Topography and drainage. The surface of the Sands and Peat
(undifferentiated) is level, with slight undulations due to the
low islands, which rise only a few feet above the level of the
marsh. In places an elevation of 20 feet is attained, but this is
exceptional. The islands in themselves are usually sufficiently
drained and become droughty each summer. The intervening
areas of black sand and shallow peat, however, are poorly
drained. The water table is close to the surface and cultivated
crops can not be grown until drainage systems have been in-
stalled. Even where such systems have been established they
are not always sufficient to properly drain the extensive areas of
lowland and comparatively little of the type has been improved
so as to make the growing of cultivated crops successful. Other
62 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
conditions aside from drainage, however, must be met before suc-
cess will be assured.
Origin. The material forming the sand islands and the sub-
soil of the marshes has been derived from the Potsdam sandstone,
but has been influenced more or less by the action of water. The
sand on the islands has also been acted upon by the winds, and
low dunes are quite common. In fact, the islands themselves
may be largely of dune origin. Some of the depressions be-
tween the islands are considered by some to be erosion channels
formed when the water from shallow floods was receding or when
this entire region was occupied continuously by an expansion of
the Wisconsin River. The Peat consists of vegetable matter in
varying stages of decomposition with which there is mixed dif-
ferent amounts of sand. The black sand contains a considerable
amount of vegetable matter, but not enough to form a Peat. The
surface material of this type is in an acid condition.
Native vegetation. The growth on the islands consisted chiefly
of Jack pine, Norway pine, scrub oak, poplar, and birch, with
a considerable stand of underbrush comprising several varieties
of shrubs and a scattering growth of prairie grasses, sweet fern,
etc. On the Peat and black-sand areas the growth consists of
marsh grasses, wire grass, moss, etc.
Present agricultural development. "With a few exceptions, the
production of marsh hay, wire grass, and the furnishing of pas-
ture is the only use made of this type. Large drainage systems
have been established throughout the region, with the idea of im-
proving the land by drainage and making possible the growing
of cultivated crops. For various reasons the ditches have fre-
quently not fulfilled the expectations of those interested. In
some sections the assessments on the land to cover the cost of the
ditches have been as high as $10 per acre, yet the drainage af-
forded is seldom sufficient, and as a result but few efforts are
made to cultivate the land. Marsh hay cut from the Peat and
black sand will frequently yield 1 ton per acre. The harvesting
of wire grass is quite an important industry. The usual price
received is $14 per ton, in bales, delivered at the shipping point.
The shipment from Cranberry Center has been as high as 154
carloads in one season. In 1911 sixty cars were shipped. Wire
grass is used in the manufacture of rugs and mattings. The
islands do not support a growth of grass sufficient to cut for
hay, but in conjunction with the lowland they furnish some pas-
Chemical composition and improvement.* On account of the
extreme variations which occur in this type a chemical analysis
of any one phase would not be representative of all conditions,
and an average of analyses from the different phases would have
little meaning because of the wide range covered. It is there-
fore considered advisable to compare the various phases of the
Sand and Peat type with other types which have been mapped
in Juneau County, rather than to attempt giving specific chemi-
cal data for this condition as a unit.
As indicated above, this type is composed of about 50 per cent
of marsh, consisting of shallow Peat and dark colored sand, and
about 50 per cent of light colored sand which occurs in small is-
lands scattered through the marsh. On account of the shallow
condition of the Peat and the fact that it contains considerable
mineral matter, its chemical composition differs somewhat from
that of typical Peat. It contains slightly more phosphorus and
potassium, but less nitrogen than typical Peat. The dark col-
ored sand is comparable with the Dunning sand, which is de-
scribed in the following chapter, and wherever areas of suffi-
cient extent were found they were mapped separately as Dun-
ning sand. In chemical composition this dark sand contains
more phosphorus and potassium, but considerable less nitrogen
that the Peat. Because of the acid condition which prevails
throughout this type a smaller proportion of the phosphorus
is available than where an acid condition does not exist. The
total amount of both the phosphorus and potassium in the Peat
and dark sand is small and before profitable crops can be ex-
pected over a series of years these mineral elements will have
to be supplied.
The chemical composition of the sand islands is practically
the same as that of the group of sand soils previously described,
*See Wisconsin Experiment Station, Bulletin 205, Management of
For special information concerning drainage, write the Soils De/*
partment Qf the Wisconsin Experiment Station.
G4 SOIL SURVEY OF JVNEAV COUNTY.
The soil is low in the mineral plant food elements and also in
the supply of organic matter. It is deficient in its water hold-
ing capacity, and the soil is acid. Since most of the islands
have an elevation of only a few feet above the level of the
marsh, the water table is closer to the surface than in the upland
soils, even under these conditions the moisture supply is defi-
cient for a large portion of the growing season.
Before cultivated crops can be grown successfully on the dark
sand and shallow Peat thorough drainage is necessary. As in
the case of the Peat and Muck, a number of large drainage
ditches have also been constructed through this type, and some
crops have been grown close to the ditches. The drainage of
the large tracts, however, does not appear to be sufficient, and
often the methods of cultivation followed are not those best
suited to the improvement of this class of land.
In cases where the covering of Peat has been burnt off there
is frequently sufficient potassium available for several crops,
but this element must be supplied ultimately and the supply
in the soil should not be allowed to be depleted before more is
added. If corn or potatoes are to be grown 150 pounds of high
grade muriate of potash should be applied per acre, but if cer-
eals or hay grasses are to be grown 100 pounds per acre will be
sufficient. When these crops are grown in rotation it may be
unnecessary to use the potash fertilizer in seeding down with a
cereal following a crop on which a heavy application was used
the previous year. Phosphorus can best be supplied as ground
rock phosphate and this should be applied at the rate of about
1000 pounds per acre, followed by applications of half this
amount every 3 or 4 years. Ground steam bone meal and acid
phosphate are also excellent phosphate fertilizers for such land,
though much more expensive than the rock phosphate. From
300 to 500 pounds per acre may be used at the beginning and
every 3 to 5 years thereafter.
"While the shallow Peat and dark sand is quite strongly acid
the acidity is not as detrimental in the case of marsh lands as in
upland soils, since the chief objection to the acidity is that it
interferes with the -growth of legumes, such as clover and alfal-
fa, which are needed on the higher lands to secure nitrogejj, and
66 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAV COUNTY.
As compared with other classes of land this Sand and Peat
type has a lower value than typical Peat. It also has a lower
value than marsh soils which are underlain by a heavy subsoil.
These facts should be given consideration by those who may be
interested in the development of marsh soils. It would be well
for those who contemplate the purchase of land in this region
to write the Soils Department, University of Wisconsin for any
additional information which may be desired concerning the
character of the soils and their improvement.
QROUP OF MISCELLANEOUS SOILS.
GROUP OF MISCELLANEOUS SOILS.
LA CROSSE SILTY CLAY LOAM.*
Description. The soil of La Crosse silty clay loam, to an aver-
age depth of 12 inches, consists of a black silt loam, which con-
tains a high percentage of organic matter, in places approaching
a mucky soil. The subsoil, to a depth of 20 inches, consists of a
gray or drab silt loam to silty clay loam, below which the mate-
rial is frequently mottled with yellow. In places the lower sub-
soil is a sandy silt or sandy clay loam.
Extent and distribution. La Crosse silty clay loam is of lim-
ited extent, but occurs in a number of small areas. Several of
these are found from 2 to 5 miles southeast of Mauston and from
2 to 3 miles south of New Lisbon. A number of other patches
occur throughout the hill section and in the country immediately
at the foot of the bluffs. It is confined to stream valleys, ter-
races, and low depressions where there has been an accumulation
of organic matter.
Topography and drainage. The surface of the areas of La
Crosse silty clay loam is level and the soil often occurs in basin-
shapd depression. In such places the natural drainage is poor.
Practically all of the type would be greatly benefited by tile
drainage. Areas bordering the streams may be flooded in part
during periods of heavy rainfall.
Origin. The soil is believed to be in the main of alluvial and
colluvial origin, though it includes some lacustrine material hav-
ing the general characteristics of Clyde soils of the glaciated
areas, though occupying slightly higher elevations. The dark
color is due to the accumulation of a considerable amount of or-
ganic matter which has undergone decomposition under moist
'Native vegetation. The original timber growth consisted of
elm, ash, some maple, and willows. All of the best timber has
been removed. , !
*In the future La Crosse silty clay loam will be included with Wau-
kesha silt loam.
68 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
Present agricultural development. Because of its poorly
drained condition, a considerable proportion of the type is un-
improved. Around the margins of the areas where the drainage
is best, and in a few cases over the entire area, the type is cul-
tivated and good crops are secured. The soil is well adapted to
corn, but grains are apt to develop too much straw and lodge.
'Chemical composition and improvement. The chemical com-
position of this soil indicates that all of the essential plant food
elements are present in sufficient amounts to produce excellent
crops over a long period of years. The total amount of phos-
phorus in the surface 8 inches is approximately 2000 pounds
per acre, which is more than is contained in any of the other
soils of Juneau County. The total amount of potassium is ap-
proximately 25,000 pounds per acre in the surface 8 inches, and
while this is lower than the amount in Knox silt loam, it is nev-
ertheless sufficient. Its availability will depend upon the ac-
tively decomposing organic matter, but as much of this soil has
not been brought under cultivation, and as none of it has been
depleted, there will be a sufficient supply of available potassium
so long as good methods of farming are followed. There is an
abundant supply of nitrogen present in this soil, the amount be-
ing approximately 10,000 pounds to the surface 8 inches. The
surface soil of this type is slightly acid, but this condition may
be readily corrected by the application of about 1,500 pounds of
ground limestone per acre.
The most important question in the improvement of this soil
is one of drainage. Practically all of the land has sufficient fall
so that tile drains could be installed successfully. When this
type is properly drained it will be the best corn land in Juneau
County. Small grains may also be grown but they are apt to
lodge, and the quality of the grain is not so good as when grown
on the light colored upland soils. Clover and alfalfa may be
successfully grown on this type, and as a whole it may be con-
sidered as good general farming land.
Description. The surface soil of Dunning sand consists of
black, medium, or fine sand, 12 inches deep, containing a high
GMUP OF MISCELLANEOUS SOILS. 9
percentage of organic matter which imparts to the soil its dark
color. The subsoil consists of a grayish or whitish fine to med-
ium sand, which has a leached or washed appearance, and ex-
tends to a depth considerably beyond 3 feet. In places the sub-
soil is stained yellow by iron oxide and a bluish mottling is not
uncommon. The depth of the surface soil varies considerably,
but in other particulars the type is uniform.
Extent and distribution. Dunning sand is confined to the
sand plains portion of the county and in mapping it was fre-
quently made to include some of the land lying between the
marshes and the low phase of the Boone fine sand. One of the
most extensive areas is found along the Iron Creek Ditch, which
it borders for several miles. There is an area 2 miles west of
Necedah and another about 7 miles north of Mauston. Other
smaller patches occur scattered throughout the sandy region ad-
joining the marshes or bordering stream courses. The total area
is not extensive, but it is quite widely distributed.
Topography and drainage. The surface of -the soil is low and
always level. It is very little higher than the level of the marshes
and slightly lower than the bordering sands of light color. On
account of its low position and the nearness of the water table
to the surface, the natural drainage is poor, and as a result the
type is too wet for ordinary farm crops, except during the dry
portion of the summer. "Where the big, open ditches traverse
this soil it is drained sufficiently to produce cultivated crops.
Origin.- The Potsdam sandstone is the parent rock from
which Dunning sand was derived. It has been reworked, trans-
ported, and deposited by the action of water, but to what extent
it is impossible to say. The soil was doubtless formed in the
same way as the low and loamy phases of the Boone fine sand,
but since it occupies a lower position and has been under moist
conditions it has acquired a black color through the growth and
decay of vegetation. The whitish color of the subsoil may be
due to the leaching of organic acids. All of the soil is in a very
acid condition at the present time.
Native vegetation. The native vegetation consists of Jack
pine, poplar, sweet fern, common ferns, mosses, blue stem, and
several species of marsh grass. There is no timber of any value
on the type at the present time.
70 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
Present agricultural development. As the type is low, poorly
drained, and very acid, it is not cultivated except in a few
places. It is devoted chiefly to the production of wild marsh
hay and to pasture. Where cultivated corn and buckwheat are
the crops most grown. One farmer reported a yield of 40
bushels of corn and 150 bushels of potatoes per acre.
Chemical composition and improvement. In chemical com-
position the Dunning sand is found to be deficient in the min-
eral plant food elements. It contains a fair amount of phos-
phorus, which in some instances is nearly equal to the amount
in the heavy upland soils of Juneau County. The potassium
supply, however, is only about % of that in the heavy upland
soils, while the supply of nitrogen is somewhat greater than in
the light colored, heavy types. Dunning sand is very acid and.
about 4000 pounds of ground limestone per acre would be re-
quired to correct this condition.
Thorough drainage is the first step to be considered in the im-
provement of this class of land. When this has been accom-
plished, the system of farming followed should provide for sup-
plying the mineral plant food elements, phosphorus and potash,
in the form of commercial fertilizers. The improvement of this
type may be carried forward in the same manner as suggested
for the shallow Peat and dark colored sand on page 63, and
the same crops may be grown.
The material mapped as Meadow consists of the low-lying
areas along streams and drainage channels, where the texture
of the soil is so variable as to make classification into different
types impossible. Meadow is poorly drained and subject to fre-
quent overflows, making the growing of cultivated crops very
uncertain. The texture of the soil varies from a medium sand
to silt loam, depending upon the character of the soil within
the drainage basin of the water course along which it occurs.
Frequently mucky or peaty areas are found along with sandy
Meadow is most extensively found along the Wisconsin, Lem-
on weir, and Yellow Rivers, where it varies in width from one-
GROUP OF MISCELLANEOUS SOILS. 71
eighth to over 1 mile. The surface is level, except where there
are a number of old stream channels, which give it an undulating
The type is of alluvial origin, having been carried down and
deposited by the streams along which it occui;s during times of
high water. Most of the material-comes from the Potsdam sand-
stone, though the silt present owes its origin to the same source
as the silt of the upland soils.
The timber growth consisted of oak^, maple, river birch, ash,
willows, elm, aspen, a few pines, hazel, alder, and blackberry
bushes. Much of the type is still in timber, but all of the best
trees have been removed.
As Meadow is very low, it would be difficult to drain it suffi-
ciently to make the cultivation of crops safe at all times. A por-
tion of the soil is naturally quite productive, and if it could be
drained would yield good crops. Some marsh hay is cut, and a
portion of the type is used for pasture.
ROUGH STONY LAND.
The areas mapped as Rough stony land mclude^regions which
are too steep and rocky to be of agricultural value. The rock
consists for the most part of Potsdam sandstone and may be in
the form of extensive out crops' or as rock fragments of various
sizes thickly strewn over the surface and mixed with the soil on
steep slopes. At Necedah and in a few other places the rock
consists of quartzite.
Rough stony land occurs most extensively in the southern part
of the county, in the hilly country, where it occupies the steep
slopes and narrow ridges. It is also found in a number of places
as precipitous bluffs, which are the most conspicuous features of
the landscape in the sand plains country.
The timber growth consisted of scrub oak, birch, and some
Jack pine in a few places. Land of this character is never cul-
tivated, but much of it is used as pasture, though the grazing
afforded is very limited. Most of the type is still in timber.
72 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
GENERAL AGRICULTURE OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
Prior to 1850 lumbering was the chief industry in Juneau
County and farming received but little attention. About this
time, however, farms began to be opened up and settlement be-
came quite rapid. The country along the Lemonweir River, and
to the south was opened up sooner than the country to the north
and farming was also begun there earlier. Wheat was the im-
portant cash crop for a considerable period, while corn and oats
were grown on a less extensive scale. The methods of f am, Ing
followed were crude and but little, if any, attention was given
to the selecting of crops or methods best suited to particular
During the period from 1860 to 1880 the hop industry was
developed to considerable proportions. The crop was at first so
profitable that nearly every farmer went into the business. Fre-
quently one crop would pay for the land and entire equipment.
The industry grew to considerable proportions in other sections
of the State and overproduction finally resulted. In connection
with low prices, the hop louse invaded this region, which aided
in bringing failure upon many farmers. By 1880 the hop indus-
try was almost entirely abandoned.
The growing of tobacco has been and is still an important in-
dustry, but the acreage is being gradually decreased.
For over 30 years cranberries have been grown on the areas of
Peat in the northwestern part of the county. At first only the
berries which grew wild in the bogs were gathered. About 15
years ago nearly all of the marshes were destroyed by fire, and
since that time cranberry vines have been transplanted and a
larger proportion of the cranberry marshes cultivated. A few
marshes have been sanded, but the industry as a whole is not
nearly as extensive as it was formerly.
GENERAL AGRICULTURE Oh' JUNEAU COUNTY. 73
The type of agriculture most extensively followed in Juneau
County at the present time consists of general farming, with
dairying and stock raising as the most important branch. In
the southern and southwestern portions of the county the soil is
better, land values are higher, and agriculture is more highly
developed than in the northern part, where the soil is either
sandy or in a marshy condition and the drainage conditions have
not been sufficiently improved to insure the growing of culti-
vated crops. All of the general farm crops common to the re-
gion, including corn, oats, barley, wheat, hay, and rye, are
grown. Some special crops, including tobacco, potatoes, and
cranberries, are produced and trucking is carried on to a limited
extent in different parts of the county. The cutting of wire
grass and the gathering of moss are special industries confined
to the marshy portions of the county.
The figures given in connection with the various crops are
taken from the census reports of 1910 and cover the farm pro-
ducts for the year 1909. While these reports cover but one
year, they give an idea of the size of the various crops grown.
The acreage devoted to hay is greater than that of any other
crop. From 37,024 acres in 1909 a crop of 55,927 tons was har-
vested, which is an average yield of about 1.2 tons per acre. This
includes the marsh hay, of which there was over 10,000 acres,
as well as the hay from tame grasses and clover. Most of the
tame hay consists of a mixture of clover and timothy, which is
seeded with barley, oats, rye, or wheat. There is a small amount
of timothy grown alone and a smaller amount of clover. Only
a few patches of alfalfa are grown, but where reported the yield
averaged a little over 2 tons per acre. The average yields of hay
on the silt loam soils of the southern part of the county are
considerably higher than the average for the county, while the
yields on the sandy types are much lower.
The oat crop is second to that of hay and it is the most ex-
tensive of the cultivated crops. From 27,618 acres a yield of
809,963 bushels, or 29.3 bushels per acre, was secured in 1909.
Oats are more extensively grown in the hilly portion of the area,
where the soils are heavier and the yields larger than in the flat
74 SOIL SURVEY OF JUNEAU COUNTY.
country, where the soils are sandy. Most of the crop is fed,
though a number of farmers sell some each year.
Corn is the cultivated crop of second importance from the
standpoint of acreage, and from 18,768 acres in 1909 a yield of
370,899 bushels, or 19.7 bushels per acre, was secured. This av-
erage yield is very low, owing to the fact that considerable corn
is planted in the sandy section where the yields are light. In
fact, the crop is often a complete failure on the sand, while on
the heavier soils very good yields are secured. Practically all
of the corn is fed on the farms where it is grown.
Rye is an important crop, especially on the sandy soils. The
crop yield of 1909 from 7,123 acres was 52,977 bushels, or an
average of 7.4 bushels per acre. Rye is seeded in the fall and
the land may be used for pasture both in the fall and early
spring. On the sandy loam types fair crops are secured, but on
the Boone fine sand, low phase, and the Plainfield sand the yields
are low and the crop is frequently a failure.
At present barley is not as extensively grown as in former
years, yet it is a profitable crop. But little is produced on the
sandy soils. From 4,748 acres 121,008 bushels, or an average of
25.4 bushels per acre, was secured in 1909. Clover is frequently
seeded with the barley in the spring.