Topsoil Lawn and Garden Basics – What you Need To know

Your knowledge of topsoil lawns and gardens is vital to your growing success.  Topsoil is the dark, organic filled, top layer of the earth’s surface. Eventually, just about everything in nature turns to topsoil if left long enough to decompose. This quality that makes topsoil nutrient-rich and great for growing lawns and gardens. However, not all topsoil is created equal. Topsoil is gathered from the earth’s surface and combined into a mixture that is roughly 60 percent sand, 15 percent clay, and 25 percent silt.

Topsoil Garden Soil
Photo of topsoil used in farming, putting in lawns, and gardening

Topsoil Lawn and Graden…pH Levels aren’t just for pools

One important characteristic of topsoil is the pH level. When putting in a lawn or growing vegetables, the ideal pH level is between 6.5 and 7.5.  The proper topsoil lawn garden pH level depends on what you are growing and where you live geographically. You can check your soil with home test kits sold at your local gardening center, Lowes’s or Home Depot.

One of the easiest ways to raise the pH level of your topsoil is to add lime.  Additionally, adding a half of an inch of wood ashes from your fireplace or outdoor fire pit can have a very positive effect on your soil. To lower the pH level of your topsoil you can add organic matter such as manure and compost.  You can also add sulfur to your soil.

To lower the pH level of your topsoil you can add organic matter such as manure and compost.  You can also add sulfur to your soil. Correct your topsoil’s level during the Fall.  This will give the topsoil plenty of time to adjust and will provide noticeable improvements in the Spring.

Topsoil test kit sold at Lowes

Topsoil “Organics Matter”

Another important characteristic of topsoil for lawns and gardens is the amount of organic matter in the soil. Ideally, purchasers should be looking for about 1.5 to 4 percent organics in their topsoil.

Topsoil Lawn and Garden -Don’t Be Shallow

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “how much topsoil you will need to put down for your lawn or garden?” The answer depends on what you are using the topsoil for.

If you are putting in a new lawn:

The recommended depth of topsoil for a new lawn is between 4 and 6 inches.  Obviously, if you have a large lawn this can be an expensive investment.  However, grass roots can grow between 2 and 5 inches depending on the type of seed used for the lawn.  If you want your lawn to be the envy of the neighborhood, it is essential that you don’t skimp on the depth of topsoil.

If you are putting in a new garden:

When putting in a new garden or getting ready for another season with an existing garden, the recommended depth of topsoil is between 7 and 12 inches depending on what you are growing.  Some plants have deeper root systems so it is a good idea to do a little research.  Before you plant anything, calculate the minimum depth you will need for the longest root system in your garden.

Beautiful lawn grown on rich topsoil

Compaction is for the trash

Lastly, topsoil is nice a loose when you are spreading your grass seed or planting your flowers and vegetables.  Lawns and gardens simply will not thrive in compacted soil.  If possible, it is a good idea to lightly rake in your seed after spreading in the loose soil.

Having the proper topsoil is crucial for gardens

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