Presented below the 5th edition of Polish Soil Classification was published by Soil Science Society of Poland in 2011. Previous ones were published in 1956, 1959, 1974 and 1989, and they, following Dokuchaiev's ideas, were relied mostly on the natural's criteria (quality) like soil forming processes and soil morphological features (4th edition was transient because diagnostic soil horizons appeared there). 5th edition of classification, where it was possible, was built on quantitative criteria, like quantitative described diagnostic horizons, diagnostic materials and diagnostic properties. Soil forming processes are not a part of classification but the relationship between the processes and their morphological effects was taken into account during creating differentiating criteria of diagnostic horizons, materials and properties. The classification derives much of international systems: USDA soil taxonomy (1999) and World Reference Base for Soil Resources - WRB (2006).
Polish soil science intellectual tradition has always maintained a balance between genetical-geographic approach (typical for the Russian scientific school) and substantional-geological-petrographic approach (characteristic for Western Europe). Multilateral look at the soil manifested, in all editions of classification, that each soil was described by three types of characteristics:
Genetical genesis described by type of soil – Polish: typ gleby based on diagnostic horizons, materials and properties,
Geological origin of bedrock described by Polish: rodzaj gleby what might be literally translated as "kind" or "sort" of soil,
Soil texture described of Polish: gatunek gleby what might be literally translated as "class" or "species" of soil.
The Polish Soil Classification has a hierarchical construction. Type of soil is a basic unit of the classification. They are distinguished on a basis of specific layout of main soil genetic or diagnostic horizons, similar chemical, physical and biological properties, type of humus, type of weathering and movement and deposition of results of that weathering. In principle, soil type is a result of main soil forming process. Types of soil are grouped into soil orders. They are identified based on the presence or absence of diagnostic horizons and properties reflecting the effect of specific groups of soil forming processes. Soil types are divided into subtypes.
The order covers all soils where there is thick organic layer or humus horizon (< 10 cm) on solid rock (carbonate or not carbonate) or unconsolidated sediment (like sand, loam, loess). Initial soils can be found both in lowland areas and in mountains. Forming factor of soils from that order can be solid bedrock resistant to weathering, dynamic geomorphologic processes (like erosion) or fluvial accumulation.
Order 2. Weakly developed soils (Polish: Gleby słabo ukształtowane; WRB: Leptosols, Regosols; ST: Entisols)
Soils from that order are the next development stage after initial soils. Humus horizon is deeper and under it are weekly developed genetic soil horizons which are not yet fulfilling all conditions of diagnostic horizons (like mollic, cambic, sideric, glossic etc.).
- Type 2.1 "Rankers" (Polish: Rankery; WRB: Haplic Regosol (Dystric) or (Dystic, Folic),[b] Leptic Regosol (Skeletic); ST: Lithic or Typic Udorthents, Lithic Udifolists)
This order includes all soils with cambic horizon, which is formed by weathering process without well seen eluviation. They have various genesis, parent material, properties and agricultural fertility.
- Type 3.1 "Euthrophic brown soils" (Polish: Gleby brunatne eutroficzne; WRB: Haplic Cambisol, Haplic or Stagnic or Endogleyic or Vertic Cambisol (Eutric); ST: Typic or Humic or Aquic or Oxyaquic or Vertic Eutrudepts)
- Type 3.2 "Dysthrophic brown soils" (Polish: Gleby brunatne dystroficzne; WRB: Haplic or Stagnic Cambisol (Dystric), Endogleyic or Vertic Cambisol (Eutric); ST: Typic or Humic or Spodic or Aquic Dystrudepts, Oxyaquic or Vertic Eutrudepts)
- Type 3.3 "Brown fluvisols" (Polish: Mady brunatne; WRB: Fluvic Cambisol, Fluvic, Endogeyic Cambisol; ST: Fluventic or Oxyaquic Eutrudepts)
In this order are situated sandy soils with rusty sideric or rubic horison of weathering or iron accumulating. Morphologicaly they are similar to brown forest soil but soil forming process is slightly different, their parent material is always a sand and they are much less fertile.
- Type 4.1 "Rusty soils" (Polish: Gleby rdzawe; WRB: Brunic or Albie Brunic Arenosol (Dystric), Brunic Endogleyic Arenosol; ST: Typic or Spodic or Oxiaqic Udipsamments)
This order covers soils where clay leaching by snowmelt or rainy water leeds to develop eluvial horizon (luvic) from which clay has been leached and illuvial horizons (argic) in which clay has been deposited. Parent material may be from loamy sand to clay.
- Type 5.1 "Brown forest podzolic soils" (Polish: Gleby płowe; WRB: Albic or Haplic or Stanic or Gleyic or Lamelic or Vertic Luvisol; ST: Typic or Arenic or Aquic or Oxyaquic or Mollic or Psammentic or Lamelic or Glossic or Vertic Hapludalfs)
- Type 5.2 "Streak brown forest podzolic soils" (Polish: Gleby płowe zaciekowe; WRB: Haplic or Stagnic or Gleyic or Cambic Albeluvisol; ST: Typic or Arenic or Aquic or Oxyaquic or Haplic or Glossaqiuc or Vertic Glossudalfs)
- Type 5.3 "Wet brown forest podzolic soils" (Polish: Gleby płowe podmokłe; WRB: Gleyic Luvisol; ST: Typic or Umbric or Mollic Endoaqualfs, Typic Argialbolls)
That order groups all soils where main soil developing process was podzolisation, spodic horizon is diagnostic for that group.
- Type 6.1 "Podzolic soils" (Polish: Gleby bielicowe; WRB: Haplic or Orsteinic or Gleyic Podzol; ST: Typic or Oxyaquic or Aquic Haplorthods, Spodic Udipsamments, Humaqueptic Psammaquents, Typic Duraquods, Typic or Umbric or Histic Endoaquods)
- Type 6.2 "Podzols" (Polish: Bielice; WRB: Albic Podzol, Albic Orstenic or Stagnic or Gleyic Podzol; ST: Typic Haplohumods, Spdic Udipsamments, Typic or Oxyaquic Haplorthods, Humaqueptic Psammaquents, Typic Duraquods, Typic Epiaquods, Typic Endoaquods)
This order includes all soils with deep humus horizon, acumulated in both: wet or dry conditions. They are usually fertile, there is predominance of humin acids and presence of organic-mineral connections.
- Type 7.1 "Chernozems" (Polish: Czarnoziemy; WRB: Calcic or Haplic or Luvic or Stagnic Chernozem; ST: Typic or Cumulic or Entic or Aquic Hapludolls)
- Type 7.2 "Black soils" (Polish: Czarne ziemie; WRB: Gleyic or Gleyic Calcic or Luvic Chernozem, Gleyic or Haplic or Luvic Phaeozem; ST: Typic or Cumulic Endoaquolls)
- Type 7.3 "Chernozemic rendzinas" (Polish: Rędziny czarnoziemne; WRB: Rendzic Phaeozem; ST: Typic or Inceptic Haplrendolls)
That order groups all soils built of organic material (>12–18% organic carbon), mainly acumulated in wet conditions.
- Type 10.1 "Peat fibric soils" (Polish: Gleby torfowe fibrowe; WRB: Fibric or Fibric Hemic or Limnic Fibric Histosol; ST: Typic or Hemic or Limnic Haplofibrists)
- Type 10.2 "Peat hemic soils" (Polish: Gleby torfowe hemowe; WRB: Hemic or Sapric Hemic or Fibric Hemic or Limnic Hemic Histosol; ST: Typic or Sapric or Fibric or Limnic or Fluvaquentic or Terric Haplohemists)
- Type 10.3 "Peat sapric soils" (Polish: Gleby torfowe saprowe; WRB: Sapric or Fibric Sapric or Hemic Sapric or Limnic Sapric Histosol; ST: Typic or Hemic or Limnic or Fluvaquentic or Terric Haplosaprists)
- Type 10.4 "Organic detritus soils" (Polish: Gleby organiczne ściółkowe; WRB: Folic or Folic Leptic Histosol; ST: Typic or Lithic Udifolists)
- Type 10.5 "Organic limnic soils" (Polish: Gleby organiczne limnowe; WRB: Limnic or Hemic Limnic Histosol; ST: Limnic Haplohemists)
- Type 10.6 "Organic mucky soils" (Polish: Gleby organiczne murszowe; WRB: Fibric Sapric or Hemic Sapric or Sapric or Limnic Sapric Histosol (Drainic); ST: Muck Haplofibrists)
Sizes of soil particles and texture of soil material are very similar to USDA classification. It makes possible correlating results of particle size analysis of soils described using USDA and Polish Soil Classification systems.
Name of soil separate
Diameter limits (mm)
less than 0.002
more than 600.00
^Names of soil types are literally translated from Polish and can not be considered as an official. In other publications may be translated differently. Names of orders are cited by Polish Soil Classification.
^"Haplic Regosol (Dystric) or (Dystic, Folic)" means "Haplic Regosol (Dystric) and Haplic Regosol (Dystic, Folic)"; "Haplic or Stagnic or Endogleyic or Vertic Cambisol" means "Haplic Cambisol, Stagnic Cambisol, Endogleyic Cambisol and Vertic Cambisol". This is a way to write it shorter.