Soil media helps turn neglected site green again
Forced into foreclosure in 2009, a 2.7-acre home development site sat abandoned in rural Alabama, near Tallassee. The neglected site was heavily eroded and nearly devoid of grass or vegetation. It did not go unnoticed when the untouched site began to wash away, and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management pressed its owner for site stabilization.
Contractor Hunter Bruce, P.E., the owner of SpreadRite LLC, turned to Mark S. Theisen, Profile Products’ vice president of business development and engineered products, for help in finding a fast, cost-effective and sustainable solution. The process began with soil testing through Profile’s Soil Solution Software (PS3). The results showed that the mix of sand, clay and loam had a host of problems, including 1.0% average organic matter and an acidic 5.3 pH—nearly inhospitable for effective vegetation cover. Theisen turned to the wide range of cutting-edge solutions in Profile’s product line.
ProGanics Biotic Soil Media (BSM), an advanced Engineered Soil Media, was the cornerstone of the restoration plan. Made to sustain vegetation in near-impossible conditions, the patent-pending topsoil alternative accelerates the development of depleted soils/substrates with low organic matter, low nutrient levels and limited biological activity. Bruce began restoring the site, grading deep gullies on March 19, 2015, and applying ProGanics BSM on March 25.
“If this job would have happened before ProGanics, we would have trucked dirt in,” said Bruce. “Good, clean topsoil can be expensive and hard to come by.”
More than 100 truckloads, each carrying 15 cu yards of dirt, would have been required to cover the site with 4 in. of topsoil over four or five days. That could have cost more than $23,000 for soil and compost and $21,000 for transportation and installation. Instead, it just took one day for ProGanics BSM to deliver thermally refined bark and wood fibers with a proprietary blend of biopolymers, biochar, seaweed extract, humic acid, endomycorrhizae and other beneficial ingredients. The use of ProGanics not only saved time and more than $44,000 in material costs, but also improved site safety by reducing traffic and dust around the restoration site.
Results were quick and dramatic. By April 17, just three weeks after installation, vegetation establishment was well underway.
“It’s almost crazy to say that after one month, we achieved 100% stabilization,” said Bruce. “There’s no way this site would be growing the way it is without ProGanics.”
Of course, the ProGanics BSM didn’t act alone. Theisen’s plan also included ProPlus NeutraLime, BioPrime and JumpStart. The NeutraLime quickly neutralized the soil pH; BioPrime and JumpStart provided immediate, slow-release nutrients while augmenting the soil’s biological content with ProGanics.
After their application, slopes were covered with ProMatrix Engineered Fiber Matrix (EFM) for quick seed germination and vegetation establishment. At 60 lb per 100 gal of water, ProMatrix is the highest-loading formulation with proven BFM performance. Its proprietary dispersion granules facilitate even distribution of the fibers and chemistry to ensure smooth slurry pumping and shooting.
Flatter areas were covered with wheat straw mulch and anchored in place with Profile Tornado Tack ST-1000. Composed of patented interlocking, biodegradable fibers and porous ceramic reinforcement particles, the high-loading Tornado Tack further reduced overall project time with higher loading and twice the coverage of conventional mulch.
It was a winning combination. By mid-May 2015, the cool-season grasses were kicking in, growing high and thick for dense site coverage. The site’s owner and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management wanted the quickest possible results and notice of termination, which they were able to secure by May 27.
“Profile is a leader for a reason,” said Bruce. “Whenever it’s dead-set, got to happen now, like this site was, I turn to Profile.”