How to break up hard, compacted soil: 4 simple tips

Hard, compacted soil is difficult to work with. And that’s putting it lightly. To grow healthy, vibrant plants, you need loose soil that allows water to drain effectively and your roots to absorb nutrients and receive air.

But how do you loosen hard soil? We’re glad you asked. Here are some of the most common tips in the gardening community.

Limit foot traffic

Most gardeners aren’t going to let people walk all over their precious gardens — however, this doesn’t mean people won’t. And unfortunately, foot traffic can compact your soil.

Make sure your plants (and the soil they live in) are receiving as little foot traffic as possible. To do this, you can put up a cute picket fence or simply start your garden in a place away from pathways.

Aerate your lawn

There are many benefits of aerating your lawn or garden. But primarily, aeration loosens the soil and allows nutrients, water, and air to flow freely.

However, you must be careful. You don’t want to damage your plants, so it’s important that you use the right tool in the right way. For example, a garden is a bit different than a lawn. In this case, you’ll probably want to use a trowel. For your lawn, on the other hand, you could use a larger, walk-behind aerator.

Add organic matter

Organic matter seems to be a common theme amongst healthy soil articles, and that’s because it does a lot for your garden. And yes, it can even help break up hard, compacted soil.

However, organic matter isn’t an overnight solution. In this instance, you should be thinking in the long term. Another thing to note about adding organic matter to soil is that it can attract earthworms — which should only help break up your hard soil even more.

Use Ground Breaker

With the right product, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your plants can handle an aerator or how long it will take for ogranic matter to break up hard soil. Ground Breaker is a soil penetrant for lawns and gardens that works fast and can treat even the heaviest of compaction areas.

This innovative product is a heavy-duty, safe-for-your-plants soil penetrate that opens up the pores of the soil and makes it easier for plants to grow. It’s even dual-acting — which means it can treat both physical and chemical compaction.

If you’d like to learn more about Ground Breaker, check out this deep dive, and if you’d like to learn more about healthy soil, check out our learning center.

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