The effects of urban development write a profound signature on the landscape. Soils are inevitably compacted and regraded or paved over. We have developed techniques that can remediate these degraded soils and provide a long-term solution towards creating a sustainable landscape post construction. When paving is not involved, we developed the ‘Scoop and Dump’ method soil remediation and have followed its effects over 12 years of practice, measuring soil health and plant growth over the long term. Briefly, it involves incorporating significant volumes of compost with a backhoe to create veins of compost for root growth and drainage in previously compacted soil. Moreover, this compost injection feeds the microorganisms which aid in soil aggregate formation the release of nutrients. This low impact solution to improving degraded soils holds real promise to help green the urban environment.
Nina Bassuk has been a professor and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University for the past 38 years. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Urban Forestry Council and is co- author of 'Trees in the Urban Landscape”, a text for landscape architects and horticultural practitioners on establishing trees in disturbed and urban landscapes.