Landscaping Soil Compaction Risks and Remedies

For any homeowner involved in regular landscaping or gardening efforts, soil is a top consideration to keep in mind. Soil plays a role in everything from plant nutrition and health to aesthetics and design elements in a given landscape, but there are also a few potential issues that may arise with soil that you’ll have to deal with.

At Utah Landscaping Rock, we’re proud to offer numerous decorative rock formats to aid with your landscaping efforts, including everything from boulders to various soil and sand needs, including topsoil delivery. One of the most common soil issues out there, and one we’re happy to provide expertise on, is known as soil compaction – let’s look at what soil compaction is, the impact it may have on your landscape, and how you can keep it from becoming an issue.

landscaping soil compaction risks remedies

Soil Compaction Basics

When you hear the term soil compaction, it refers to the current state of the soil in a given area of your landscape. Also known as saturated soil, soil compaction is most common during the early spring period we’re just about to enter.

Soil compaction takes place when external forces press soil particles together too closely. Soil that’s too compacted will make it difficult for various trees, shrubs, plants and grasses to absorb nutrients and water, and will also not do well with microorganisms involved with plant roots. Over a long enough time period, any plant life living in compacted soil can decline and eventually die.

Impact on Landscape

Here are some of the primary effects of soil compaction on a given landscaping effort:

  • Limits plant ability to absorb nutrients and water, limiting their lifespan and increasing disease risk
  • Creates water pooling, surface runoff and soil erosion
  • Generates deficiencies in nitrogen and potassium
  • Leads to decomposition due to loss of oxygen and pore space
  • Reduces earthworm populations, which in turn reduces rainwater infiltration and raises runoff and erosion risk
  • Creates surface crusting that promotes weed growth
  • Decreases aeration, limiting root respiration and growth

In many cases, you’ll notice soil compaction because it creates water pooling at the surface level of your landscape.

Soil Compaction Remedies

Some basic tips on avoiding or remedying soil compaction if it’s taking place on your landscape:

  • Allow for proper soil aeration regularly
  • Do not walk on wet or damp soil, and do not stand or walk in garden beds at all if possible
  • Install stepping stones and other stones for pathways and areas to avoid stepping on soil
  • Apply compost to the ground rather than tilling it
  • Mulch around shrubs and trees for increased soil structure
  • Add worm castings or organic compost at six inches deep or more

For more on how to avoid or remedy soil compaction in your landscape, or to learn about any of our landscaping rock supply options, speak to the staff at Utah Landscaping Rock today.

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