Soil is wonderful stuff, humbly underfoot, made up of minerals, air, water and microscopic life. When your soils are teeming with life your plants will probably want to live there too.

Australian soils have relatively low concentrations of nutrients, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. Overusing fertilisers leads to excessive soil nutrient build up that will promote weed growth, reduce the health and growth rate of native plant species, and contribute to the development of blue-green algal blooms in waterways and dams.

Modifying our land

This includes:

  • Bringing soil and fill onto the property
  • Cutting, filling, clearing and excavating

Modifications to the land could cause:

  • Soil erosion and silt in waterways
  • Nutrient leaching and water pollution
  • Weed invasion

Legal requirements

Landowners are required to obtain Council development approval for activities which can have a significant effect on the environment and then must provide adequate management of the modifications. This includes importing, exporting or moving fill.

What can we do?

Minimise erosion:

  • Minimise land clearing
  • Install silt fencing around disturbed areas
  • Bring in only clean compatible soils
  • Remediate disturbed soil with local native vegetation as soon as possible

Build good soils:

Encourage   groundcovers Minimise   disturbance of the soil, which causes carbon loss
Build   organic matter with mulch or native grasses Minimise   compaction and overgrazing
Reduce   use of chemicals Use organic   fertilisers, manure or compost where needed

Further information

NSW Government Primary industry:

Hornsby Shire Council:

Hunter Central Rivers CMA:


Download this information as a brochure here and for some soil background see our Know Your Soils article