Authors: Lardner, TD; Worthington, TR; Braimbridge, MF; Vlahos, S; Tibbett, M


Cite As:
Lardner, TD, Worthington, TR, Braimbridge, MF, Vlahos, S & Tibbett, M 2011, 'Optimising soil physical properties for rehabilitation of mined land – effects of tine type on soil strength and root proliferation', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 153-162,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Deep ripping of mine floors after bauxite mining is standard practice carried out prior to overburden and topsoil return to alleviate the soil compaction caused by trafficking of heavy machinery. A field trial was conducted to compare the effects of deep ripping practices using straight and winged tines, with an unripped control, on the physical properties of regolith within three rehabilitated bauxite mine pits. The subsequent effect on root development was also assessed two years after deep ripping. Ripping reduced soil strength and increased root abundance and depth of root penetration, irrespective of the type of pit floor materials present. However, there was a contrast in tine performance depending on the materials being ripped. The winged tine produced significantly lower penetration resistance in more friable, sandy soils, while the straight tine outperformed the winged tine in heavier, more clayey soils. Despite the differences in soil strength reduction between tine types in these different materials, there was no corresponding difference in root proliferation. Provided that soil strength was reduced to a critical threshold (about 35 N or less) over a sufficient area, roots proliferate to a similar extent, regardless of whether there are zones of lower strength present. The benefits conferred by deep ripping appeared to be highly dependent on the physical properties of the soil materials present so the effects of deep ripping will not necessarily be consistent across all rehabilitation areas.

Ahmed, M.H. and Godwin, R.J. (1983) The influence of wing position on subsoiler penetration and soil disturbance, Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research, Vol. 28, pp. 489–492.
Ashby, W.C. (1997) Soil ripping and herbicides enhance tree and shrub restoration on stripmines, Restoration Ecology, Vol. 5, pp. 169–177.
Atwell, B.J. (1993) Response of roots to mechanical impedance, Environmental and Experimental Botany, 33,
pp. 27–40.
Bengough, A.G., McKenzie, B.M., Hallett, P.D. and Valentine, T.A. (2011) Root elongation, water stress, and mechanical impedance: a review of limiting stresses and beneficial root tip traits, Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 62, pp. 59–68.
Croton, J.T. and Ainsworth, G.L. (2007) Development of a winged tine to relieve mining related soil compaction after bauxite mining in Western Australia, Restoration Ecology 15 (supplement), pp. 48–53.
daSilva, A.P., Kay, B.D. and Perfect, E. (1994) Characterization of the least limiting water range of soils, Soil Science Society of America Journal, 58, pp. 1775–1781.
Dell, B., Bartle, J.R. and Tacey, W.H. (1983) Root occupation and root channels of jarrah forest subsoils, Australian Journal of Botany, Vol. 31, pp. 615–627.
Emerson, W.W. (2002) Emerson dispersion test, in N. McKenzie, K. Coughlan, and H. Cresswell (eds.) Soil Physical Measurement and Interpretation for Land Evaluation, CSIRO, Collingwood, pp. 190–199.
Gee, G.W. and Bauder, J.W. (1986) Particle size analysis, in A. Klute (ed), Methods of Soil Analysis (Vol 1): Physical and mineralogical methods, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, USA, pp. 383–412.
Godwin, R.J. (2007) A review of the effect of implement geometry on soil failure and implement forces, Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 97, pp. 331–340.
Godwin, R.J. and Spoor, G. (1977) Soil failure with narrow tines, Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research Vol. 22, pp. 213–228.
Kew, G.A., Mengler, F.C. and Gilkes, R.J. (2007) Regolith strength, water retention, and implications for ripping and plant root growth in bauxite mine restoration, Restoration Ecology, Vol. 15 (supplement), pp. 54–64.
Koch, J.M. (2007) Alcoa’s mining and restoration process in south Western Australia, Restoration Ecology Vol. 15 (supplement), pp. 11–16.
Lacey, S.T., Brennan, P.D. and Parekh, J. (2001) Deep may not be meaningful: cost and effectiveness of various ripping tine configurations in a plantation cultivation trial in eastern Australia, New Forests, Vol. 21, pp. 231–248.
McDonald, R.C. and Isbell, R.F. (1990) Soil Profile, in Australian soil and land survey field handbook, R.C. McDonald, R.F. Isbell, J.G. Speight, J. Walker and M.S. Hopkins (eds), Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 103–152.
Misra, R.K. and Gibbons, A.K. (1996) Growth and morphology of Eucalyptus seedling roots, in relation to soil strength arising from compaction, Plant and Soil, Vol. 182, pp. 1–11.
Moffat, A.J. and Boswell, R.C. (1997) The effectiveness of cultivation using the winged tine on restored sand and gravel workings, Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 40, 111–124.
Rayment, G.E. and Higginson, F.R. (1992) Australian Laboratory Handbook of Soil and Water Chemical Methods, Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Sinnett, D., Morgan, G., Williams, M. and Hutchings, T.R. (2008) Soil penetration resistance and tree root development, Soil Use and Management, Vol. 24, pp. 273–280.
Spoor, G. (2006) Alleviation of soil compaction: requirements, equipment and techniques, Soil Use and Management, Vol. 22, pp. 113–122.
Spoor, G. and Godwin, R.J. (1978) An experimental investigation into the deep loosening of soil by rigid tines, Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research, Vol. 23, pp. 243–258.
Szota, C., Veneklaas, E.J., Koch, J.M. and Lambers, H. (2007) Root architecture of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) trees in relation to post-mining deep ripping in Western Australia, Restoration Ecology, Vol. 15 (supplement),
pp. 65–73.
Tibbett, M. (2010) Large-scale mine site restoration of Australian eucalypt forests after bauxite mining: soil management and ecosystem development, in Ecology of Industrial Pollution, L.C. Batty and K.B. Hallberg (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 309–326.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to