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Am I ready to call a Soil Consultant? Getting Ready Part 2

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

The process of starting a rural development project is multifaceted and may take some time. So Part 2 of the Getting Ready series takes a quick look at how a soil consultant views property conditions, and potential delays that can result from weather and site conditions.

Property Conditions

Soil Consultants may spend a fair amount of time performing office duties, but are primarily outdoor professionals who experience all sorts of weather and property conditions during the course their fieldwork assignments. However, steady rain, heavy snowfall, and deeply frozen ground all have the potential to delay a perc test.

While inclement weather can be avoided by selecting the best days for operation outdoors, existing property conditions can range from easy to work on, to nearly impossible, since having at least partially visible land surface contours and line-of-sight for establishing contour elevations are of key importance during a site and soil evaluation.

Some property conditions that your soil consultant may find challenging or nearly impossible for the performance of fieldwork include: very dense growth, such as expansive thickets of brush and brambles; dense evergreen undergrowth and young trees, such as young holly and cedar thickets; or properties that were cleared 5 to 10 years ago and have been colonized by a thicket of young deciduous trees – this is less of an issue during winter, but very thick growth, even without leaves, can present a physical barrier to movement and a line-of-sight obstacle. Additionally, properties that have recently been partially cleared or have experienced mass tree die-offs may present visual barriers and possibly significant tripping hazards if tree trunks and debris cover much of the area.

Clearing thick vegetation

Your soil consultant is familiar with tree limbs getting in the way regularly and hopping over logs during the course of their day, but sometimes greater obstacles need to be cleared.

Clearing away some vegetative growth can be of great benefit to the soil consultant prior to the site evaluation, but for larger properties, it can be difficult to know what areas should be cleared and it can be helpful to speak with your builder and your soil consultant if you feel that the area in the vicinity of your proposed building site is very thickly vegetated. Above, mountain laurel and small trees have been cleared from a drainfield site.

As clearing activities are expensive, and can be a gamble prior to locating a suitable drainfield site, clearing in advance should be performed only when it is obvious that the plant growth completely obscures sight lines, large areas of the ground surface, and / or makes negotiating the site extremely difficult.

Sometimes, the soil evaluation can take place as a partial site and soil evaluation, in order to vet an area as worthy of clearing, then the area can be cleared so that the remainder of the site evaluation can be completed. Tour our website and blog for more related information.

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