Texas Almanac, 1978-1979 Page: 82
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82 TEXAS ALMANAC-1978-1979
a few miles wide and extends from the Red River
southward into Hill County and includes a total area of
about 1 million acres. The soils are similar to those of
the Post Oak Belt but occupy more rolling surfaces as
a whole. They are mainly of the Callisburg, Silstid and
The native vegetation is mainly post oak and black-
jack oak trees and a few other hardwoods The trees
are scrubby, of small size and unsuited for most uses
other than firewood or fence posts. In places grasses,
including little bluestem, grama and threeawn, and
scattered mesquite trees form a thick ground cover
where the oak overstory is thin.
NORTH CENTRAL PRAIRIE SOILS
The North Central Prairies occupy about 6 million
acres in Central North Texas. The area lies between
the Western Cross Timbers and Rolling Plains hereto-
fore often referred to as the Reddish Prairie The area
is dominantly prairie, but numerous small wooded
areas are intermixed. The principal soils are of the
Truce, Waurika, Bonti, Owens, Kirkland, Darnell and
Zaneis series. Narrow strips of alluvial soils, mainly of
the Gowen and Frio series, occur in the flood plains of
local streams. Small areas of other soils similar to
those of the West Cross Timbers and Grand Prairie
occur intermixed. They are best suited for growing
small grains and native grasses.
Native vegetation is mainly little bluestem, si-
deooats, hairy and blue grama, Indian and buffalo grass.
Scrubby trees and shrubs, mainly post oak and mes-
quite, and cacti grow rather thickly in places.
ROLUNG PLAINS SOILS
The Rolling Plains comprise an eastern section of
the Great Plains in Northwestern Texas. The area lies
west of the North Central and Grand Prairie areas and
extends from the edge of the Edwards Plateau in Tom
Green County northward into Oklahoma. It includes
about 24 million acres The Red Beds and associated
reddish soils led to use of the name Red Plains by some.
Upland soils are pale brown through reddish
brown to dark grayish brown; sandy loams, clay loams
and clays. Most soils have free lime in the lower part
and are saline in places; some are shallow and stony,
some are deep sands. Main series. Miles, Woodward,
Springer, Vernon, Nobscot (northern two-thirds); Abi-
lene, Rowena, Mereta, Tarrant (southern one-third)
Bottomland soils include minor areas of reddish
brown, loamy to clayey, alluvial soils. Main series:
Miller, Port, Yahola (Red, Wichita, Brazos and Colora-
do Rivers), Spur (Canadian and minor streams).
The native vegetation varies with soils and surface
conditions. On the finer textured soils curly mesquite,
buffalo and grama grasses are dominant with some
scattered shrubs in places. On the sandy soils the
principal grasses are little bluestem, sideoats grama
and threeawn grasses with sand sage and shinnery on
areas of deep sand.
HIGH PLAINS SOILS
The High Plains area comprises the vast high pla-
teau of nearly 20 million acres in Northwest Texas It
lies in the southern part of the Great Plains province
which includes large similar areas in Oklahoma and 6
New Mexico. The flat, nearly level surface of very
large areas has few streams of any dissection to cause
local relief. However, several maior rivers originate in
the High Plains or cross the area. The largest is the
Canadian River which has cut a deep valley across the
Playas, small Intermittent lakes scattered through
the area, lie up to 20 feet below the surrounding flat
plains Early estimates were that playas numbered 37,-
000, a 1965 survey indicated more than 19,000 in 44
counties, occupying some 340,000 acres They receive
most of the runoff, with less than 10 per cent of this
water percolating back to the aquifer In 1969 there
were only limited numbers being utilized for recharge
wells to return water to aquifers.
Soils are brown to reddish, mostly deep, clay
loams, sandy loams and sands. Free lime is present
under many soils at various depths. Main series. Pull-
man, Mansker, Sherm (hardlands), Amarillo, Portales
(mixed lands), Brownfield, Tivoli (sandy lands), Pot-
ter (loamy soils, shallow over caliche) The Spur series
are the main soils of bottomlands, but are minor in
The soils are moderately productive and the flat
surface encourages mechanization. Limited rainfall
and constant danger of wind erosion are handicaps,
but the region is Texas' leading producer of three
most important crops-cotton, grain sorghums and
The native vegetation is of three distinct kinds. In
the northern part and on the fine-textured soils south
of the Canadian River, the vegetation is short grasses,
mainly buffalo with some grama. In the southern part
on the sandy loam soils it is largely grama and
threeawn. On the deep sands it is mainly little blue-
stem, sand dropseed, sideoats grama and threeawn
grasses. In places these sands support a thick growth of
shinoak and sand sage (Artemisia).
The 18 million acres of the Trans-Pecos, mostly
west of the Pecos River, are diverse plains and valleys
intermixed with mountains-quite different from
other Texas areas. (See also section on physiography.)
Upland soils are light reddish brown to brown clay
loams, clays and sands, (mostly high in lime, some sa-
line) and many areas of shallow soils and rock lands
Main series: Hoban, Reeves, Reagan (lower basins),
Brewster, Verhalen, Musquiz (mountains and val-
leys), Lozier, Hueco, Wink, Bluepoint (sandy soils),
Orla (gypsic soils).
Bottomland soils are dark grayish brown to red-
dish brown, silt loams to clayey, alluvial soils (some
saline). Main series: Harkey, Glendale, Saneli (Rio
Grande); Pecos, Arno (Pecos River)
Rainfall is sparse, and vegetative cover is as thin
and as variable as the topography, soils and drainage
conditions. In general it is of two types: short grasses
and shrubs on the flat soils of the basins and valleys,
and a mixture of mid and short grasses and species of
oak, pine, juniper and semiarid plants and shrubs on
the rough and mountainous lands. Alkali sacaton and
other salt tolerant plants occur in the basin
EDWARDS PLATEAU SOILS
The 24 million acres of the Edwards Plateau are on
an extensivetableland of Southwest Central Texas.
Many of the soils are shallow over limestone, and
streams have cut many valleys and canyons
Upland soils are dark, calcareous clays and clay
loams, mostly gravelly and stony Some deeper, less
stony soils occur on the flat divides Main series- Tar-
rant, Brckett and Tobosa (eastern two-thirds); Ector,
Upton, Regan (western one-third).
Bottomland soils include minor areas of dark, cal-
careous, clayey alluvial soils. Main series: Frio
This is principally a livestock, ranching region,
the center of Texas' and the nation's mohair and wool
production. Except where there is limited irrigation,
cropping is largely confined to such drouth-resistant
crops as grain sorghums and grasses.
Grasses, shrubs and scrubby trees dominate the
native vegetation. There are many cedar brakes.
RIO GRANDE PLAIN SOILS
The Rio Grande plain is wedge-shaped and covers
more than 20 million acres comprising the southern
and southwestern parts of Texas It slopes gently to-
ward the southeast.
Upland soils are dark clayey soils Main series
Catarina, Montell. Grayish to reddish loamy to sandy
soils. Main series: Duval, Webb, San Antonio, Miguel,
Nueces, Uvalde, Knippa, Willacy, Hidalgo, Brennan.
In the coastal fringe, gray clayey, saline soils
mainly of the Lomalta series are extensive, along with
Galveston soils which are deep sands.
Bottomland soils are brown to gray, silt loams to
clays, and contain free lime. Main series. Matamoros,
Camargo, Grulla, Frio, Rio Grande. On adjacent low
terraces-Harlingen, Laredo, Raymondville, Lagloria
Vegetation is variable, but large areas are cover-
ed with small mesquite trees, thorny brush and shrubs,
often called "Chaparral" and prickly pear. Combined
with numerous grasses, this vegetation has made the
area principally ranching except in certain localities
of intensive cultivation, often under irrigation
CENTRAL BASIN SOILS
The Central Basin, also known as the Llano Basin,
occupies a relatively small area in Central Texas. It in-
cludes parts or all of Llano, Mason, Gillespie and ad-
joining counties The total area is about 1 5 million
Upland soils are reddish brown to brown, mostly
gravelly and stony, sandy loams shallow over granite,
limestone, gneiss and schist; deeper, less stony, sandy
loam soils in the valleys. Main series: Pontotoc, Peder-
nales, Ligon, Castell, Katemcy, Hensley and Voca.
Bottomland soils are minor areas of dark gray, al-
luvial soils. Main series: Frio, Gowen.
The native vegetation is grass and small oak and
mesquite trees. On some rocky slopes, juniper forms
the principal growth.
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Texas Almanac, 1978-1979, book, 1978~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth113814/m1/86/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.