Note the following gradations of terms for moisture and compaction that are used to describe soil conditions. Soil textures should use USDA terminology as estimated by feel method during the digging process.


Terminology for soil moisture from dry to wet as determined by visual analysis and feel

Dry – soil will not hold together after being crushed
Damp – soil will marginally hold together when crushed
Moist – soil can be formed into a ball
Wet – soil sticks together and will stick to the hand
Saturated – free water observed on the soil


Terminology for soil density from loose to solid as felt during the angering process. Note that dry soils can “feel’ compacted, while compacted soil can “feel” soft when moist.  The presence of roots is a better indication of compaction below root limiting levels.

Loose – auger easily penetrates the soil
Soft – auger penetrates the soil with moderate effort
Firm – auger requires strong push to penetrate the soil
Hard – auger requires maximum pressure to penetrate the soil
Refusal – auger refuses to penetrate the soil

I recommend using the following codes and template. (you can download the template and notes as a Word document here).

Moisture Code: 

Dry: DR
Damp: DP
Moist: MO
Wet: WT
Saturated: SA

Density Code:

Loose: LS
Soft: SF
Firm: FM
Hard: HD
Refusal: R