Although topsoil technically refers to whatever type of soil makes up the top couple of inches of dirt in any given space, most people use the term to refer to high-quality soil that is conducive to healthy garden and lawn growth. A good topsoil provides a lot of benefits in the yard, which is why it makes sense to have some delivered if the current soil conditions are less than to be desired.
1. Nutrient Supply
Good topsoil has a lot of organic matter combined with mineral matter, a combination that leads to a higher nutrient profile. Further, it should also host a thriving microbial colony. Healthy soil microbes will continue to break organic materials down into nutrients that plants can easily access. Dead topsoil is little more than rocks or sand with no nutrients or microbes present, which should be avoided.
2. Water Cycling
The ability to absorb moisture and hold onto it without becoming waterlogged or soggy is a requirement for quality topsoil. The top few inches of soil should contain enough organic matter that it can resist drying out. Moisture should be absorbed into the topsoil and then it should cycle through slowly into the root zone of the plants growing in the site.
3. Soil Stability
Stable soil is better able to support root growth. Sandy soil, for example, is constantly moving due to moisture movement through the soil. Good topsoil, on the other hand, clumps loosely together so that roots can anchor well through the soil surface while still being able to spread out and establish. This stability comes from that healthy mix of organic matter and mineral components such as sand and aggregates.
4. Root Aeration
Aeration refers to how much oxygen and air can get into the soil. Compacted soils have very little aeration, which leads to moisture buildup. When a plant dies of root rot, the cause is actually drowning because the roots couldn't get any air in the saturated compacted soils. Dry compacted soils can also suffocate roots. Quality topsoil contains materials of varying sizes and shapes, so there are plenty of spaces for aeration to occur. Thus, plants are better able to thrive.
5. Erosion Prevention
Finally, a layer of topsoil can help reduce soil erosion. This is in part because plants can send out a network of anchoring roots through good topsoil, which helps prevent it from washing away. The greater weight of moisture and organic material-rich soil also prevents erosion.
Contact a topsoil compost provider if you are ready to improve the soil in your yard. A company like Templeton Gap Turf Farm LLC can provide further information.