Iowa Stormwater Education Program

Soil Quality Restoration

Healthy soil is the key to preventing polluted runoff. As buildings and houses are built topsoil is removed and the remaining subsoil is compacted by the grading and construction activity. The owner is left with heavily compacted subsoil, usually with a high clay content and little organic matter after construction is complete.

Contrary to popular belief, lawns with good soil quality reduce the need for watering and minimize the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Healthy turfgrass in good soil has a deeper root system that can better withstand summer dry spells and ward off pest infestations without the addition of chemicals. Yards with poor, compacted soil contribute to water quality problems due to their inability to absorb water or infiltrate it to the roots of turfgrass. Compacted soil also requires more fertilizers and pesticides, both of which could end up in runoff and contribute to pollution in our local creek and streams.

Soil quality restoration is the process of improving soil health on new or existing lawns. It is so simple - start by reducing soil compaction through tillage or aeration and increasing organic matter content with the addition of compost. Soil quality restoration leads to healthier, more functional soils and to landscapes that can absorb more rainfall.

Click on Design Details and the links to the right to learn more about establishing a new lawn after construction or improving an existing lawn.

List of labs that conduct soil analyses:


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