Not often we get soils so poor here in the Northeast that all they'll grow is lichen! But I think this open area used to be a claypit. In any case, dig down anywhere in this part of the coastal plain & you get this impenetrable red mineral clay. I know from personal experience: my family moved into a new housing development in a nearby town when I was a kid, & there was no topsoil at all. This is what our yard looked like, minus the lichen.
ID help welcome.