Topsoil or organic topsoil is known as the upper layer of a soil profile; this layer is usually darker in color (due to its excessive organic matter content) and more fertile than its counterpart (subsoil).
Topsoil is produced as a result of some natural biological and environmental processes. The depth of topsoil ranges from 5-20 cm (2-8 inches) deep and can be evaluated as the distance from the surface level to the subsoil. This layer is the strong base of most biological activity and because it consists of the highest concentration of microorganisms and organic matter, due to animal decomposition, plants, etc.
The primary elements of the topsoil composition are:
- Organic matter
- Mineral particles
The strength of the soil, including its bearing capacity, hinges on its skeletal form and reduces with the presence of organic matter. Water run-off leads to minerals from the topsoil layer moving down into the subsoil, which can result in some mineral shortage in the topsoil. This effect of this process is that roots have to go deeper to obtain nutrients. During construction, it is essential to remove the topsoil. Still, it should also be taking into consideration that by removing this layer, there will be an increase in the rate of erosion of soil minerals.
Construction activities can make organic matter present in the topsoil to compact and set in diverse ways, like roadbeds and foundations.
Topsoil is something all yard needs, but few people don’t have the appropriate knowledge of its use. Topsoil is the first phase of defense for sprouting plants and grass, including repelling herbivore pests. Having a clear understanding of the topsoil composition, and few of its best usage, is very crucial to keeping the health of your lawn and your garden, Including ensuring that it has the best appearance.
The Components of Topsoil
The topsoil layer is a significant part of all types of lawns and gardens because of its contents. Topsoil boasts of a large quantity of organic matter, including microorganisms. As Vegetables, plants, and a host of other organic matter withers, it gradually disintegrates, and the nutrients go back to the topsoil, which is its origin. Organic matter and microorganisms can hugely assist with growing and preventing bacterial that may cause problems with plants.
Other constituents present in the topsoil are sand, manure of several types, and tiny pieces of rocks and stones. The topsoil composition varies with location; it has various appearances and isn’t similar everywhere.
You can find topsoil at your local gardening center. Topsoil is often bought as a mixture of sand, clay, and silt. The disparity between the topsoil that you have in your home is that the topsoil found in gardening centers provides you with the correct percentages of what you can find per bag of topsoil. If you’re using this soil around your property, you’ll always discover that they are of an incorrect proportion. So, excavate a little amount of topsoil somewhere around your home and test it to determine what percentage of the diverse component is already in your soil. It’s as straightforward as visiting your local hardware store, getting a soil test kit, and adhering to the instructions. You’ll always be instructed to excavate a small hole in some parts of your yard you want to test, and then with the kit, you can ascertain the pH balance of your soil. Knowing the type of soil you have will help in determining what kind of topsoil to buy at your local gardening center for effective conductive planning.
How to Use Topsoil
The best place to use topsoil is in your yard because it gives nature the freedom to perform the heavy-lifting for you. That is to say; a top-notch composition is all that is required to ensure that your plants, trees, and vegetables remain healthy and fresh. Topsoil can also stop weed and pests from preying on your plants.
Utilizing topsoil purchased from stores can safeguard bulbs and root systems, including the buds that are still growing under the soil. Topsoil is cheaper than garden soils, which usually boast of more nutrients. So, when you utilize the topsoil, they can be used more freely than their counterparts.
Topsoil can be gotten in bigger bags, so ensure that you are given the right type before proceeding with the purchase. Else wise, you may be given a big bag of some weird material that may just lay behind your garage or shed.
Topsoil may not be the perfect choice when you require something to cover your whole gardening area or yard. Topsoil is always made to be utilized in big chunks but ought to work alongside your yard rather than being its replacement. This material is used to improve what is already in your yard or to assist struggling plants to find their feet. Therefore, whenever you want to make use of topsoil, ensure you use them well and sparingly.
Why Buy Organic Topsoil
You may require the help of organic topsoil if your existing soil is inferior, spoilt or if the area to be gardened doesn’t have natural soil, like a courtyard or a patio garden.
How to Figure Out the Amount of Topsoil That You Need
If you want to fill a raised bed or make a berm, you might want to make use of topsoil. You will have to properly evaluate the areas square footage to determine its cubic feet. If you’re going to fill our garden bed, you will require a minimum of 8 inches of depth of topsoil. New lawns are okay if you desire to disperse a layer of 3-5 inches of topsoil before planting.
Where to Use Topsoil
There are several gardens with low-quality soil, like those residing at the back of new-build apartments, where the natural topsoil has been taken away during construction activity. Topsoil has several uses; they can be used to cover the ground, to make new beds, borders, or they can act as the ideal foundation for laying of turf or sowing grass seed.
In gardens that are covered with pavement, where you have no soil, topsoil can be utilized in raised beds for the growing of several plants, and vegetables.
Grades of Topsoil
Topsoil can be obtained in three grades: General purpose, economy, and premium. The above mentioned classifications are greatly focused on the finesse of the soil and the quality it offers in terms of allowing flowers and plants to grow.
This grade of topsoil, which is also known as “As Dug,” is the least grade of topsoil and is unscreened, so it is very likely to contain several foreign materials. Economy grade topsoil is always very cheap which is why it’s ideal for you for filling vast areas, and quantity is more significant than quality
Just as the name implies, this grade of topsoil is beneficial for most garden projects. General purpose grade topsoil can also be used for making new garden beds and making a new lawn. This grade of topsoil is also perfect for landscape gardening because it boasts of high nutrients, and it can create contour in a certain part of the land. Dissimilar to the economy grade topsoil, this grade of topsoil will have gone through a thorough screening procedure to make it suitable for growing flowers and plants. You can purchase this grade of topsoil with different sizes of grains (larger and smaller) to correctly match your project needs. The ones that are fine are ideal for dressing top lawns, while the coarse ones are best used for laying lawns.
This type of topsoil is the best quality topsoil, and it doesn’t contain any form of weed or seeds. Premium grade topsoil is synonymous with certified soil. This grade of topsoil has gone through necessary tests to make sure that it has no diseases and metal. If you desire to grow vegetables or flowers for shows, ensure you adopt premium grade topsoil, which is very rich in nutrients. This grade of topsoil can also be utilized for fragile seedbeds, including young lawns in need of support to germinate.
How to Enhance Topsoil
Enhancing topsoil is a better alternative to buying better topsoil. To enhance your topsoil, add soil improvers as well as organic composts. If you want to get the optimum outcome, you should know the type of topsoil that you have. You can also attempt the sausage test or purchase a testing kit from garden centers.
What is Screened Topsoil?
There exist several variations of diverse categories of topsoil which are utilized for so many purposes, generally. Still, they are typically categorized into two distinct categories, which are screened and unscreened.
The screened soil is made using a certain procedure where the soil is sifted through diverse mesh sizes when it is being made. You can choose how you want your topsoil to be, whether fine or chunky. Screened topsoil has several benefits, one of which is that it has an even size which aids the best water flow and distribution of significant nutrients, which will ensure that your garden stays healthy.
Unscreened topsoil doesn’t go through any screening process. This type of topsoil is always uneven and coarse; because of this, it is quite cheaper to acquire than the screened topsoil.
To prevent later issues, scrutinize the topsoil before you buy it. Check for high stone content, weeds, and contaminants like glass and brick and thick fibrous roots. Inspecting it will ensure that you don’t have any problems after making the purchase.
Request for its location from the supplier and ask him/her if it’s gotten from the same place (building sites are always utilized as a source, and the quality can vary). If maybe the supplier has carried out soil analysis on the soil, ask for a copy. If they say it’s good and provide obvious facts, including figures, ask for these details to be penned down.
Use of Topsoil In Repairing Lawn Damage
Topsoil can be utilized to cover low areas of lawn to make the yard level, and it can also come in handing when top-dressing bare regions. You can fill a deep space of grass by including a 2-inch-thick layer of topsoil above it and leveling it with the aid of a shovel. The grass would sprout through the new topsoil.
If the hole is in excess of 2 inches deep, iterate the process many times. Include a massive amount of topsoil but can alter the current structure of the soul, including pH, or acidity level, perhaps making it inappropriate for the existing grass type.
Fill an empty area in your lawn by dispersing a 1-inch-thick layer of topsoil on the site, broadcasting grass seeds in that area, and working then into the topsoil with the help of a hand tiller or a rake. Adhere to these tasks daily, and new grass should grow in a few weeks.
Use of Topsoil in Improving Drainage of the Soil
Filling topsoil in an area of lawn or garden that can hold water enhances the drainage of the location. Adopt a Sandy Topsoil merged with organic matter, like compost or maybe ground pine bark, and cultivate it into the current soil to a depth of 12 inches to make proper drainage in the root part of the plant. Ensure that the plant roots aren’t agitated while this process is going on, or discard the plant before the existing plants are revised and replanted later, or review the current soil before the plant are placed on the site.
Since including topsoil can also affect the pH level of the soil, adopt a soil test to determine if the pH of the soil needs adjustment or not before you plant grass or other plants.
Types of Topsoil
There exist three primary types of topsoil. They are as follows:
Sand consists of mineral particles and neatly separated rocks. Sand is a highly variable of topsoil and its hinges on the category of available local rock in the vicinity. There are two common types of sand; they are silica (which is normally made from quartz) and aragonite (which is formed from several years old life forms). Sand can be utilized for diverse purposes, like agricultural use, the building of bricks, glass, mortar, concrete, road, paint, etc.
This type of topsoil consists of uniformly concentrated levels of constituents such as silt, clay, and sand. The quantity of clay, silt, and sand can change, forming diverse types of loam-like clay loam, silty loam, and sandy clay loam. All these loam soils come with different ranges of characteristics, but the normal loam consists of more nutrients, moisture, and humus than sand. You can find loam in big fertile lands and is very good for farming. Loam can also be used for constructing walls of homes because it can regulate air humidity. This strategy is known as the oldest form of house construction.
The third and ultimate type of topsoil is the clay. This type of topsoil is formed and created from decomposed organic substances, normally wilted plants with a mix of powder rocks formed after several decades due to weather conditions. Also, because water can’t penetrate clay, it is usually utilized in the construction of dams, or it can be used as a hindrance to landfills.