Ontario Newsroom

The Guelph Soil Series is Ontario's Provincial Soil

Archived Backgrounder

The Guelph Soil Series is Ontario's Provincial Soil

"Soil Series" is one of the ways soils are classified. Characteristics such as the number of horizons (or levels), color, thickness, texture, erosion phase, slope, organic content, and depth to bedrock are used to describe different soil series.

All soils within a given soil series have the same characteristics. Although the names of soil series are often taken from a nearby town or area, they can be found in many other places.

The classification of soils follows a well-established methodology that has been developed over several decades by Canada's soil scientists. Understanding soil characteristics helps farmers, soil scientists, industry and government officials make the right management decisions to protect and improve Ontario's agricultural soils. 

There are almost 300 soil series in Ontario. The Guelph Soil Series is one of the most productive agricultural soils in the province. 

The Guelph Series is found on the rolling hills or drumlins across Wellington County and surrounding regions. The texture of the soil ranges from loam to sandy loam and silt loam, and typically has very few stones. The soil is well drained but capable of retaining enough moisture to support outstanding crop production.

More than 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of Guelph Soils have been mapped across Brant, Dufferin, Oxford, Perth, Lambton and Wellington Counties, Waterloo and Halton Regions and the City of Hamilton.

The Guelph Soil Series also has an important role in the history of our province. In 1914, the Ontario Soil Survey - the first in Canada - was launched. By 1923, the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and the Ontario Department of Agriculture published the "Preliminary Soil Survey of Southwestern Ontario." The first soil series described in this benchmark document was called the Guelph Series. 

Since that first soil survey, the OAC and University of Guelph researchers and other Ontario soil scientists have conducted a wide range of soil classification, soil property investigations, soil health studies and cropping system systems studies on the Guelph Soil Series at research stations and working farms.

Distribution of the Guelph Soil Series

Media Contacts



Rural and North