Soil of the Year - Umbric Podzol

Umbric podzol is a nutrient-poor and acidic sandy soil. Podzolisation is a process where acidic humic substances in the soil decompose the mineral portion of the soil and decomposition products are carried into lower layers by downward-percolating water. 

Umbric podzols support mainly pine forests where the moss carpet is covered with bilberry and cowberry plants, giving the forest a look familiar to berry and mushroom pickers. Spruce, mixed, and birch forests are also found on umbric podzols to a smaller extent.

Farmers can get decent harvests from this soil by continuous piecemeal fertilizing and appropriate liming. 

Umbric podzols are found to some extent across Estonia. They are more widespread in Northeast and Southeast Estonia, in the southwest of Saaremaa Island and in the western part of Hiiumaa Island. Umbric podzols make up 5% of the soils of Estonia but only about 4% of agricultural soils.