Planting Soils for Landscape Architectural Projects

Barrett L. Kays, FASLA: American Society of Landscape Architects - Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series (LATIS), 2013

Preface: Planting Soils for Landscape Architectural Projects has been prepared to assist landscape architects in understanding and applying scientific knowledge of soils in their design work. This publication will allow landscape architects to better understand all aspects of use of soils in landscape design; as well as in their collaboration with soil scientists, soil engineers, and soil testing laboratories. This publication will not transform all landscape architects into soil scientists, but will allow landscape architects to more fully understand the scientific concepts and better perform in collaborative teams in the technical analysis and design of both small and large landscape architectural projects.

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Clean Equipment Protocol for Industry: Inspecting and cleaning equipment for the purposes of invasive species prevention

Joe Halloran, Hayley Anderson, and Danielle Tassi: Peterborough Stewardship Council and Ontario Invasive Plant Council, April 2013

Preface: Invasive alien species are “a growing environmental and economic threat to Ontario. Alien species are plants, animals and microorganisms that have been accidentally or deliberately introduced into areas beyond their normal range. Invasive species are defined as harmful alien species whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, the economy, or society, including human health (Government of Canada 2004).” (Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan, 2012). The great majority of plant invasions occur in habitats that have been disturbed either naturally or by humans (Rejma´nek 1989; Hobbs and Huenneke 1992; Hobbs 2000).
The ecological effects of invasive species are often irreversible and, once established, they are extremely difficult and costly to control or eradicate. According to Pimental et al. (1999), invasive species in the U.S. cause economic and environmental damages totalling over $138 billion per year, with agricultural weed control and crop losses totalling approximately $34 billion per year. Exact figures for the total economic and environmental damages are not available for Canada.

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Characterization of Soil Carbon Pools Two Years after Urban Soil Rehabilitation

Yujuan Chen, Susan Day, Abbey Wick, P. Eric Wiseman, W. Lee Daniels: Poster at International Society of Arboriculture Annual Conference, 2010

Abstract: Urban forests create significant effects on landscape and regional scale carbon (C) storage, even global climate change. But land-use conversions have resulted in poor soil conditions for plant growth. Urban soil rehabilitation is often needed and understanding the dynamics of urban soil C will help define long-term effects of soil rehabilitation. An ongoing long-term soil rehabilitation experiment will be used to study the interaction of soil C and root growth. This experiment has four soil treatments (Undisturbed, Minimum Effort, Enhanced and Profile Rebuilding) and five tree species (Accolade Elm, Red Maple, Bur Oak, Swamp White Oak, and First Lady Cherry). Rehabilitated plots were pre-treated to replicate soil disturbance typical of urbanization. The aims of the new phase of this study are: (1) to compare the influence of rehabilitation treatments on urban soil C dynamics, including distribution in different C pools; (2) to evaluate rehabilitation treatments on long-term plant growth, in terms of photosynthesis, root growth, etc; and (3) to analyze effect of urban soil improvement practices on the relationship between soil C pool, efflux, availability and storage.

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Conversion of Potomac River Dredge Sediments to Productive Agricultural Soils

W. Lee Daniels, G. Richard Whittecar and Charles H. Carter III: Paper presented at 2007 National Meeting of American Society Of Surface Mining and Reclamation, June 2007

Abstract: River channel and harbor dredging activities in the eastern USA generate hundreds of millions of yards of dredge sediments annually with very little used beneficially. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project across the Potomac River at Washington D.C. generated in excess of 450,000 m3 of silt loam, high pH, low salt dredge spoils. The materials were barged to Shirley Plantation on the James River in Charles City Co. Virginia, and placed into an upland utilization area atop a previously reclaimed sand and gravel mine. The strongly reduced inbound sediments were very low in sulfides, pesticides, and other contaminants. The materials were dewatered, treated with varying rates of yardwaste compost and planted to wheat (Triticum vulgare) in the fall of 2001 and corn (Zea mays) in 2002 and 2003. Winter wheat yields in 2001 were similar to local agricultural lands despite animal damage and less than ideal establishment conditions. Average corn yields in 2002 were greater than long-term county prime farmland yields in a severe drought year (2002) and equaled county averages in a wet year (2003). Farmer measured yields in 2005 and 2006 remained at or above county averages. Soil pit and auger observations revealed significant oxidation and formation of a deep Ap-AC-C profiles with coarse prismatic structure within two years after placement. Overall, the chemical and physical properties of these materials are equal or superior to the best topsoils in the region, supporting federal initiatives to utilize suitable dredge materials in upland environments whenever possible.

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Diagnosing Soil Compaction Using a Penetrometer (Soil Compaction Tester)

Sjoerd W. Duiker: Pennsylvannia State University - College of Agricultural Research, 2002

Excerpt: Soil compaction is a serious concern for farmers in Pennsylvania. Soil compaction can easily reduce crop yields by 10 percent, and can lead to water and soil quality degradation due to increased runoff and soil structure destruction. The continuous consolidation of farms means that herds are growing, more forage is harvested per farm, more manure is being produced, larger equipment is used to spread manure and harvest and transport forages and grain, and the opportunity to tailor field operations to optimum soil conditions for traffic is decreasing. Compaction is therefore an issue that will likely increase in importance in the years to come.

There are two forms of compaction: surface and subsurface. While surface compaction can be partly alleviated with normal tillage operations, subsurface compaction below the normal tillage depth will remain. Fracturing or cutting subsurface compacted soil has, in some cases, resulted in remarkable yield increases. Many Pennsylvania producers suspect they have a subsurface compaction problem, but have no handle on how to measure it. A diagnostic tool to measure the extent and depth of subsurface compaction is a penetrometer, or soil compaction tester. This tool can help producers determine if subsoiling might be beneficial and at what depth the subsoiler should be set. Several companies sell penetrometers that are all based on the same technical specifications of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

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Soil Respiration: Soil Quality Kit - Guides for Educators: United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service

Excerpt: Soil respiration is a measure of carbon dioxide (CO2) released from the soil from decomposition of soil organic matter by soil microbes and respiration from plant roots and soil fauna. High soil respiration is not always better; it may indicate an unstable system and loss of soil organic matter (SOM) because of excessive tillage, or other factors degrading soil health. It can be measured by simple methods or more sophisticated laboratory methods. The amount of soil respiration is an indicator of nutrients contained in organic matter being converted to forms that are available to crops (e.g., phosphorus as PO4, nitrogen as NO3, and sulfur as SO4). Inherent factors that impact soil respiration, such as climate, cannot be changed. However, soil respiration levels can be managed using measures such as crop residue management, fertilizers, manure application, etc.

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Soil Rehabilitation Experiment Site At Kentland Farm, Virginia Tech

Poster by the Center for Sustainable Urban Landscapes at Virginia Tech

After land development and building construction, many new trees struggle and die, others grow slowly and never attain their full potential. Soil rehabilitation methods are needed to improve urban soil conditions and promote tree canopy growth.


• Can we restore valuable soil functions to damaged urban soils?
• How will each soil treatment influence soil properties, tree growth
and carbon storage?

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