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Remediating Compacted Soils Compromised by Urban Construction

The effects of urban development write a profound signature on the landscape. Soils are inevitably compacted and regraded or paved over. We have developed techniques that can remediate these degraded soils and provide a long-term solution towards creating a sustainable landscape post construction. When paving is not involved, we developed the ‘Scoop and Dump’ method soil remediation and have followed its effects over 12 years of practice, measuring soil health and plant growth over the long term. Briefly, it involves incorporating   significant volumes of compost with a backhoe to create veins of compost for root growth and drainage in previously compacted soil. Moreover, this compost injection feeds the microorganisms which aid in soil aggregate formation the release of nutrients. This low impact solution to improving degraded soils holds real promise to help green the urban environment.

Nina Bassuk has been a professor and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University for the past 38 years. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Urban Forestry Council and is co- author of 'Trees in the Urban Landscape”, a text for landscape architects and horticultural practitioners on establishing trees in disturbed and urban landscapes. In addition, Dr. Bassuk has authored over100 papers on the physiological problems of plants growing in urban environments, including improved plant selections for difficult sites, soil modification including the development of 'CU-Structural Soil' and improved transplanting technology. Nina co-teaches a course at Cornell University titled “Creating the Urban Eden”, which integrates the woody plant identification and use with landscape establishment techniques for difficult urban sites. She is a frequent invited speaker at national conferences and workshops and recently received the Alex Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education from the International Society of Arboriculture. 

Co-sponsored by the TREE Fund

 

Created by Megan Dettenmaier

Primary Audience: Other Professionals