“Why Bother, Nothing Grows Here Anyway…”
How we finish these projects will be seen for many years to come. A few simple principles can make a dramatic impact on the result. The ability to restore the land, as well as enhance or develop wildlife and pollinator habitat, are all possible within the reclamation process. The quality of the finished product could also have a positive impact on the public perception of the project.
Topsoil – Keeping the topsoil from mixing with the subsoil is paramount. There are a few different methods of ditching/trenching, but the importance of keeping the topsoil separated is key. Most of the organic matter is contained in the first several inches of topsoil. Keeping the topsoil and subsoil separate allows for a quicker establishment by not diluting the organic matter. This also prevents destroying the microbes that are contained in the topsoil, amongst many other factors.
Soil Compaction – This process can be challenging. As heavy equipment moves along the right of way during construction, the compaction can become so severe that it can restrict water infiltration through the soil contributing to poor vegetative performance. In most instances, light tillage prior to planting will help resolve this issue. Be sure to keep the topsoil and subsoil from mixing by tilling deeper than necessary. Following the tillage, roll or cultipack to create a firm, yet not compacted seedbed.