Global Village Resource Conservation Practices Workshop Series

Soil compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing pore space between them. Heavily compacted soils contain few large pores, less total pore volume and, consequently, a greater density.

A compacted soil has a reduced rate of both water infiltration and drainage. This happens because large pores more effectively move water downward through the soil than smaller pores.

In addition, the exchange of gasses slows down in compacted soils, causing an increase in the likelihood of aeration-related problems. Finally, while soil compaction increases soil strength – the ability of soil to resist being moved by an applied force – a compacted soil also means roots must exert greater force to penetrate the compacted layer.

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