What exactly is topsoil, and why do you need it? We explain everything you need to know about the benefits and alternatives to so-called topsoil.
“Topsoil” is a frequently used term in gardening. But what exactly is topsoil, and what creates it? We define topsoil, its role, and whether or not there are alternatives.
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What is TopSoil
“Topsoil” refers to the richest and most fertile layer of soil on top of the rest. Mineral soil components like sand, clay, and silt are present, but there is also a significant amount of humus, as well as a wide variety of soil organisms and nutrients. Farmers refer to it as “topsoil,” soil scientists refer to it as the “A horizon,” and in everyday speech, we commonly call it “soil”.
The so-called humus layer may still exist above the A horizon in soils that are rarely or never treated. It’s not considered topsoil, though, because it’s made entirely of organic materials and doesn’t include a single mineral.
What is the function of Topsoil
For plants, the topsoil is not just the highest soil horizon; it’s also the most vital one. All the nutrients and water are contained in this because it’s soft. Plants do not grow as well in poor dirt.
In addition to filtering pollutants from rainwater, the biologically active topsoil also slows its flow and releases them into the groundwater. Healthy topsoil is essential for even high-yield agriculture, which produces our food.
Topsoil is a valuable natural resource that accumulates over thousands of years, making its conservation even more critical.
Toxic pesticides, as well as mineral fertilizers, are used, or one-sided planting lowers the fertility of topsoil through erosion, sealing with concrete or gravel gardens, or one-sided planting. As a result of this inappropriate soil treatment, the humus content and bioactivity have both decreased.
However, healthy soil is an important prerequisite for vigorous plants. If building humus in your garden is something you’re interested in, we’d love to show you how.
Fertility in the soil benefits both you and the ecosystem. The accumulation of humus is also beneficial to the climate since humus contains carbon from the atmosphere.
Alternatives to TopSoil
You can use topsoil to fill a smaller bed or planter if you want to save money. However, it lacks many nutrients, is unable to store large amounts of water, and is also quite heavy, so the labor can already be quite taxing! High-quality potting soils are better suited for this application.
Many pre-fertilized organic soils have a unique composition that ensures the plants receive an ample supply of all essential nutrients. Due to the absence of environmentally hazardous elements like peat, organic soils reduce up to 60% CO2 compared to traditional potting soils during manufacture.
Topsoil, on the other hand, is the only option when a lot of soil is required in the garden for flower beds and lawns. Being able to talk about soil necessitates the existence of the A horizon, which is an organic horizon. Recycling facilities, building material dealers, and even private contractors sell topsoil if your site was devoid of it due to previous construction. Construction sites where topsoil was removed to make way for structures or paved areas are the next source of this material.
Even if you buy topsoil, it won’t be very fertile. Many humus creatures die, and significant soil particles are damaged during removal, mixing, and storage. Soil-improving methods are critical if you’ve added new topsoil to your garden. Natural fertilizers are the most effective ways to improve the fertility of the topsoil, together with timely soil planting and the usage of green manure and horse dung and compost.
The usage of lawn soils is generally worthwhile when planting a lawn, which is a very consumptive permanent crop. As a result, grass will start off thick and robust, and weeds won’t have a chance in it.