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Soil Surveys

This guide will help you find printed or online county and state soil surveys.

County & State Soil Surveys

For assistance using the Web Soil Survey, read the USDA's Getting Started with Web Soil Survey instructions or contact Pendergrass Library.

For the print collection of State Soil surveys at Pendergrass Library, they are cataloged and shelved in three main classes that depend on the year the survey was published. These classes are:

  • Report year
  • No.-year
  • County-State

Use this chart to see how different soil survey years are shelved in Pendergrass Library and cataloged in One Search:


Call Number

Shelved by

Title Search

System Number





Field Operations of the Bureau of Soils






Soil Survey Washington D.C.






Soil Survey Washington D.C.


All States and counties on one record



County -state

Soil Survey Tennessee *or the state you are looking for.

Various system numbers for each state

Each county/state has individual records.

Islands-all dates






See our list of Tennessee Soil Surveys by County for holdings at Pendergrass Library.

Search tip: Because of the variations in titles, publishers and the changes over time, please use multiple search terms, like "soil survey report" or "soil survey reports" or "soil survey of...(fill in county, state)" or "soil survey of...(fill in the state)."
Contact Isabella Baxter for downloadable data for the Tennessee Soil Survey.

Soil Surveys Search Tips

Surveys are published and bound in multiple ways. There is no easy way to look at them all in the catalog or in the stacks. Please use multiple searches and always contact Pendergrass Library if you can't find what you are looking for. 

Where bound separately (usually years 1938-), the soil surveys are not shelved according to their call number cutter (which includes a year designation). Instead, they are shelved within the call number in alphabetic order by State, and within state by County. In searching for bound volumes, remember that the date the soil survey was issued is not always the same as the date that is used on the spine of the bound volume.

It is not always possible to determine from the online catalog whether a survey has been completed for a particular county/state. Instead, check the NRCS List of Printed Soil Surveys by State for an updated list. Not all counties have completed survey projects and so will not yet have published soil surveys. Ask for help if you do not find what you need.

Survey Access Updates

A recent development is the publishing of soil surveys, geospatial data, and maps online. As of September 2019, nearly all Tennessee counties have their  most recent soil surveys online. In addition, digital geographic data for Knox County, TN, can be found at


Soil survey information is regularly updated and posted to the Web Soil Survey, which is the official source for current information. The Web Soil Survey provides both tabular and spatial data and allows you to create a custom soil resource report for your specific area of interest.

Links and Additional Information

Helpful NRCS/USDA Resources:

An article for novice searchers, librarians, or experts to review

Tips from the Experts: Soil Surveys -- They're Not Just for Farmers Lorraine J. Pellack

Obtain a published TN soil survey by mail by writing to:

State Soil Scientist
675 US Courthouse
801 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
615.277.2550 voice
615.390.1507 mobile

855.591.1284 fax