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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 20, Issue 2 — March 1994

Soil Compaction on Heavily Used Sites    (View PDF)

Phillip J. Craul

Abstract: Compaction of soil is a detrimental result of heavy human use of a site. The destruction of the associated vegetation is an accompanying feature. Soil compaction commonly causes reduced water infiltration, loss of pore space and increased soil density, decreased waterholding capacity, reduced aeration, increased mechanical impedance to root growth with concomittant decrease in nutrient uptake, and reduction in soil microorganism activity. Amelioration of soil compaction under existing vegetative cover, especially trees, is difficult without some injury to the root systems. Some standard methods of surface soil aeration exist that can be applied to turf and some tree areas, but amelioration of compacted subsoils is very difficult in most cases. For existing trees and their root systems, radial trenching appears to be a promising technique for compaction amelioration.

Keywords: Soil compaction, bulk density, infiltration, soil crusting, root penetration, heavy use site.

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