Following the success last October of the inaugural soils conference organised by soil scientist and landscape consultant Tim O’Hare, SoilsCon 2016 on Wednesday, 5th October, will provide landscape architects, housebuilders, developers, engineers and landscape contractors with practical knowledge, ideas and solutions for the successful use and management of soils.
The impressive line-up of seven respected industry speakers promises another full day of professional development, discussion and networking. This year the conference will focus on the common problems that occur and the mistakes made across the industry with regards to soil use. The talks are intended to provide up-to-date knowledge, practical ideas and solutions in the areas of soil management, selection, specification, manufacture, contamination and analysis.
1. Soil compaction - the biggest issue with landscape soils
Tim O’Hare, Principal, Tim O’Hare Associates
Tim's presentation will look at the problems caused by soil compaction, which is a major issue on nearly all construction sites and something that is still not dealt with properly in many landscape schemes. It will go on to set out the soil management practices and equipment required to deal with these issues, covering the correct methods of topsoil stripping and storage, soil depths, tree pit details, and the reinstatement of soils once re-spread.
2. Tree root and soil systems - what is going on beneath our feet?
Luke Fay, Managing Director and Senior Arboricultural Consultant, Treework Environmental Practice
Luke will consider how trees interact with the soil to draw out required water and nutrients and remain stable, and what happens when this goes wrong or is disrupted. In examining this complex system he will explore tree root growth patterns and architecture and the essential relationships between tree roots and soil structure, micro-biology and chemistry, as well as the impact of damage such as soil compaction on these invisible, below-ground systems and how they can manifest in the visible, above-ground parts of the tree.
3. Designing with soils
Andy Sturgeon, Principal, Andy Sturgeon Design
Andy will draw on his experience as an award-winning landscape designer to emphasise the importance of fully understanding the project soils, designing planting schemes that utilise what they have to offer and being fully aware of the consequences for the client and the designer of failing to spot contamination or inferior soils being brought to site.
4. Understanding manufactured topsoil
Andy Spetch, National TOPSOIL Manager, British Sugar TOPSOIL
Andy will discuss the process of manufacturing sustainable topsoils, the benefits to developers and contractors of using BS3882:2015 certified topsoil, the importance of obtaining detailed analysis and ensuring soils meet the project design specification, and the issues that arise when they don’t.
5. Contaminated land - clean cover systems
Richard Brinkworth, Director, Leap Environmental
A common solution for the ever increasing number of developments on brownfield land is to provide an engineered ‘clean cover’ system over contaminated soils. The engineering part of the system, however, isn’t always given due consideration within landscape schemes, leading, in some cases, to unserviceable gardens. Using case studies of the good, the bad and the ugly, this talk will explain what a cover system is, highlight the common pitfalls and outline the means of designing successful cover systems.
6. Wildflower grasslands - a soil scientist's perspective
Tim White, Senior Associate, Tim O’Hare Associates
Tim will provide an introduction to the main types of semi-natural (and not so natural) wildflower grasslands and the principal properties of their associated soils. He will consider the substrates suitable for the creation of new grasslands and the options for soil management to assist the process. The need to match species/seed mixes to soil types will also be discussed.
7. Maintaining the landscape from the roots up
Alistair Bayford, Regional Operations Director – Strategic Business, The Landscape Group
Using case studies such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Jubilee Park, Alistair will look at the role of maintaining soils after a major construction project and make the case for considering the maintenance of designed landscapes at the planning and design stage.