Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 72
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72 TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
toga and Eddy soils. Bottomland soils are mainly Tinn
and Trinity clays.
The native vegetation consists of bunch and short
grasses. The main species are little and big bluestems,
grama, Indian, buffalo and threeawn grasses. In places,
scattered mesquite trees, cacti and other shrubs form a
rather thick cover. Hardwood trees - mainly elm, hack-
berry and pecan - occur in stream bottoms. The main
crops are grain sorghum, wheat, cotton, corn and hay.
Pastures are used for beef and dairy cattle.
16. CLAYPAN AREA SOILS
The Claypan Area is a nearly level to gently rolling
moderately dissected woodland savannah to brushy area
(Post Oak Belt) with moderate surface drainage. The
area is more than 6.1 million acres.
Upland soils are sandy loams, commonly thin over
gray, mottled or red, firm, clayey subsoils. Some deep,
sandy soils with less clayey subsoils exist. Main series:
Lufkin, Axtell, Tabor (thin-surface claypan soils); Free-
stone and Padina (thick-surface sandy and loamy soils).
Bottomlands are reddish brown to dark gray, to loamy to
clayey alluvial soils. Main series: Ships, Weswood
(Brazos and Colorado Rivers); Kaufman, Trinity, Glade-
water, Nahatche (Trinity River and other smaller
Vegetation consists of scattered stands of post oak
and blackjack oak with tall bunchgrasses in the uplands;
yaupon and other underbrush prevalent in places. In
the bottomlands, hardwoods are predominant but pe-
cans occur in some areas. The land is woodland and
brushy range. A few areas are used for tame pasture
and cool-season forage crops.
17. EAST TEXAS TIMBERLAND SOILS
The East Texas Timberlands comprise the forested
eastern part of the state, about 16.1 million acres.
The principal soil series are the Woodtell, Kirvin,
Cuthbert, Bowie, Lilbert and Tonkawa soils in the north-
ern and central parts; Nacogdoches and Elrose soils in
the "Redland" section; and Diboll, Kisatche, Rayburn,
Tehran, Doucette, Pinetucky and Shankler soils in the
southern part of the area. Alluvial soils, mainly Manta-
chie, luka, Severn and Estes are on flood plains of
The native vegetation is a pine-hardwood forest. It is
mainly loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, sweetgum and red
oak trees with an understory of grasses and shrubs. For-
estry and pastures are the main uses.
18. COAST PRAIRIE SOILS
The Coast Prairie includes the nearly flat strip that
is near the Gulf Coast in Southeast Texas in the humid
and subhumid zones. It ranges from 30 to 80 miles in
width and parallels the coast from the Sabine River in
Orange County to Baffin Bay in Kleberg County. Total
area of the Coast Prairie is about 8.7 million acres. The
principal soils in the eastern portion from about the San
Antonio River to the Sabine River are Lake Charles, Ber-
nard, Edna, Morey and Beaumont soils near the coast,
comprising more than 4 million acres.
The more inland soils in the eastern section are
Hockley, Katy and Crowley series, comprising nearly 2
million acres. The portions west and south of the San
Antonio River are Victoria, Orelia, Papalote and Clare-
ville soils, comprising some 2 million acres. Other impor-
tant soils, which occur in the bottomlands, are Brazoria,
Norwood, Pledger, Kaman and Urbo. The nearly level
topography and productive soils encourage farming.
Rice, grain sorghum, cotton and soybeans are main
crops. The native vegetation is tall prairie grasses,
mainly species of andropogon, paspalum and panicum,
with a narrow fringe of trees along the streams.
19. COAST SALINE PRAIRIES SOILS
The Coast Saline Prairies include a narrow strip of
wet lowlands adjacent to the coast and the barrier
islands that extend from Mexico to Louisiana. The sur-
face is at or only a few feet above sea level and it ranges
from 3 to 20 miles wide. The total area is about 3.2 million
acres. Important soil series are the Harris, Tatton, Ves-
ton and Galveston series in the eastern part, and the
Mustang, Aransas, Placedo, Francitas, Barrada and Gal-
veston in the southern part. Cattle grazing is the chief
economic use of the various salt tolerant cordgrasses and
sedges. Recreation is an important use of the barrier
20. FLATWOODS SOILS
The Flatwoods area includes the flat, rather poorly
drained forested area in humid Southeast Texas. Total
area is about 2.5 million acres. Most soils have a water
table near the surface at least part of the year. Soils are
mainly fine sandy loam with loamy or clayey subsoils.
Important soil series are the Segno, Sorter, Splendora,
Kirbyville, Malbis and Evadale.
The land is mainly used for forest. The typical vege-
tation is a pine-hardwood forest that is longleaf pine, lob-
lolly pine, sweetgum and various oak species.
Texas is at the crossroads of five major physiographic regions of North America: the Gulf Coastal Plain; the Great
Plains; the Interior Lowlands; the Rocky Mountain System; and the Basin and Range Province.
A special thanks to Dr. William M. Holmes, chairman of the Department of Geography at North Texas State Univer-
sity, for his assistance in revising this section.
Principal physical regions of Texas usually are listed
as follows: (See also Plant Life and Soils.)
THE GULF COASTAL PLAINS
Texas' Gulf Coastal Plains are the western extension
of the coastal plain extending from the Atlantic to be-
yond the Rio Grande. Its characteristic rolling to hilly
surface covered with a heavy growth of pine and hard-
woods extends into East Texas, but in the increasingly
arid west its forests become secondary in nature, consis-
ting largely of post oaks and, farther west, prairies and
The interior limit of the Gulf Coastal Plains in Texas
is the line of the Balcones Fault and Escarpment. This ge-
ologic fault or shearing of underground strata extends
eastward from a point on the Rio Grande near Del Rio. It
extends to the northwestern part of Bexar County where
it turns northeastward and extends through Comal, Hays
and Travis counties, intersecting the Colorado River
immediately above Austin. The fault line is a single, defi-
nite geologic feature, accompanied by a line of south-
ward- and eastward-facing hills. The resemblance of the
hills to balconies when viewed from the plain below
accounts for the Spanish name, balcones. North of Waco,
features of the fault zone are sufficiently inconspicuous
that the interior boundary of the Coastal Plain follows
the traditional geologic contact between upper and low-
er Cretaceous rocks. This contact is along the western
edge of the Eastern Cross Timbers.
This fault line is usually accepted as the boundary
between lowland and upland Texas. Below this fault line
the surface is characteristically coastal plains. Above the
Balcones Fault the surface is characteristically interior
Pine Belt or "Piney Woods"
The Pine Belt (often called locally the "Piney
Woods") extends into Texas from the east 75 to 125 miles.
From north to south it extends from the Red River to
within about 25 miles of the Gulf Coast. Interspersed
among the pines are some hardwood timbers, usually in
valleys of rivers and creeks. This area is the source of
practically all of Texas' large commercial timber pro-
duction. (See index for chapter on forest resources.) It
was settled early in Texas history and is an older farm-
ing area of the state. This area's soils and climate are
adaptable to production of a variety of fruit and vegeta-
ble crops. Cattle raising has increased greatly, accompa-
nied by the development of pastures planted to
improved grasses. Lumber production is the principal
manufacturing industry. There is a large iron and steel
industry near Daingerfield in Morris County based on
nearby iron deposits. Iron deposits are also worked in
Rusk and one or two other counties.
A great oil field discovered in Gregg, Rusk and
Smith counties in 1931 has done more than anything else
to contribute to the economic growth of the area. This
area has a variety of clays, lignite and other minerals as
potentials for development.
Post Oak Belt
The main Post Oak Belt of Texas is wedged between
the Pine Belt on the east, Blacklands on the west, and the
Coastal Prairies on the south, covering a consider-
TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/76/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.