A combination of native grasses and mulch to retain water will condition soil that has been compacted and degraded.
Vibrant soil is crucial to plant health. Soil microbes have a symbiotic relationship with plants – plants provide sugars to microbes and microbes make nutrients bio-available for plants. So by nurturing soil microbes, plants are nurtured, and nutrients and water become available to plants.
Plants produce complex organic molecules like sugars which they exude from their roots to encourage the microorganism populations that comprise a healthy soil. In turn, micro-organisms, by way of their complex ecology, release minerals that are already in the soil so that they are bio-available to plants. Microorganisms such as fungi with their extensive network of filaments, deliver water and nutrients from a wider area than the plant roots cover. These symbiotic relationships between microorganisms in the soil and the plants above are natural processes and will maintain themselves, provided they are not destroyed by excessive chemical or mechanical disturbance.