We all want our lawn and garden to look fabulous. How can topsoil help? Topsoil is what makes up the upper 3-10 inches of the earth’s surface. It’s an active part of the natural life cycle and is richer in nutrients than the soil found beneath it. Topsoil forms when large rocks break down and mix with decomposing organic materials like grasses, leaves and bark from trees. Depending on the location, top soil may go as deep as 12 inches. Top soil can vary in texture and will depend on its location. The most common is loam. Loam is less than 52% sand, 28-50% silt and 7-27% clay. There are various combinations that will affect how well they drain water.
Why is Topsoil Important?
Good quality topsoil will have a rich mix of nutrients that is necessary for healthy plants. It will be darker than subsoil because it contains organic material. Good quality topsoil will also retain water and nutrients that will promote healthy plant growth.
– Top soil can be added to landscaping to improve the health of new plants and give them a healthy start. It will also improve the condition of existing soil. The soil around a new home can be very sandy or full of clay. Adding topsoil will allow new plant and seeds to get required nutrients so new roots can spread.
– Good topsoil is pretty porous and can retain water and gas that is necessary for plant growth. Plant growth is provided with this water and gas from the decay of organic plant and animal matter. As the plants and animal matter decays, soil microorganisms will promote the formation of rich soil aggregates.
– Healthy plant life. Root structures are stronger when nutrients are retained. Roots can’t flourish in harsh tundra and desert conditions. When areas are low in topsoil, the soil is unfit for growing anything. Lower amounts of topsoil in tropical regions has destroyed efforts in conventional farming.
– Reduced soil erosion. Soil erosion from wind and rain can be stopped with healthy topsoil. This is because it retains nutrients to promote healthy plant growth and root structures and protect them. Reduced erosion is important to the nature of the ecosystem too. Removal of topsoil leaves land exposed and cause it to erode more easily, resulting in further soil loss. The existing soil will need to be tilled before topsoil is added and then tilled again to create a mixture of new and existing soil, and then covered with a final layer of topsoil.
Types of Lawn Topsoil
There are different types of topsoil for different purposes. Topsoil that is less nutrient rich is good for a backfill project, to change the grade of a property or to use as a base for paver paths or patios. Commercial topsoil will be sifted to remove rocks and makes it easier to work with. Compacted topsoil will work to prevent erosion and will ensure a good foundation for lawns and hard surfaces.