Reducing Soil Compaction to Improve Drainage

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Soil compaction is any process that compresses soil particles and reduces pore or air space between them. This process reduces or eliminates water infiltration and can cause runoff and erosion.

Plant roots may have a harder time penetrating the soil and may not get enough oxygen and nutrients. Soil compaction occurs in agricultural as well as urban landscapes.

Ways to Reduce Compaction

  • Avoid tilling wet soil
  • Keep construction equipment off of soils around tree roots
  • Avoid overworking the soil

Ways to Improve Compacted Soils

  • Add organic matter
  • Use mulches
  • Deep cultivation


Additional Resources:


Soil Compaction


Florida - Soil Compaction
North Carolina - Improving Your Soil


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.