, Bf2, BC, C
Diagnostic Horizon 1: Bf
Diagnostic Horizon 2:
Diagnostic Horizon 3:
Diagnostic Horizon 4:

Land Form

Land Form: Glacial till
Parent Material: Glacial till
Elevation (m): 71
Topography: Level
Affected by Glaciation: Yes


Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
Mean Annual Temperature (C): 10
Minimum Annual Temperature (C): 6.5
Maximum Annual Temperature (C): 13.7
Mean Annual Precipitation (mm): 1200

Land Use

Current Land Use: Agricultural, cultivated field
Original Vegetation: Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar
Current Vegetation: Annual agricultural crops

Technical Description
The soil at this cultivated farm site is of the Podzolic Order. Podzol soils are one of the forest soil types in the Canadian soil classification system. Before the development of the UBC Farm, this site was under coniferous forest. Podzols generally have a B horizon that is enriched with amorphous material composed mainly of humified organic matter, Al and Fe. The soil at this site falls into the Humo-Ferric Podzol Great Group. The diagnostic horizon is a Bf horizon thicker than 10 cm, that is reddish in colour and enriched with Fe/Al. It has a relatively low organic C content (0.5-5%). It is a Duric Humo-Ferric Podzol because some cementing has taken place in the soil profile due to farm management practices.This soil is further classified under the Bose Soil Series, which is described as moderately to well-drained, with up to 10 cm of organic forest litter on the soil surface. The parent material is made up of glacial till.

PDF with details: 1_2_Bose.pdf

Soil Morphology
Soil Texture of Diagnostic Horizon or Prevailing Texture: Loamy Sand
Soil texture horizons: Sandy loam (Ap), loamy sand (Bf and BC), sand (C)
Soil structure horizons: Weak granular (Ap), single grain, structureless (Bf, BC and C)
Forest Humus Form: None, removed by cultivation
Presence of Charcoal: Yes, in Bf
Presence of Coatings: Yes, Fe/Al coatings on coarse fragments in Bf

Soil Formation Processes
Primary Soil Process Group: Transformation
Primary Soil Process: Podzolization
Secondary Soil Process:


Soil profile description by Art Bomke & Rachel Strivelli at the UBC Cultivated Site. Photo Source: Maja Krzic (UBC)

Featured Expert: Dr. Art Bomke
Video host: Ms. Rachel Strivelli