The efficacy of three techniques to alleviate soil compaction at a restored sand and gravel quarry
Sinnett, D. , Poole, J. and Hutchings, T. (2006) The efficacy of three techniques to alleviate soil compaction at a restored sand and gravel quarry. Soil Use and Management, 22 (4). pp. 362-371. ISSN 0266-0032
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2006.00053.x
Reinstated soil at restored sites often suffers from severe compaction which can significantly impede root development. Several methods, such as ripping and complete cultivation, are available to alleviate compaction that may occur as a result of soil reinstatement. This paper examines the effectiveness of the industry standard industrial ripper and a prototype modern ripper, the Mega-Lift, in comparison with the recommended best practice method of complete cultivation. An investigation of the penetration resistance of the soil at a restored sand and gravel quarry was carried out using a cone penetrometer and a ‘lifting driving tool’ (dropping weight penetrometer) 3 years following cultivation. All the cultivation treatments reduced soil compaction to some degree compared with the untreated control. However, the penetration resistance values suggest that rooting would be restricted at relatively shallow depths in the plots cultivated using the industrial and Mega-Lift ripper; penetration resistance exceeded 2 MPa within the first 0.33 m. Complete cultivation maintained penetration resistance values of less than 2 MPa within the depth limit of the penetrometer of 0.42 m. In addition, the results from the ‘lifting driving tool’ indicate that soils treated using complete cultivation remained significantly looser than those treated with the ripper to a depth of at least 0.80 m. The results demonstrate that complete cultivation remains the most effective method of alleviating soil compaction on restored sites, although it is recognized that its relatively high cost may restrict the uptake of the technique.
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