What It Is: Soil compaction is hard, packed soil. Very compacted soil will be bare. Somewhat compacted soil will have thin vegetation, and grass growing in compacted soil will have weeds in it.
Why It Happens: Soil compaction is usually the result of actual pressure, as the name implies, either from something as innocuous as a lot of hard rains, or something as obvious as children or dogs stomping on it. Sports fields are infamous for having a soil compaction problem. Football or soccer teams stomp on them, and marching bands and cheerleaders stomp on them. Compacted soil areas are readily identifiable as bare areas around the inside of a fence where dogs constantly run, or under a swing set where children push with their feet to go higher and then jump off the swing, or areas that always seem to have standing water after a rain. Standing water and flooding can actually cause soil compaction, because the water squeezes all the oxygen out of the soil.
The composition of the soil also plays a role in compaction, as well as the water used to irrigate it. Clay soil tends to get more compacted than sandy soil, and water with a high sodium content can contribute to compaction. Sodium carries a positive charge, while clay has a negative charge. The positive charge of the sodium smashes the clay together. Unfortunately, one can find sodium in the irrigation water for golf courses or the city water you use to water your lawn.
Why It’s Bad For Your Grass: Compacted soil is a very poor medium for growing anything. Not only is it tough for the roots of anything to get into it, it’s unhealthy in other ways. Remember the bare spot under the swing set? It’s bare because nothing will grow there. Less serious cases of compaction are still unhealthy for grass. The sodium usually present in compacted soil competes with nutrients in a way that has your grass taking up sodium instead of magnesium, calcium and potassium.
How SoilTech Can Help: SoilTech aerates the soil, allowing it to loosen up so that grass can more easily grow into it and have a deeper, healthier root system. It removes the sodium to a point below the root zone, so that nutrients like magnesium, calcium and potassium are available to the grass. So, not only does SoilTech alleviate the compaction problem, it helps your grass use fertilizer more efficiently and stay greener longer.