If you're new to working with dirt, you may have heard of the need for topsoil. Walking the aisles of your nearby home improvement store can be overwhelming in the number of different soils they have, and it's all for different purposes and projects. Yet, it won't take too long to find the best soil to help that garden or yard yield the best results.
What is topsoil?
Topsoil, by definition, is the top five to eight inches of dirt before you reach the more compact layer called subsoil. Topsoil contains most of the organic matter, which is plant residue, organisms that live in the dirt, and other active and stable organic matter. Plants receive most of their nutrients from topsoil, hence it can make or break your garden, flower bed, or yard. While topsoil is the most nutritious, you need to use it carefully as it can also weaken bearing capacities.
When do you use topsoil?
Topsoil can be used for a variety of projects from gardens to flour beds and trees. It can help with areas of your yard that collect too much water as well. If you are building a garden or even turning it over, topsoil can be an important part. Too much purchased topsoil can be a bad thing as well. It is recommended to mix two inches of purchased topsoil and four inches of the other existing soil. Too much organic matter can shock the plants.
How to lay topsoil down
Before purchasing a particular type of topsoil, it may be prudent to perform a soil test on your dirt, particularly, a pH test, so that you can match the pH of the supplementary topsoil to the pH of your existing soil. This will help you find the best fit for your project. With mixing it in, first till your existing soil. Then add some topsoil and till the ground again. Finish the project by adding another inch of topsoil. If you are fertilizing your garden, you'll want to do this after you have added in your topsoil.
By doing your homework, you can find the perfect topsoil to meet your needs. It may take a little leg work by testing your soil, but the results will be visible in your yard. Whether you are working with citrus trees, a garden, or laying a large patch of grass, topsoil can be a vital part in your success.