The spring season creates peak demand for topsoil throughout NJ and its surrounding areas. This is the best time of year to start getting to work on projects ranging from the installation of small planters to a complete overhaul of your lawn.
In order for vegetation to grow and thrive, healthy topsoil is an absolute must. As the leading supplier of topsoil in NJ, Braen Supply is proud to offer a range of high quality gardening materials that are easy to work with and very affordable.
Since we’re so passionate about connecting our customers with a superior product, we have assembled this guide to everything you need to know about choosing, using and purchasing topsoil in 2016.
We often hear people talking about topsoil, but what is it, exactly? Topsoil is comprised of the first 2-8 inches of earth. In this particular range of depth the soil features a hearty mixture of minerals and nutrients that are essential to the growth of grass, plants, trees and shrubs.
The soil also contains organic matter which offers ideal conditions in which plants can thrive. As a result, many NJ home and property owners choose to use topsoil for gardening, laying down sod or reviving and overhauling areas where plants may not be as healthy as they should be. Topsoil should be clean and free of any rocks, sticks, roots, etc.
Types of Topsoil
Contrary to popular belief, not all topsoil is the same. Different types of topsoil should be used for specific gardening needs. Be sure to consult with an expert to determine which is right for you.
- Loamy Topsoil – Topsoil with a loamy composition contains a blend of clay, sand and silt. This combination is perfect for gardening applications of all sizes. It tends to be the most popular type of topsoil because its organic matter content and overall makeup offers valuable nutrients to most types of vegetation and also maintains ideal moisture levels.
- Sandy Topsoil – As the name suggests, sandy topsoil contains more sand than would be found in typical, loamy topsoil. Sandy soil isn’t able to retain moisture as well as other soil types which makes it the best choice for plants that demand a lot of drainage.
- Clay Topsoil – The high clay content found in clay topsoil means that the dirt is able to hold moisture extremely well. Since moisture can be retained for extended periods of time, the soil is frequently selected for desert plants or for use in areas that are prone to infrequent rainfall and drought conditions.
Characteristics of High Quality Topsoil
When purchasing topsoil, it’s very important that you recognize the difference between high quality and low-grade topsoil. To ensure that you walk away with the very best, be sure to insist upon the following traits:
- Coloration – The first thing you should consider is the coloration of your topsoil. Dark, rich hues indicate healthy soil that contains a good amount of organic matter.
- Texture – Generally speaking, your topsoil should have a loose and crumbly texture to it. Avoid soil with big clumps as this can create poor growing conditions for plants.
- Moisture Levels – Unless you’re shopping for a sandy or clay topsoil, you should be looking for earth that doesn’t go to extremes when it comes to wetness or dryness. While you want the soil to have some moisture, it shouldn’t be so wet that you’re able to form a ball that will stick in your hand.
- pH Levels – Specific pH levels must be maintained in order for plants to grow and remain healthy. Be sure to ask your topsoil supplier about the materials’ pH levels. Ideally, you want your earth to have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.
- No Debris – A good topsoil supplier will take the time to carefully screen its materials to ensure that there are no large clumps, rocks, sticks, roots or other debris mixed in with the healthy earth. When doing a visual inspection you should be on the lookout for any rock fragments that are over 3″ in size as this will indicate that the soil has not been screened properly.
Choosing a Topsoil Supplier
If you want the best topsoil, you need to know how to find the best topsoil supplier. Although there may be multiple vendors who sell topsoil throughout your area, it’s important that you know how to narrow down your options and select the right supplier for the job. Here are a few things to consider:
- Soil Content – We’ve already mentioned that high quality topsoil should contain organic matter, but just how much organic matter are we talking about? Soil with too little organic matter will not benefit your plants whereas soil with too much could experience problems with compaction. For ideal growing conditions, your supplier should offer soil that’s comprised of 2-10% organic matter. A good supplier will be able to tell you the organic matter content with to problem.
- Screening Processes – In order for your topsoil to create ideal conditions for your vegetation, it must be screened. Even a visual inspection of the soil you’re thinking about buying should reveal whether or not your supplier is doing their part to properly remove large clumps, rocks, sticks, roots, weeds and other unwanted debris.
- Knowledgeable Staff – Unless you’re a soil expert, you’re probably going to need a little direction from an expert. The last thing you want is to fire off a list of questions about topsoil to a floor sales rep who doesn’t know a thing about the types of materials he sells. Be on the lookout for a supplier that employs individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about the landscaping industry and who are ready and able to provide you with information and advice about choosing the right topsoil. They should also be happy to assist you with the process of calculating how much topsoil to purchase of your project.
- Bulk Delivery Services – Many landscaping and gardening projects that require topsoil will demand bulk quantities of the material. If this is true for you, there’s a strong chance that you’ll need to hire a service to transport your topsoil from the supplier to your job site. In order to get the best prices and best services possible, it’s wise to look for a topsoil supplier that also hires reliable drivers who can work with you to ensure that your materials arrive at the job site in a time frame that works for you. Make sure that your supply and delivery service is licensed and insured to operate in your delivery area so that you don’t have to worry about any hidden fees, incidentals or accidents that could cost you extra money.
When it comes to these important supplier qualities, Braen Supply fits the bill. That’s why we’re the most trusted name in topsoil throughout NJ.
Ready to start working with topsoil? Give us a call or stop by today. We’re happy to work with you to ensure that you select the right topsoil for your needs and to purchase the correct amount of material for your project. Our topsoil is available at competitive prices and can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations throughout NJ, NY, PA and CT.