Top Soil - How it's Made and Common Uses
Topsoil is the outermost upper layer of soil. It is usually on the top 5 – 10 inches or 13 – 25 cm of the soil. This type of soil contains the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms. Topsoil is the place where most of the biological soil activity occurs. It is commonly composed of mineral particles, air, water, and organic matters.
This type of dirt can be characterized by the accumulation of organic matter, for example dead, living, and also decaying organisms. The combination of these matters can create a dark shade of soil. Because of these compositions, topsoil is often considered the most valuable layer of the soil and can be sold for high prices depending on time of year and location.
The texture and materials of topsoil may vary from one sample to another. Some stores or yards also offer commercial topsoil for many different applications. Take a look below and learn about how topsoil is made and some common uses before you buy.
How Topsoil is Made
Topsoil is made by nature, the most common location of this superior grass growing dirt is farms. Farm Top Soil is highly sought after and extremely high in nitrogen thanks to the crop decomposing or manure from animals on the property. Companies will take heavy equipment, most of the time a bulldozer, to scrape the top 5-10 inches or so into a pile. Once this dirt is pushed into a large pile it is either trucked to a location for screening or actually screened on site.
The screening is most of the time completed with some sort of powered screen plant. This can range from a small single deck shaking screen that only allows smaller material to fall through. This rejects the large debris like sticks and rocks. The best quality topsoil is screened by a trommel screen, which uses grizzly-bars above the hopper to take out any large items like boulders and large sticks. The dirt is then moved by a conveyor belt into a large spinning drum that has specific sized holes throughout. The finer pieces of soil fall through these holes, anything too large to fall through is spun out of the drum.
Once the screening process is finished, you have screen topsoil, however, all of these listed steps must be done with the dirt is very dry to ensure proper specifications for the material, mud will not screen at all. The topsoil is then trucked to landscape supply yards, nurseries, garden center, or even directly to the job sites.
Topsoil contains a high amount of organic matter that can hold the moisture, nutrients, and also the entire ecosystem for supporting the microbial life in the soil. The combination of these materials can be very useful to help any plants grow well so the demand during spring is extremely high.
Commercial bagged topsoil contains a high amount of organic matter, lime, and fertilizer. These nutrients are specially added to this topsoil for helping you grow your plant easily and water-efficiently. You can also use bulk topsoil which may be made from the natural process. This bulk topsoil contains weed seeds, clayey soil, or sandy soil.
Beware! Some companies attempt to mix good, healthy dirt with sand or stone dust to try and increase the profit margins, as well as to raise the total amount of product available to sell. Grass will have a very hard time growing in this situation, so you may want to ask yourself why is this product so much cheaper than the landscape supply yard down the street? The average price of healthy and premium topsoil is
Common Uses of Topsoil
a. Create a plant bed
This is the most important benefit that is offered by good topsoil, the ability to produce growth. This soil can be used to make a garden when you spread the soil up to 2 inches in thickness. Then, mix it with the existing soil thoroughly, so you can create the right balance for growing your plants. It is recommended for you to use topsoil which has both fertilizer and organic matter in it. These nutrients can be used to offer the best result for your plants.
b. Repair any lawn damage
Topsoil can be used to fill some low areas of your lawn. It can be used to make your yard level. This type of soil can also be used to top-dress any bare spots in your yard. It is recommended for you to fill a low area of your yard with a little more soil than you think you need. Then, you can level the topsoil by using a shovel. However, you need to be aware of the change of the existing soil's pH, structure, acidity level, etc. Therefore, this new lawn may be unsuitable for the current grass or plant.
c. Improve soil drainage
This is another advantage that you can get from this topsoil. Incorporating topsoil to the area of your garden can help the existing soil to hold water. You can improve the soil drainage effectively when using this topsoil. It is a good idea for you to use sandy topsoil that is combined with organic matter, for example, ground pine bark or compost. You can use up to 12 inches of topsoil for creating good drainage for the root zone area of your plant. Try to avoid disturbing the plant’s roots when you do this process.
D. Lawn installation
Topsoil is necessary when installing a new lawn. Most of the Lawn installations happen during new construction projects like new developments or new home construction. However, a lot of homeowners do major landscape construction projects that require large amounts of topsoil to replace the lawn that was previously there.
We hope this blog was informative and can help during your DIY home improvement project!