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Sustainable Human and Ecological Development (SHED)

Amending Urban Soils for Compaction Mitigation

Vehicle traffic and vibrations, along with alternating wet and dry conditions during site grading and home construction often leaves highly compacted soils in areas intended for landscaping. Fill soil brought in to raise the lot elevations for drainage is often absent of organic matter and nutrients, no resemblance to the native soil profile. Slower infiltration, higher bulk densities, and less pore space, results in shallow roots, limited water holding capacity, and landscapes vulnerable to drought and disease that tend to need more frequent watering. We are investigating the value of amending compacted urban soils with organic material to accelerate the soil redevelopment process. We are particularly interested in the potential for reducing irrigation and stormwater runoff. We have partnered with On Top of the World, an active adult community in Ocala, FL. Multiple phases are on-going with several collaborators from across UF IFAS. Eventually, we hope to have sufficient data to support a recommendation for mitigating compacted soils and managing their long-term health for more sustainable landscapes.