Choosing the Right Topsoil

In order to give your plants the best chance in life it is worth taking the time and effort to research and purchase the right topsoil to help them flourish in your garden.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil is the top layer of soil in your garden. A large amount of the nutrients needed for plants can be found in the topsoil.

Your garden will naturally have a layer of topsoil, however over time, in particular if you have been planting/replanting in your garden the topsoil will lose nutrients and quality.

Some new builds may have had the top layer of topsoil removed during the construction process, so you would need to look to obtain topsoil before planting or putting down a new lawn.

Luckily, topsoil can be sourced from a variety of places, including garden centres, websites and DIY stores.

Different Types of Topsoil

Topsoil is available in three different types:

  • Natural: Widely available and the cheapest of the types, natural topsoil can vastly range in quality. They tend to be harvested from agricultural land so can be very acidic and have high levels of alkaline. Poor topsoil could kill your plants or contain seed banks which could lead to excessive weed growth.
  • Skip Waste: Using left over materials from building and demolition sites, skip waste topsoil again can contain high levels of alkaline and potentially feature contamination which could lead to planting issues.
  • Blended Soils/Loam: Whilst more expensive, Blended Topsoils are creating from mixing various components together to make the best topsoil. These are then thoroughly tested and checked to ensure the quality is consistent and that the soil displays no toxic elements. Rolawn’s Topsoil are test to BS 3882:2015 standards.

Shopping for Topsoil

You’ll want to ensure that when buying topsoil it ideally meets British Standards, and that the pH level of the soil falls in a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0.

Poor quality topsoil may not feature the right nutrients for your planting to thrive, and in some cases poor soil may kill your planting.

Also ensure the topsoil is free of as much debris as possible, including stones and weeds, as this would cause issues with your landscaping.

Can You Put Topsoil on Grass?

It is possible to put topsoil straight onto grass, however this will cause the grass to die. This can be an effective way of repairing your lawn, so long as you have used a thick enough layer of soil over the top of the grass, such as around 3 to 4 inches. This saves time by not requiring you to remove the old soil or patch of lawn.

One potential issue with putting soil directly onto grass is drainage as you may find water does not run off the new lawn as well as the previous one.

What is The Difference Between Compost and Topsoil?

Compost and Topsoil are different products, and both have their uses.

Material Uses
Topsoil Improving the quality of your soil. Perfect for new planting in borders/garden soil or for replacing a lawn
Compost Perfect for plant pots/hanging baskets. Slow-release fertiliser

Topsoil is better at retaining water than compost and has more structure-holding features. Whilst both have nutrients, compost features a higher grade of nutrients, making compost perfect for hanging planters or plant pots where your plants haven’t got free access to a large amount of soil.

Topsoil features a large number of organic matter, whilst Compost has a combination of natural materials.

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