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Introduction to Soils




Andy Moffat

6 hours

Places Available

1 day ( 9.00 - 16.30 approximately) 

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

Course Objectives:

• Identify the major types of soil likely to be encountered in arboricultural practice

• Understand the importance of good soil husbandry for trees

• Understand the relationship between soils and tree rooting, and consequences for building subsidence

• Specify appropriate manufactured soils for different arboricultural uses

• Describe basic forms of soil analysis and when and why these are necessary

• Explain particular soil problems associated with urban trees and how to remedy them

• Articulate the risks associated with soil work and how to mitigate them

• Identify sources of further good quality information


This course entitles you to CEU's see this link 

Course Content:

• Introduction – what is soil?

  •  Importance of soil for tree prosperity o How many soil types are there, what properties do they have and where are they?

• What is urban soil

  • What are urban soils made of? What makes them different.
  • What constraints to they pose on trees
  • Compaction – what is this and how important is it
  • Contamination - what is this and how important is it
  • Soils and tree rooting
  • Implications for soil provision and irrigation
  • Trees and subsidence related to soil type

• Soil evaluation and measurement

  • Field properties and how to explore them (Outdoor session)
  • Chemical parameters, including commentary on field kits and laboratory services
  • Physical parameters
  • Biological parameters

• Soil manufacture

  • How to do it - specifications
  • How to source materials
  • Special types of arboricultural soil: Amsterdam soil, Stockholm soil, CU soil
  • Importance of correct soil placement

• Soil problems and how to solve them

  • Soil waterlogging
  • Soil drought
  • Soil compaction. Role of Terralift / air spading
  • Soil infertility
  • Soil acidity
  • Role(s) for common/well publicised additives, e.g. Biochar, sugar injections, polyacrylamide gels, mulches, fertilisers

• Health & safety

  • Risks to health
  • Protective clothing and PPE
  • Handling soil and digging holes correctly
  • Indemnity insurance issues

• Sources of information on soil

  • BGS website
  • UK Soil Observatory (soil portal)
  • Soil consultancies and soil science accreditation
  • Laboratories and accreditation

• Summing up


Facilities/Equipment required

- Boots, outdoor clothing for all weathers

Course Materials provided

- Copies of lectures / presentations

- Comprehensive list of further information, sources of help and advice arranged by topic

- Web links to authoritative further information

- Notepad

- Pen



Arboricultural Association attendance certificate (CPD Points: 6)


Lunch and refreshments will be provided

Module Pre-requisites:


Terms of Cancellation or Amendments to details

  • We reserve the right to cancel courses and refund applicants if there is insufficient demand.
  • A FULL charge will be applied to any booking cancelled less than 10 working days before the event.
  • A £30 administration charge may be applied to changes made to bookings that have been received and acknowledged.

For all course bookings outside the UK and Europe, please email