Why Do I Need Topsoil?

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Do I Need Topsoil? How Necessary Is It?

Whether you are planting a brand new lawn or starting a new garden in time for the Spring season, getting it right the first time will help alleviate stress and money in the long run. Many homeowners ask, “do I need topsoil?” Before taking tips from every neighbor on the block, it is best to understand the value of topsoil for your lawn and garden.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil is a dark layer of ground where most of the action occurs because it is home to microorganisms and organic matter. To tell the difference between topsoil and other soil types, the soil should stick together like clay when rolled in your hand. The decaying action boosts plant and grassroots health, allowing them to grow more efficiently.

The layer of dirt is scraped from the ground, bagged, and sold in local home improvement stores or garden centers. Homeowners should avoid buying unscreened topsoil because it won’t be as beneficial for grass, plants, and flowers. Screened topsoil means that any extras including rocks, plant roots, and other debris are removed.

Do I Need Topsoil?

If there is no existing lawn and you are ready to plant sod, the answer is yes, you need topsoil. If there is a current yard, the answer depends on the quality of the existing topsoil. To check the quality, request a soil test from local lawn care professionals that can analyze the nutrient makeup and pH levels of the soil.

How Much Topsoil Do I Need?

For a new yard, homeowners will need at least four to six inches of topsoil. If you are planting a new garden, eight inches is the recommended amount.

Steps for Adding Topsoil

If you need to add topsoil to your backyard, the worst thing homeowners can do is just lay it on top of the existing earth. Bottom layers of ground are typically compact and leave no room for water or nutrients to work their way in. Before laying topsoil, till the existing land to loosen it up and level the ground. Once the ground is level, add the topsoil and till the ground again to mix some of the topsoil with the lower ground. Tilling the dirt opens up room for the seeds to fall further down and creates deeper roots which allow for a healthier and lush lawn.

Once a new lawn is planted, homeowners should fertilize it and cover it with either a thin layer of topsoil or straw. Afterward, consistent watering and care are essential until the grass has strong roots.

Perennial Lawn Care assists New Jersey homeowners with their lawn care needs. Contact us to learn how we can help you plant a new lawn this spring!

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