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Why Do It
Soil Quality Restoration is a way to improve the water storage and treatment capacity of soils which have been stripped and/or compacted. Healthy soils have a high capacity to store rainwater, in addition to supporting vigorous plant and microbial life that will break down and utilize certain stormwater pollutants. The benefits extend well beyond stormwater treatment, as restored soils typically support lush lawns and healthy landscape plants.
In South Portland, Soil Quality Restoration is among the recommended approaches to meet Basic or Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan permit requirements. It is also an excellent option for those who are not pursuing a stormwater permit, but simply want to improve their home or small business grounds.
Soil Quality Restoration uses a combination of soil testing, moderately deep plow tillage, and compost amendment to achieve at least 5% soil organic matter and 40% porosity.
Soil Quality Restoration is ideal for urban or suburban soils which have been stripped, compacted, or otherwise degraded in the past. The resulting soil profile (approximately 6 to 8 inches deep) will need to be entirely above the seasonal high groundwater table. Avoid buried utilities, septic systems, or other underground hazards.
Design and Installation
Soil Quality Restoration can be designed and installed with ordinary landscaping equipment. Soil tests will be required to plan and document success. A small tractor may be needed for tilling the soil. Rototilling is not recommended because it does not achieve the required depth. Most landscaping firms would be able to assist with or provide this service.
The site should be monitored after restoration to ensure no erosion is occurring and plants become fully established. Long-term maintenance preserves organic matter content by leaving lawn clippings on the yard to decompose and recycle nutrients and organic matter. The site must be protected from compaction by preventing vehicle and heavy foot traffic.