What is Soil Compaction?
The term soil compaction refers to a state of the soil. That will happen when its particles are pressed together by external forces, making it hard for your grass, shrubs, plants, and trees to absorb the nutrients and water they need. Also, compacted soil is a poor environment for the microorganisms that work with plant roots. Over time, anything that is living in compacted soil may decline in health and eventually die.
Effects of Soil Compaction
You will know when the soil is compacted because it slows water infiltration, you will see water ponding, high surface runoff, and soil erosion. Here are the main consequences of a packed down soil:
- Diminishes the ability of plants to absorb nutrients and water
- Decreases aeration, which inhibits root respiration
- Impedes root growth and limits root expansion
- Generates nitrogen and potassium deficiencies
- Causes erosion, leading to severe soil loss
How to Avoid or Fix Compacted Soil in Your Yard
The leading causes of compaction include rainfall, improper mulching, tillage operations, limiting crop rotation, and heavy wheel or foot traffic. Once the soil is compacted, it is very challenging to reverse. Don’t let this happen to you. Here is a list of things you can do to avoid it or fix it.
- Aerate the soil
- Let the soil dry out before you walk on it
- Apply compost to your ground, don’t till it
- Don’t stand or walk in your garden beds
- Install steppingstones or garden make paths
- Mulch around shrubs and trees to improve soil structure
- Add worm castings or organic compost, but apply them more deeply: six inches thick or more
- And last but not least, plan construction projects carefully to avoid high foot traffic and heavy wheel traffic
If you have any additional questions related to soil compaction, or you are interested in one of the landscaping supplies, contact All Around Soil & Stone. We offer one of the best soil mixes, mulches, sand & gravel, stones, and other products for your landscape areas.