Are You Using Local Soil for Your Landscaping and Garden?

Do you know where the soil you buy for your landscaping and gardening projects is from? You may wonder if it matters. While top soil for paving projects may not make a difference, when it comes to planting in your backyard, the soil you buy can impact the health of your plants. Here are a few reasons that buying local top soil can make a difference in your landscaping.

Native Plants Thrive in Native Soil

The soil from the Midwest is different than the soil in the Southeast or on the West Coast. It is not just the climate that is different in these regions; the soils are different as well. Some plants prefer sandy soil, while others do better in denser soils that retain moisture. When you buy bagged soil or top soil from a landscape supplier, it is important to know where that soil is from if you will be using it for planting.

Local soil may be best for native plants, having the right density and pH balance. For planting, look for landscape supplier that offers local top soil that is mixed with composted top soil to add the organic materials needed for healthy plant growth. Local top soil is also perfect for creating the soil layer for sod planting and other leveling projects.

Not all top soil is the same and not all plants need the same type of soil. When planning your garden and landscaping projects, start with the right top soil from a quality landscape supplier. Talk to the experts on whether local soil will be better for your planting needs and what types of soils they offer to give you the best results in your yard.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

Why Is Quality Top Soil for Gardening Important?

If you are trying to create a healthy garden, flowers, vegetable or both, one of the basic rules is having good soil for your plants. Adding top soil to your existing planting areas is important, but you may wonder if there is really a difference between top soils you can purchase. Any veteran gardener will tell you that the quality of top soil you add is a vital component of success. Here are a few tips to ensure the top soil you buy for your garden is good quality for the best results.

Make Sure It Looks Clean

Good top soil should be free from sticks, rocks and other contaminants. A quality top soil will be filtered and run through a screening process to remove debris that is not helpful to the soil.

Ask About PH Balance

A knowledgeable landscape supplier will be able to tell you the PH balance of their top soil. You want a blend that will be a good base for your flowers and produce. You can add fertilizer to enrich it, but it should be a well-balanced soil to begin with.

Buy Top Soil from a Bulk Supplier

While you can find bags of top soil at many stores, it is not necessarily the best way to purchase good soil for your gardens. You often cannot see the soil and have no idea whether it looks clean or healthy. Buy from a bulk supplier – even if they do offer bags. A quality supplier cleans and creates their own top soil and you can be assured of the consistency. Ask about bulk delivery or buy it in bags for easy transporting.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

Improving Soil Quality With Topsoil

If you’re planning a large landscaping project, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need to bring in some topsoil to complete it properly. Topsoil is sifted and screened to ensure that no sticks, rocks or other debris is introduced to your lawn or garden. 

It’s important to understand the difference between topsoil and fill dirt before you begin a landscaping project, even if you’re working with a landscaping contractor and designer. Fill dirt is typically a mixture of soil and sod removed from other projects that has not been sifted or separated and is used for heavy-duty lawn leveling projects like filling an old swimming pool or pond. Fill dirt will usually require a second layer of high-quality topsoil before it’s suitable for planting or sod installation. 

Topsoil typically does not contain any added fertilizers, but is still a rich, fertile soil that’s ideal for planting and leveling uneven areas of your lawn or garden. Properties with particularly poor soil quality will require the addition of clean, healthy topsoil to properly foster the establishment and growth of new plant life for landscaping design. If the soil on your property is sandy or comprised largely of clay that doesn’t promote plant growth, you’ll almost certainly need to introduce topsoil before planting to ensure that your new landscaping additions thrive and live up to their full potential. 

Your landscaping contractor or supplier may also suggest the addition of topsoil if you’re planning to install sod to start a new lawn for leveling purposes, or if part of your design includes the building and creation of raised beds for gardening.

Choosing Soil For Your Landscaping Project

If you are new to landscaping, deciding what soil you need for different projects can be daunting. There are literally dozens upon dozens of soils you can buy, mix and use. Although advanced gardeners may like to create their own soil mixes, many supply companies have excellent pre-made mixes that will are specially designed for different projects. 

Topsoil is the main ingredient for almost any landscaping project. Simply, topsoil is healthy soil with all the rocks, sticks and other debris removed.This basic building block is what is used to aid in planting and leveling yards and gardens. Although basic topsoil does not contain fertilizer, by adding it to your existing soil that may be depleted in nutrients, it can foster a healthier lawn or garden. 

If you are looking for soil for planting flowers, shrubs or perennial gardens, you want a mix that is blended for these types of plants. Many will have a combination of mulch, sand and topsoil to give the right blend of nutrients and water holding stability to make your flower gardens flourish. Look for soil combinations that specifically say they are flower mixes. 

There are also soil blends that are tailored for specific purposes such as filling retention ponds. This soil needs to act as a filter for contaminants and will be specially mixed bio soils. Make sure you find a landscape supplier that has the correct mix for your retention pond needs. 

Creating a beautiful lawn and garden does not need to take a chemistry or geology degree. Most beginners will find that they only need a few types of soils and soil mixes that are already pre-made for them at their local landscape suppliers.

How To Tell If Commercial Topsoil is Healthy

Topsoil is the topmost layer of the earth’s surface; normally, no deeper than about eight inches.  Its unique combination of decayed organic matter creates a nutrient and mineral-rich environment that is necessary for plants to grow.

It can be hard to find naturally, especially in urban areas, so commercial topsoil has become popular with gardeners looking to improve their garden or lawn soil.  You can find this at your local landscape supply cent but be sure to check the soil carefully when buying.

Many states don’t enforce regulations regarding what constitutes topsoil.  In these cases, manufacturers may use sand, manure, or sawdust mixtures instead and foreign objects like rocks, weeds, seeds or even harsh chemical traces could interfere with your own plants’ health.

Unhealthy topsoil is grayish, dry, and crumbly but you can’t always depend on just your eyes.  Some manufacturers will combine wood ashes with poor soil to give it the rich, dark color of a healthy mix.   So you need to learn as much as you can about the mix before purchasing it.

Try examining the soil for rocks or large roots or anything overly hard.  Feel it for moisture – it should have a crumbly texture.  You’ll also want to smell it.  Topsoil has a natural, earthy smell and any foreign  chemical scent will be obvious.

If you’re buying from a gardening or landscape supply center, you can ask for test data of the topsoil.  You’ll want to see information about the pH, acidity, and the amount of clay or sand in it.  An acceptable mix will have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5 and be labeled loam or sandy loam.  This is important since sandy soil won’t hold water and minerals and clay won’t allow proper drainage.