Soil compaction - how abate?

Asked August 27, 2018, 9:25 AM EDT


Trees in my yard are "puny." The dirt in my yard is so hard, i can hardly dig a hole. How abate this so my established trees can prosper?.

Champaign County Illinois

3 Responses

Your best strategy will be to add some organic matter usually in the form of a compost. You can turn this under into the soil. This should help to increase water intake and air exchange which can improve your soil. This should also help improve your trees vigor. If you find that even with adding compost that the trees are not doing well, then you might want to take a soil test to determine what your trees nutrient needs are. Here is a list of soil testing labs (

Grant M,

Compost is great. Thanks. with established lawn and tree roots in soil, how do i incorporate compost without killing the lawn and cutting tree roots. How much compost and how deep do i incorporate? Start how far from trunk and go out how far?



Hi Greg,

For the lawn, I would spread about half an inch but rake evenly so that the grass can still get light. For the trees, it will depend on if you have a mulch layer or not. If a mulch layer, try to get the compost underneath that layer so it can break down into the soil. If no mulch layer, add the compost evenly around the tree at a similar half an inch. Turning the compost slightly into the bare soil would be helpful but into the spring, it will break down. You could apply compost now and then do a 2nd application in the spring.