The Underground

  • When plant tissue analysis won’t help
    by Simon Leake on October 21, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Plant tissue analysis is an extremely valuable tool for understanding nutrition problems and correcting imbalances to maximise yields. But there are times when it won’t help and may even give you the wrong advice.

  • Where did all the iron ore come from?
    by Simon Leake on October 20, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Banded iron formations in Karijini National Park, WA. Used under Creative commons Licence. Viewed from space, or even on the ground, much of Australia looks rusty. That’s because it is.

  • Why Waste it? Beneficial reuse of waste ​products
    by Simon Leake on October 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

    At SESL, we believe that waste materials, particularly soils and organic materials, have an intrinsic beneficial reuse value in our environment. Soils are created at a rate between 1-10mm per year based on global estimates, so therefore the removal of 300mm of soil from a site is the equivalent of rewinding the clock between 30-300 years. We don’t have the time required to wait for new soils to be created, so we must protect and reuse what we have. 

  • Reducing soil compaction with crumbed rubber
    by Simon Leake on October 16, 2019 at 3:00 am

    Soils can become compacted by heavy traffic, such as on sports fields. Different techniques are used to reduce the compaction, notably soil coring and admixture with gap-graded materials.

  • Revegetation of roadsides in Queensland – MRTS16
    by Simon Leake on October 15, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Hydro seeding emergence over reclaimed site soil. Revegetation of roadsides is an important final step in road construction. A poorly revegetated roadside is not only aesthetically displeasing, but it also cannot perform its essential functions of restricting weed growth, providing habitat for native species, reducing erosion and protecting water quality in local watercourses. Revegetation projects are typically undertaken with planting out and sowing of large areas of disturbed land. Government departments require civil engineers on road projects to minimise environmental impacts on land disturbed by construction works. A critical component of the approach is the recovery and reuse of site materials, including seed and soil. In Queensland, works on public roads need to follow the Main Roads Technical Specification (MRTS) 16 Landscape and Revegetation Works. As part of MRTS16B – Vegetation Ground Works, contractors are required to prepare a Planting Media Management Plan (PMMP) that includes management strategies for the reuse of site soil. The PMMP requires a soil assessment report detailing analysis, conformance with specifications, interpretation of the results, and recommendations for amelioration of both topsoil and subsoil. According to MRTS16, sampling and interpretation must be “carried out by a soil scientist with accreditation under the Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) scheme and / or a soil scientist eligible for accreditation and membership of the Australian Society of Soil Science Incorporated (ASSSI)”. By engaging an independent soil scientist, you can be sure of getting advice based on the needs of the site, rather that an opportunity to sell a particular products. Soil analysis must also be undertaken by a NATA-accredited laboratory. With professional scientists in Queensland, SESL Australia can undertake the sampling and analysis required, and provide the independent scientific advice and soil assessment report necessary for the PMMP. Through our Queensland office we are helping many contractors to ensure that their civil road projects comply with the MRTS group of specifications. SESL also offers a variety of other soil physical and chemical analysis for civil and road engineers. To discuss how SESL can help with your next road job or tender, contact the Queensland office at