JPA has added another service to its repertoire with the purchase of a soil compaction tester. The tester, otherwise known as a penetrometer, was aimed originally at helping farmers monitor the soil in arable land. Years of traffic and tillage can cause soil particles to group together and fill in air spaces in the soil, making it much harder to work and reducing crop yield by as much as 50 per cent because of poor root and plant development.

Soil compaction tester

The same rules apply to trees - compacted soil can prevent the vital shallow roots obtaining the nutrients, moisture and oxygen the tree requires for healthy growth. If a tree suffers from what is known as drought stress its growth will be hindered and it can become more susceptible to disease.

The kit will allow JPA to test for soil compaction around trees where, for example, there has been significant footfall or around retained trees on development sites that may not have been adequately protected during works. The tester allows you to take readings – measured in pounds per square inch (psi) - at varying soil depths from three to 18 inches, thus giving a clear picture of the extent of the problem. The results will enable us to recommend suitable remedial actions to improve the condition of the soil and promote better tree health.