Soil Quality Restoration

What is Soil Quality Restoration?

Soil quality restoration (SQR) is the process of improving soil health on new or existing lawns. The process uses tillage, aeration, and compost to increase infiltration and organic matter content. Soil quality restoration leads to healthier, more functional soils and landscapes that can absorb more rain and shed less runoff.

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Why Restore Soil Quality?

When new urban developments are built, grading activities and the removal of topsoil have created poor quality soils that are compacted and low in organic matter. Yards with poor soil quality require more time, money, water, and fertilizer to stay green and maintain a lush appearance.

Problems such as standing water, inability to mow after rainfall, patchy grass, and poor grass establishment are associated with poor soil quality. These soil conditions also contribute to water quality issues by shedding runoff during rainfall events, and by transporting pesticides, sediment, and fertilizer to nearby water bodies.

How Soil Quality Restoration Improves Lawns and Water Quality

Soil Quality Restoration reduces compaction, increases pore space in the soil, and improves organic matter content. This improves the heath and functionality of soils. Organic matter gives the landscape the ability to act like a sponge and absorb rain. Soils rich in organic matter also support entire ecosystems of beneficial organisms (microbes, worms, insects) that contribute to healthy lawns.

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Soil Quality Restoration in the Easter Lake Watershed

Soil quality restoration is by far the most popular rainscaping practice used. At about 20 cents a square foot, it is an inexpensive way to have a huge impact on water quality. In just a single year, a soil quality restoration implemented on a typical 1/4 acre lot can reduce thousands of gallons stormwater from running off an individual property.

Soil quality restoration is not only a great way to help minimize stormwater runoff off your property but will also help your lawn be fuller and richer green in color. Organic matter that is restored will provide lawns the nutrient they need without the use of fertilizer. The increased storage capacity in the soil will also mean there is more available water in the soil lessening the need for frequent watering.

As part of the Easter Lake Watershed Project, 75% cost-share is available to Easter Lake Residents. If interested in implementing a soil quality restoration, Contact the Easter Lake Watershed Coordinator .

Additional Resources

Find out more about soil quality restoration at Rainscaping Iowa’s website

Soil Quality Restoration Brochure

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