podzol or podzolic soil, member of a group of soils that are gray in color, have an ashy appearance, and extend immediately south of the tundra regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Although characteristically capped with an abundant surface accumulation of organic matter, these soils are often severely leached and highly acid. They are thus generally low in agricultural value, forests being their most common and practical coverage. South of the podzolic soils, prairie soils are sometimes found. These dark semipodzolic soils have unusual fertility owing primarily to a vegetative cover of grass rather than forest. They are generally leached free of carbonate but retain mineral fertility.