Topsoil is a crucial component to the health of plants, whether it be lawn, vegetables, or trees and shrubs. Contrary to popular belief, dirt is not just dirt. The difference between dirt and good wholesome topsoil is the difference between the Dust Bowl and a cornucopia.
What Is Topsoil?
What makes topsoil different from regular dirt? Topsoil is the top layer of the earth’s surface and can be anywhere from 2-8 inches deep. It is richly mixed with organic matter and microorganisms and contains all kinds of nutrients that the subsoil, only one layer down, lacks.
Most of a plant’s roots remain in the topsoil layer and never venture down into the subsoil because the nutrients there are comparatively few. This lack of nutrients is why the ground near new construction doesn’t grow much of anything. The backfill used by construction work doesn’t contain the organic matter that allows plants to thrive. If you have any patches where nothing but a few spindly weeds will grow, chances are adding topsoil will solve the problem.
How Much Topsoil is Enough?
The easiest way to add topsoil is to dump it where you want it, pack it with a lawn roller and seed it. Remember, because root systems rarely extend past the topsoil, the deeper it is, the stronger the root system.
A more effective method is to dump the topsoil where you want it and then work it into the existing soil with a rototiller. This will encourage roots to go deeper, and you can possibly make do with less topsoil.
To figure out how much topsoil you’ll need, take the area in square inches, multiply by the depth of topsoil you want, and then divide by 10,000 to get the number of yards you’ll need. If you don’t know how deep you want your topsoil to be, contact us and tell us what you want to grow with it and we’ll be able to help you get everything figured out.
As far as your plants are concerned, though, no amount of topsoil is too much.