Soil resource inventory through characterization provides an insight into the potentials and limitations of soils for agricultural production. However, a detailed study on soil resources characterization based on the understanding of the soil system are not available at Dugda district. With the cognizance of this fact, the present study was conducted to characterize the morphological and physicochemical properties of soils, classify the soils according to World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) of Argo-Gedilala Subwatershed in Dugda District of Oromia Regional State, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Four slope classes were considered and one pedon was opened for each and described in the field on a standard description sheet for each slope category. Soil samples were collected from genetic horizons of each pedon for laboratory analysis of the selected physicochemical properties of the soils. The soils were classified into different Reference Soil Groups following the (WRB).The soil analysis result showed the textural class was predominantly clay both in the surface and subsurface layers. The pH values of the pedons revealed neutrality to moderate alkalinity (6.84 – 7.98) throughout the profiles.The organic carbon (OC) content of the study area ranged from low to medium/moderate (0.64 to 1.83%). Total nitrogen (TN),available.phosphorus (Av.P), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and percent base saturation (PBS) of the soils were in the range of (0.066-0.135%), (2.24-4.81 mgkg-1), (39.52-43.52) cmol(+)kg-1) and ( 77.57- 89.8%), respectively. Accordingly, they were rated as low to medium, very low to low, high to very high and high to very high, respectively. The soil classification revealed that pedon 1 and pedon 2 were Cambic Chernic Phaeozems (Pantoclayic, Humic, Hypereutric); and pedon 4, Cambic Chernic Phaeozem (Pantoclayic, Humic); whereas, pedon 3 is found to be a kind of Luvic Phaeozem (Abruptic, Albic, Clayic, Differentic, Hypereutric). The soils of the study area had low organic matter, available P and total nitrogen content, which can be seen as production constraints of all cultivated lands. To overcome the identified limitations, increasing the organic matter levels through continuous application of manure.
Keywords: Genetic horizons, morphological properties, Pedon, physicochemical properties, Slope