Loosening Compacted Soils on Mined Sites 

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Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative

Because successful surface-coal mining businesses must move earth materials efficiently, mining operations today use large and heavy equipment. Track dozers and haul trucks used for mining can weigh in excess of 100 tons each, while wheel loaders and loaded haul trucks often exceed 200 tons. It is becoming well known within the mining industry that successful reforestation of reclaimed sites requires loose and uncompacted surface materials, but some areas become compacted due to machinery operation, traffic, and storage that is necessary for the mining business to be successful. Trees require deep, loose mine soils to survive and grow into healthy, productive forests. Such forests can support viable forest-products’ businesses, protect the watershed, store carbon, and serve as wildlife habitat. This advisory describes procedures that can be used to loosen soils that have become compacted by mining equipment in order to restore land capability for forests.