Macy H. (Macy Harvey) Lapham.

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■•'-v^ X^,„,*^^ Issued NovemJ

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICUL

BUREAU OF SOILS— MILTON WHITNEY,



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA,
CALIFORNIA.



MACY H. LAPHAM and L. C. HOLMES.



[AdTance Sheets— Field Operations ef the Bureau of Soils, 1907.]




WASHINGTON:



GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.



1908.

UCLA SELVGeology Collection



[PuBLK^ Resolution" — No. 9.]

JOINT RESOLUTION Amending public resolution numbered eight, Fifty-sixth Congress, second
session, approved February twenty-third, nineteen hundred and one, "providing for the printing
annually of the report on field operations of the Division of Soils, Department of Agriculture."

Resolved by the Senate and House of ■ Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled. That public resolution numbered eight, Fifty-sixth Congress,
second session, approved February twenty-third, nineteen hundred and one, be
amended by striking out all after the resolving clau.=!e and inserting in lieu thereof
the following:

That there shall be printed ten thou.sand five hundred copies of the report on field
operations of the Division of Soils, Department of Agriculture, of which one thousand
five hundred copies shall be for the use of the Senate, three thousand copies for the
use of the House of Representatives, and six thousand copies for the use of the Depart-
ment of Agi'iculture: Provided, That in addition to the number of copies above pro-
vided for there shall be printed, as soon as the manuscript can be prepared, with the
necessary maps and illustrations to accompany it, a report on each area surveyed,
in the form of advance sheets, bound in paper covers, of which five hundred copies
shall be for the use of each Senator from the State, two thousand copies for the use of
each JRepresentative for the Congressional district or districts in which the survey is
made, and one thousand copies for the use of the Department of Agriculture.

Approved March 14, 1904.

[On .July 1, 1901, the Division of Soils was reorganized as the Bureau of Soils.]



Issued November 14, 1908.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OE AGRICULTURE,

BUREAU OF SOILS— MILTON WHITNEY, Chief.



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA,
CALIFORNIA.



MACY H. LAPHAM and L. C. HOLMES.



[Advance Sheets— Field Operations of the Bureau of Soils, 1907.]




WASHINGTON:

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.

1908.



LETTER OE TRANSMriTAL.



U. S. Department of Agriculture,

Bureau of Soils,
WasUngton, D. C, April 2 4, 1908.
Sir: A soil survey of the Redding area, California, was instituted
in the summer of 1907 at the request of the Shasta County Board of
Trade for the purpose of determining the extent and varieties of the
soils and the possibilities of the further agricultural development of
the area. This work is a part of the extension of the soil surveys in
the Sacramento Valley called for by numerous resolutions from
boards of trade of all the representative cities of the valley, the Sac-
ramento Valley Development Association, California Water and
Forest Association, etc., which have been indorsed by Hon. George C.
Perkins and Hon. F. P. Flint. I have the honor to transmit herewith
the report and map covering these investigations and to recommend
their publication as advance sheets of the Field Operations of the
Bureau of Soils for 1907, as provided by law.
Respectfully,

Milton Whitney,

Chief of Bureau.
Hon. James Wilson,

Secretary of Agriculture.



Geol.

Lib.

S

CI

CONTENTS.



Paga
Soil Survey of the Redding Area, California. By Macy H. Lapham

and L. C. Holmes 5

Description of the area 5

Climate ^ 7

Agriculture 9

Soils 13

Redding gravelly loam 15

Redding loam 18

Rough stony land 19

Anderson gravelly loam 20

Anderson fine sandy loam 21

Bellavista sandy loam 22

Riverwash 23

Sacramento gravelly sandy loam 24

Sacramento fine sandy loam 24

Sacramento silt loam : 25

Sacramento loam 26

Irrigation 27

Summary 28



ILLUSTRATIONS.



figure.

Page
Fig. 1. Sketch map showing location of the Redding area, California 5

MAP.

Soil map. Redding sheet, California.



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA, CALIFORNIA.

By MACY H. LAPHAM and L. C. HOLMES.
DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA.

The Reddino^ area covers about 200 square miles, embracin_fr tlie
principal agricultural district of Shasta County, Cal. It is irregular
in outline and extends north from Cottonwood Creek, which here
forms the southern boundary of Shasta County, a distance of some
20 miles. From east
to west its greatest
breadth is slightly less
than 16 miles.

It occupies the up-
per or northern part of
the great depression
known as the Sacra-
mento Valley. This
depression, constitut-
ing the most impor-
tant agricultural re-
gion of the northern
half of the State, is
about 4,000 square
miles in extent. It is
inclosed by the Sierra
Nevada and the Lassen
Peak Ridge of the Cas-
cade Moimtains upon
the east, the Coast
Range upon the west,
and the Klamath Moun-
tains, formed by the
coalescing of these
ranges, upon the north.

The extreme northern part of this depression is cut off from the
main valley of the Sacramento River by a low, wooded ridge extending
outward from the foothills upon each side of the valle}', through
which a short distance north of the town of Red BluflP the Sacramento
passes by a narrow gorge known as Iron Can^'on. The valley proper




Fig. 1.— Sketch map showing location of the Kedding area,
California.



6 FIELD OPERATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF SOILS, 1907.

has been eroded by the Sacramento liiver from the stream deposits of
days, sands, and gravels laid down at an earlier period in this depres-
sion. The valley within the area surveyed is from a half mile to 3 miles
in mdth. In the vicinity of the town of Anderson it attains its
maximum width and greatest agricultural importance, and it is here
known as the Anderson Valley. The Sacramento River, which
traverses the area in a southeasterly direction and flows through a wide
and generally shallow channel, often marked by riffles formed by
gravel bars, is frequently bordered by sand bars and wooded bottoms,
or by bluffs sometimes rising to nearly 100 feet in height. The
valley bottoms support a vigorous growth of valley oak or a dense
covering of cottonwood and sycamore, with an almost impenetrable
undergrowth of ''willows," brush, and vines. The adjacent valley
slopes are usually dotted with groves or individual oaks and support
during the winter and early summer a good growth of nutritious
grasses.

West and southwest of the Sacramento River and its recent valley
the survey embraces a comparatively large tract of rolling or sloping
plateaulike country, often greatly dissected by streams, and made up
of earlier stream deposits from 100 to 200 feet or more above the recent
valley floor, from which it is generally separated by well-marked
bluffs or terraces. Tliis rolling or elevated plateaulike country
extends beyond the western boundary of the area and merges in the
foothills of the Klamath Mountains. Its numerous minor stream
valleys are generally more or less forested with live and deciduous
oaks and digger pines, and are often covered with a dense growth of
chaparral consisting of manzanita, coffee berry, and ceanothus.
East from Anderson, where this region becomes important agricul-
turally, it is known as Happy Valley. The main tributary streams of
the Sacramento in this section of the area are Cottonwood and Clear
creeks, which traverse narrow valleys and maintain a small flow of
water throughout the dry season. The Clear Creek bottoms, as is the
case in other parts of the area, have been more or less disturbed by
hydraulic mining operations and the stream courses partially filled or
obstructed by debris.

The northern half of that portion of the area lying east of the Sacra-
mento River is similar in character to the Happy Valley section, but
is rougher, more deeply dissected by stream courses, and has some-
what shallower soils. It is bounded upon the north and west by a
region of shallow, rocky, residual soils of the mining district of the
Klamath Mountains and adjacent foothills. In the southern half of
tliis section these wooded rolling hills gradually give way to gently
sloping treeless plains known locall}" as the Stillwater Plains. Here
is found a shallow, gravelly soil, which, in the vicinity of the narrow
stream valleys or minor stream courses, supports some timber.



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA, CALIFORNIA. 7.

The northern and eastern parts of the area are drained principally
by Churn, Stillwater, and Cow creeks, which flow south. It is prin-
cipally in the narrow valleys of these streams that the farming lands
of this district are located.

By far the greater part of the agricultural population is confined to
the Anderson and Happy valleys, where in places the country is quite
thickly settled. In other parts of these districts, where the farms are
larger and farm dwellings some distance apart or where the land is un-
cleared of timber and brush and used only for grazing, the population
is rather sparse. In the rougher and more hilly districts and upon the
treeless plains of the southeastern part of the area the population is
confined to a few small clearings or cultivated farms upon the uplands
and in the minor stream valleys. The farming class is of a cosmo-
politan character, dra^\^l not only from the various parts of the United
States but from foreign countries.

Redding, the county seat of Shasta County, now has a population
of about 5,000, and is the principal town. It is a shipping center
and outfitting point for near-by mining camps, which have contributed
greatly to its development. Anderson, having a population of about
1,000, is the main fruit-shipping point and agricultural center.
Cottonwood, a smaller town near the southern boundary, is the center
of a small fruit district. Bellavista, a little town near the northeast
boundary, is the site of a lumber mill and box factory of considera-
ble size.

Transportation is furnished principally by the Portland and San
Francisco branch of the Southern Pacific Railway. The Anderson
and Bellavista Railway, connecting Anderson with Bellavista, is used
mainly for lumber and ore shipments.

The Redding area is well provided with public roads, wliich in the
more thickly settled districts are of excellent character.

Fruits and other farm products are shipped to the East, to San
Francisco and vicinity, and to Portland and other cities to the north.
The towns and mining camps of northern California and Oregon also
afford excellent markets for fruits, vegetables, hay, poultry, and
dairy products.

CLIMATE.

The climate of the Redding area is characterized by a long, warm,
dry summer season, followed by a mild, rainy ^\-inte^ season.

The normal annual precipitation at Redtling, at an elevation of 552
feet, is reported by the United States Weather Bureau as 36.11 inches.
This is somewhat in excess of 'the rainfall reported for the more south-
ern Sacramento Valley points, the precipitation, for instance, at Red
Bluff — elevation, 309 feet — at the head of the main valley, being 26.1 1
inches. Owing to slightly greater elevation and proximity to the
mountains it is probable that at Reddmg it is somewhat greater than



8



FIELD OPEEATIONS OF THE BUEEAU OF SOILS, 1907.



at Anderson and over the principal agricultural section of the area,
but no data covering the latter district could be obtained. At Shasta,
outside the limits of the survej^, 5 miles northwest of Redding, in the
foot hills, at an elevation of 1,148 feet, the precipitation is 49.90
inches.

During the summer local showers, sometimes accompanied by
thunder and lightning or hail, are of occasional occurrence. Very
little rain falls from May to October. During the winter showers and
rainy spells, sometimes continuing for two or three days, alternate with
periods of fair weather. The rains are usually gentle, but the pro-
nounced slopes carry off much that might be absorbed by the soil.
During the long dry period the native grasses dry up and the coun-
try appears somewhat barren. Much of this naturally cured grass,
however, is quite nutritious. The first fall rains start a new and
abundant growth of pasture grasses. In the more elevated parts
of the valley snow sometimes falls, but this is rare, and it never
remains on the ground for any length of time.

The normal monthly and annual temperature and precipitation,
as published in the official records of the United States Weather
Bureau for stations at Redding and Red Bluff, are given in the follow-
mg table:

Normal monthly and annual temperature and precipitation.





Redding.


Red Bluff.


Month.


. Redding.


Red Bluflf.


Month.


Temper-
ature.


Precip-
itation.


Temper-
ature.


Precip-
itation.


Temper-
ature.


Precip-
itation.


Temper-
ature.


Precip-
itation.


January

February

March


°F.
45.2
49.3
53.8
60.2
67.2
75.6
82.3


In.
7.29
4.22
4.75
3.01
2.19
.79
.09


°F.
44.9
49.0
54.5
59.3
67.0
74.4
81.8


In.
4.67
3.70
3.27
2.16
1.33
.49
.03


August

September ..

October

November . .
December...

Year. .


°F.
8i.0
74.0
64.5
54.1
47.0


In.

.09

.67

2.48

3.79

6.74


°F.
81.1
73.8
63.5
53.9
46.7


In.

.02

.67

1.36

3.10


May.


5.31






July


62.9


36.11


62.5


26.11







The normal annual temperature, as will be observed from the above
table at Redding, is 62.9° and at Red Bluff 62.5° F. At Sacra-
mento, upon the south and 160 miles distant from Redding in an
air line, it is 60° or 2.5° less than at Red Bluff. July is usually the
hottest month, the thermometer during the summer frequently
having a daily maximum of more than 100° F. At Red Bluff the
highest recorded temperature is 114° F. While the summer tem-
perature is sometimes extreme the nights are usually cool and pleas-
ant, the relative humidity low, and hot winds less frequent than to
the south in the main valley.



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA, CALIFORNIA.



9



The minimum temperature recorded at Red Bluff is 18° F. The
jfrosts, which are of frequent occurrence during the winter, are, how-
ever, usually not severe, and hardy vegetables remain in the ground
uninjured during the winter. The dates of first and last killing
frosts at Redding and Red Bluff as reported by the Weather Bureau
follow :

Dates of first and last killing frosts.





Redding.


Red Bluff.


Year.


Last in
spring.


First in
fall.


Last in First in
spring. fall.


1897






Mar. 30 Dec 20


1898


Mar. 27
May 1
Feb. 9
Mar. 14




Mar. 18 Dee 9


1899


Dee. 14
Dec. 3
Nov. 20
Dec. 5
Oct. 17
Nov. 18

Nov. 23


Feb. 7 Dpp \q


1900




Dec. 30


1902






1903


Mar. 9


T>fo 7


1905


May 1
Mar. 1.5

Mar. 27


Apr. 4 , Nov. 28
Mar 15 Nov 24


1906


Average


Mar. 14 Dpp ii









There is in general a well-marked wind movement, the prevailing
directions being north and southeast. Violent storms or gales are
rare.

Fogs are infrequent and are generally confined to local stream
valleys. There is an unusually high percentage of fair weather
throughout the year, the average number of clear days at Red Bluff
being given as 218, and the average number of rainy days 75.

The climate is, upon the whole, healthful, favorable to crop pro-
duction, a long groM-ing period, and to the summer curing of fruits.
Farming operations suffer comparatively little interruption from frosts
or other climatic conditions throughout the year.

AGRICULTURE.

Prior to the discovery of gold there were few wliite settlers in
northern California and agriculture had hardly been attempted. In
1844 the San Buenaventura grant, consisting of 26,632 acres, Ij^ing
along the western side of the Sacramento River and almost wholly
witliin the limits of the Redding area, had been acquired from
the Mexican Government b}^ Maj. P. B. Reading, a central figure
in the early settlement of this part of the State. This grant covered
the greater part of the most productive section of the Andei-son Val-
ley, and the first ranch house was established in this valley near the
mouth of Cottonwood Creek. As wild oats and native grasses were
abundant the earlj' agriculture consisted mainl}^ in the raising of
stock.

42007—08 2



10 FIELD OPERATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF SOILS, 1907.

The discover}' of gold in 1849 and 1850 brought prospectors into
northern Cahfornia, and the town of Shasta was soon after founded
and became the center of the mining industry and the principal set-
tlement of this section of the State, although smaller minmg towns
soon sprang up.

The settlement of the country by prospectors created a demand
for hay, grains, fresh and dried fruits, and vegetables, which was
only supplied b}^ the limited number who refrained from the search
for gold and undertook the production, by primitive methods, of
these crops. Fresh vegetables were considered luxuries at this time,
and wild ha}^ from the Cow Creek bottoms is said to have been sold
in the mining camps for $150 per ton.

With the building of the railroad in the early seventies the new
town of Redding increased in importance and became the metropolis
of the district and Shasta was abandoned. Shipment of fruits and
farm produce to a distance was now possible and the agricultural
resources were rapidly developed. The production of green and dried
fruits, consisting of prunes, peaches, and pears, became of much
importance in the Anderson Valley. Fruit production was soon
taken up by the Happy Valley section, which came into prominence
about 1883 and 1884, and the fruit industry has been steadily devel-
oped in both places.

In the Anderson and adjacent minor stream valleys prunes are
the leading crop, followed by peaches, pears, and, to a much less
extent, by grapes and small fruits. Fig trees bear abundantly, but
figs are grown only for home use. Alfalfa is produced to a small
extent, and with proper care and irrigation should produce 5 tons
per acre. Even without irrigation three crops can be cut each season
in some sections of the bottom lands well suited to its production. It
is usually baled at a cost of about $2 per ton and generally brings
from $12 to $15 per ton baled, on the ground. The trucking industiy
is locally of considerable importance and is largely controlled by
Cliinese. Grains, consisting of wheat and barley, are grown quite
extensively, but much less than in the more southern part of the
Sacramento Valle}-^, the greater proportion of these crops being cut
green for hay. Dairying and poultry raising are carried on only to
a limited extent. The products of these industries, however, bring
good prices.

In the Happy Valley district general farming is practiced on a
small scale, the valley being essentially a fruit-producing section.
Peaches are the leading crop, followed by table grapes, strawberries,
and bramble fruits. The peaches are well colored and of particu-
larly fine flavor. Strawberries and bramble fruits yield abundantly.

The value of orchard products for Shasta County, according to the
United States Census for 1900, was $110,276, a sum which has been



SOIL SURVEY OF THE REDDING AREA, CALIFORNIA. 11

greatly increased b}" more recent development of the fruit-producing
industries. The season is in general somewhat later than that of
the Santa Clara and more southern Sacramento Valley points. The
products are shipped in both the green and dried states, in carload
lots, to the Eastern States and to Europe.

Prunes probably constitute the leading crop, the production for
the season of 1907 being estimated at 2,200 tons, or 110 carloads at
20 tons })er car. The crop usually brings from 3 to 3h cents a ])oun(i.
The French prune is the leading variety, and the harvesting begins
about September 1, at which time weather conditions are favorable,
although showers sometimes occur during the curing period. Peaches
are next in importance. The fruit is shipped both green and dried.
Most of the smaller express shipments of the green fruit go to north-
ern California and Oregon. The leading varieties are the Muir,
Crawford, Imperial, and Foster, the Muir and Crawford predom-
inating. For diying the Muir is reported to be the favorite. The
total production of dried peaches in favorable seasons is in the
neighborhood of 500 tons.

Pear growing, both for sliipment green and for drying, has been an
attractive and important industry, but o^\dng to ravages of the blight
production in this section has of late fallen off. Many of the orchards
have ceased bearing and are being replaced by other crops. This
disease, of a bacterial nature, can be checked and eradicated only by
persistent and vigorous cutting. Mr. Chris Thorsing, horticultural
commissioner of Shasta County, reports excellent success in combat-
ing the blight in his orchard, located 5 miles southeast of Anderson.'*
With the certaint}^ of a scarcity of pears, the grower who is able to
maintain clean and productive orchards of this fruit should be able to
obtain a very good profit. Many, however, prefer to replace pear
trees with prune and peach trees.

Of the truck crops produced, tomatoes are of particularly fine
quality and large size and bear abundantly.

The raising of cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs is an industry of con-
siderable importance and yields good returns, although improvement
in breeds and types and in care of the stock is to be desired. The
herds are usually grazed m the mountains during the dry summer
season.

The adaptability of certain soils to particular fruits is usually well
recognized. The prune industry is practical^ confined to the deeper
friable loams of the Sacramento and other stream bottoms. Pears
are mostly grown upon soils of a similar character, although those

o See Report of Thirty-first Fruit Growers' Convention of California, 1906. See Pear
Blight, Cause and Preventative, Reprint of Ignited States Department of Agriculture,
190G; Commercial Pear Culture, Reprint of the United States Department of Agri-
culture, 1900.



12 FIELD OPERATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF SOILS, 1907.

grown on the shallower red soils of the Happy Valley section are less
succulent and of less vigorous growth, but are not so liable to attack
by blight. Peaches are usually planted on gravelly sloping valley
lands or on the more elevated shallow soils of the Happy Valley
district. It is believed that the influence of the shallower and some-
what less productive soils of this district tends to smaller tree growth
and lower yields, but the fruit is exceptionally fine in color, size, and
flavor.

Grain and grain hay are grown by a system of dry farming and
summer fallowing. Little attempt is now made to grow alfalfa or
other deep-rooted crops upon the shallow upland soils, and consider-
able loss has been met with in the past from planting fruit upon shallow
dry lands. Such injury has been particularly apparent in the case of
young orchards at first irrigated, but to which water was later denied,
or where attempts were made to produce orchard fruits entirely with-
out irrigation in unfavorable locations. Grapes do well upon the
deeper phases of the shallow upland soils when irrigated or even
without irrigation if intensively and thoroughly cultivated. It is
quite possible that a profitable field awaits the development of this
industry upon much of the upland part of the area now utilized only
for grazing purposes, if attended wath care in the selection of soils and
systematic and thorough cultivation.

Rotation of crops and the use of commercial fertilizers are practiced
to a limited extent, but barnyard and green manures should be more
generally used. The better and more profitable orchards are usually
well cultivated, but in many places the importance of frequent and
clean cultivation is little appreciated. Throughout the northern part
of the area, over which small unirrigated orchard and vineyard tracts
are frequently found, much of the loss from the "going back" or
dying of the trees or vines is commonly attributed to the poisonous
effects of fumes from the smelters of the mining district. The,
evidence, however, seems to point rather to unfortunate selection of
soils and lack of careful cultivation as the real causes of the trouble,
although much injury to the native vegetation from smelter fumes
has taken place to the northwest of the area.

During the fruit-harvesting season labor is very badly needed and
the prices paid are correspondingly high. The work of packing the


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Online LibraryMacy H. (Macy Harvey) LaphamSoil survey of the Redding area, California → online text (page 1 of 4)