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The most common myths about topsoil revealed

If you’re undertaking a gardening or landscape project, chances are that you’re going to need topsoil. A lot of people think that they can get away with not using it but it’s worth bearing in mind that there are many benefits of using topsoil including:

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  • It can help to improve the quality of the soil on your land
  • It can be used to level out uneven ground
  • It provides plants and flowers with all the nutrients they need in order to flourish
  • If your existing soil is poor quality, covering it with a layer of topsoil should allow anything you plant to grow well
  • Provides a source of food for your plants and allows them to take root

There are a lot of other myths about topsoil which is why we have uncovered some of the most common misconceptions below.

All topsoil is the same

Although most topsoil is made up of the same materials (sand, silt and clay), there are endless variations of these components which can affect the final product in many different ways. You can also get different types of topsoil including multipurpose and specific purpose topsoil. Specific purpose topsoil has characteristics which are appropriate for specialist planting situations and are split into the following groups:

  • Acidic
  • Calcareous
  • Low fertility
  • Low fertility acidic
  • Low fertility calcareous

Rich soil doesn’t need fertiliser

In order to grow, plants draw nutrients out of the soil which means that over time, even the most fertile topsoil becomes depleted of essential nutrients. Using fertiliser is the quickest and easiest way to replenish lost nutrients and promote the healthy growth of plants.

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Regular dirt is just as effective

One of the many benefits of topsoil is that it’s easy to use and it drains well thanks to the organic matter it contains. Regular dirt that you find in your back garden more than likely will not contain nearly the amount of organic material that you find in topsoil. Additionally to this, if you require topsoil for commercial purposes, it simply isn’t practical or even possible to use the soil you find in your average garden. If clients are paying you to do a job for them, chances are that you want to carry out the work to the highest possible standard and with topsoil you can guarantee this.

Topsoil doesn’t need to be tilled

Tilling is the act of turning over and breaking up soil. It’s necessary to do this if you’re mixing amendments into your soil, if you have severely compacted soil that needs to be broken up or if your soil needs to be broken into finer bits for planting seeds. It also has the added benefit of removing any weeds and/or unwanted roots. All soil can become compacted over time and topsoil is no exception regardless of how much you paid for it or how high the quality is. It’s always good to keep a close eye on this because loose soil is the best way to promote healthy plant growth, proper drainage and root activity. If you’re tilling a small area, you can use a cultivator or deep spader. If you have a larger area however, it’s worth renting or purchasing an engine-powered tiller.