The most successful land use decisions are those where the intended use matches the capabilities of the land. Determining the capability of the land begins with a visual assessment of the landscape such as topography (percent slope) and surface drainage patterns followed by a closer examination of the soil physical and chemical characteristics. The purpose of this publication is to provide a basic understanding of the relationship between these landscape and soil properties to facilitate wise land use decisions. Topics such as soil testing to determine plant nutrient supply, plant species selection, and management are not covered in this publication. Some selected references are provided at the end of this publication or can be found by contacting your local extension office. Much of the information contained in this publication was adapted from University of Kentucky Extension publication 4BA-08MG, 4-H Land Judging in Kentucky, as the topics are similar but focused toward a different audience and end use.

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