August 2023




Soils of New Jersey

There was a time when "soil" did not exist. During Earth's infancy, hot molten rock covered the planet. As water vapor began to condense and freeze, wind, water and ice weathered the cooling rock, breaking it down into its mineral components. It wasn't until billions of years later that evolving life forms added organic matter to the minerals, creating a substrate in which terrestrial plants and animals could "put down roots". Today, there is a vast array of different types of soils that support a diversity of ecosystems, such as forests, meadows, marshes, bogs and numerous others.

Soil scientists, referred to as pedologists, organize different soils into taxonomic groups, much the same way that biologists and botanists classify animals and plants into families and species, etc., using a taxonomic hierarchy system. There are 12 different soil orders - the highest grouping of soils, worldwide. Akin to a species of organism, soils are broken down into soil series - the lowest grouping. There are 195 named soil series in New Jersey.

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that New Jersey has a state soil, just as it has a state bird (American Goldfinch), a state flower (Common Blue Violet) and a state tree (Red Oak). Our state soil is called Downer. Read more about Downer soil on OCSCD's blog!


Late Summer Blooms!

August is one of the showiest times of year for a New Jersey native garden. While some flowers are just beyond peak, many are just getting started. A blend of colors and textures provide much interest for summer gardens. Butterflies and bees are out and about in full force gathering pollen and nectar, and hummingbirds have just about completed rearing their young and are frequently seen visiting flowers for sugary sips. Here are a few favorite late summer blooming flowers that thrive in our local dry, sandy soils. Use the Jersey-Friendly Yards Plant Database to search for colorful natives for your yard.

Wild Bergomot (Monarda fistulosa) is a highly adaptable member of the mint family. It produces copious amounts of nectar for a variety of visiting pollinators. Click for more info.

Shrubby St. John's Wort (Hypericum prolificum) These beautiful flowers do not produce nectar, but are instead visited by pollen-seeking bees. Click for more info.

Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moschuetos) produces flowers the size of a small dinner plate that attract large bumblebees and other pollinators. Click for more info.

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In 2023 Ocean County Soil Conservation District celebrates our 71st year. We remain committed to building and sustaining a conservation legacy by working with our partners and constituents to conserve, protect and restore our soil, water and natural resources by providing technical assistance, implementing restoration projects, and most importantly through education.

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