Adam Klaus wrote:Right now, I imagine you are dealing with compaction as the primary deterrent to plant growth. Ususally there is an ample seed bank laying dormant in the soil, so once your conditions are right, plants should germinate and grow on their own. Time will heal the compaction, particularly if you are in a region where freezing heaves the soil over winter. Sharing your regional location is very helpful for us to give the best possible advice, please do in your profile.
Michael Cox wrote:I think you need to resign yourselves to doing some immediate earth works to prevent more catastrophic erosion. Get some swales cut on the contour to intercept and slow the surface water runoff. You want the water to soak in to the soil rather than run on the surface.
Yes you may get some more compaction, but you will be saving your top soil and any remaining fertility. Compaction can be broken up by careful later plantings of deep rooted crops (daikon radishes spring to mind).
As for why there has been no regrowth - was this an old pine forest? I saw an area clear felled here in the UK where pine had been planted on a site of older deciduous woodland. It had previously been neglected and unmanaged so at the time of clear felling the woods were unthinned and incredibly dark. The seed bank had been almost wiped out by 50 odd years of total darkness and it took a long time for native species to start re-establishing.
Also, depending on the previous species planted there may be problems with aleopathic chemicals in the soils - some plants have hormones that prevent other seeds germinating to reduce the competition. Time and rainfall may help.
You can help get things moving by broadcast sowing some cover crop to stabilise the soil and add some organic matter and nutrients.