The horticultural soils of the Coachella Valley range from the very gravelly sands of Desert Hot Springs to the loams of the city of Indio.
Proper management of the desert’s most valuable resource, its groundwater, depends upon efficient irrigation practices and 3 of the most important factors affecting irrigation management: soil type, permeability rate, and stratified layers that determine rooting depths.
As a general rule it can be said that the soils are finer as you move down the alluvial fan, or floodplain, from the foothills into the valley lowlands, but the natural wandering course of the Whitewater River in conjunction with the silty lake deposits of ancient Lake Cahuilla complicate this simple generalization.
Frequent severe windstorms also contribute to the complexity of our soils by depositing windborne soil particles even further from their point of origin. The end result of our desert’s soil building process is a soil mix of such significant variation and complexity that a conscientious landscaper would be well advised to become familiar with our valley’s soil spectrum because of the soil’s role in landscape management.