Soil Compaction & Amendment
The compaction of soil is one of the leading causes of tree death, especially in urban environments. Soil compaction makes it extremely difficult for water and oxygen to reach the tree’s roots, due to the fact that the soil’s particles are pressed too tightly together. It can be a result of a tree growing in an area heavily trafficked both by humans and animals, an excessive amount of soil tillage, and erosion.
Soil compaction can be detected by the presence of malformed tree roots, discolored leaves, stunted growth, and standing water indicative of a drainage issue. An awareness of the soil density of a given area is important, as the denser the soil, the more difficult it is for roots to penetrate it. If the soil in a
particular area is hard to dig, regardless of whether it’s wet or dry, it’s likely a sign that it’s too dense for most tree growth.
If the amount of soil that needs to be removed is relatively small, than replacing it with a variety more conducive to growth is certainly an option. If the area being worked on is too large for this to be a viable option, then amending the poor soil with something that will allow for increased drainage and is below a limiting density may be considered. Inorganic matter such as sand and organic matter like peat moss and composted materials can be used for those purpose; however, be sure to employ the services of a professional when attempting a project of this size and specificity.