The type and quality of soil native to New Jersey varies widely depending on location. For example, in the north part of the state the topsoil layer is typically shallow but farther down south it is up to five feet deep. In some areas the drainage is poor and in other areas it is very sandy.
The type of soil that homeowners, contractors and landscapers desire depends on what is going to be planted on the property.
This means that in almost all cases it will be necessary to shop for topsoil for sale in NJ because this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
There are two common options when it comes to purchasing topsoil; first, buying it in bags from a local big box store. The second option is to buy it in bulk from a reputable supply company. This second option is almost always the best choice. Buying in bulk is certainly more economical and user-friendly.
In addition, the topsoil loaded in bags is generic in the sense that you have no idea where it came from and there is rarely any insight as to its component makeup; it is blended and produced to try to satisfy as large a segment of the population as possible and distributed nationwide.
Working with a local professional vendor means that you can rest assured that you are getting the right product for your landscaping project and that the knowledge that the quality is right for you. Chances are that homeowners will need professional recommendations for their specific local needs and landscaping and building contractors always benefit from establishing a working relationship with a local vendor.
How to Buy Topsoil for Sale in New Jersey
Topsoil sold in bulk is delivered in cubic yards. For a project of any reasonable size, the vendor will deliver it to the work location by truck where it can be dumped and spread out.
The first step is to determine how much topsoil you need. Most landscaping projects call for between two to eight inches in depth. On the shallow end of the scale this is sufficient for the root structure of most landscaping plantings and vegetable gardens. The deeper figure is preferable for trees.
Your NJ topsoil supplier will assist you in calculating how much topsoil you need, but to give you a rough idea, let’s say that if your plan calls for a project that is three inches deep, 150 feet wide and 300 feet long, you will need about 417 cubic yards. Obviously, this is not a job for your pickup truck or SUV and buying it by the bag is out of the question.
Which Type of Topsoil is Right for Your Project?
No topsoil varieties are created or blended equally, primarily because every type of vegetation has its own needs. Some need rapid drainage while some prefer a predominantly moist condition. Here are the three most common blends of topsoil:
- Clay – preferred when water retention is required. This is great for areas that do not receive a great deal of irrigation but is best avoided for rose gardens. Roses like a lot of water or a daily basis but shy away from what is called “wet feet.”
- Sand – is ideal for vegetation that requires good drainage. As mentioned above, roses prosper in this environment but so do vegetable gardens and exotics like plumerias and hibiscus bushes.
- Loamy – is likely the most common blend, balancing drainage, water retention and availability of nutrition for your plant’s root structures. Typically, landscaping contractors will rely on this blend for lawns and trees and will only use the other blends for dedicated areas of the property.
Of course, when researching soil types you will encounter many other names. For example, when searching for soil to use for a raised-bed garden you will often see terms like “rose soil.” Just know that the composition is the thing to know about, regardless of the marketing jargon.
With all of these factors in mind, it is easy to see why a comprehensive plan (and a layout drawn on graph paper) and a consultation with a vendor that specializes in topsoil is important for the success of any landscaping or gardening project.
How to Spot High-Quality Topsoil
Topsoil is a product that can be easily altered to make it go further and that is often done with bagged products. The hallmark of a superior brand of topsoil for sale in New Jersey and other areas is quality aggregates.
Typical added materials that you might encounter are sticks, twigs and gravel. This added material is meant to increase profit but in many cases do not add to your landscaping goals.
While it is true that organic material like twigs and sticks will biodegrade and add to your nutrient base over the long haul, that is not what you are paying for when shopping for topsoil for sale in New Jersey or any other area. There are acceptable aggregates to tailor your topsoil.
Peat moss is common for use in areas that demand water retention. A small amount of sand and pebbles have the opposite effect — it will ensure that your plants thrive in a high-drainage environment.
When buying topsoil, don’t just rely on the label; ask questions and know what is in the product. When buying bagged products, you usually have no way of knowing. But when you work with a local topsoil merchant in New Jersey, you can be assured of an accurate aggregate breakdown in order to satisfy your individual requirements.
Organic or Chemical Gardening for New Topsoil?
When you find your topsoil for sale New Jersey, it will be just that — soil. It doesn’t care about the debate between the organic crowd and the chemical crowd; but most homeowners are on one side of the fence or the other.
The time for taking a stand on what is best for your property is right at the beginning of your project, when you spread out your soil and tackle your particular job; it’s much easier than changing your mind down the road.
Your new load of topsoil is like a blank slate. It is the homeowner or contractor’s choice of which gardening philosophy to align with. Contractors might prefer to use chemical fertilizers on freshly-spread topsoil since lawns green up quickly. On the other hand, going organic is a great selling point to a growing pool of potential customers.
Buying and spreading topsoil for sale in NJ is just the beginning of your gardening and landscaping adventure. Generally speaking, organic programs compromise; they sacrifice quick results in exchange for long-term soil health and beneficial microbial activity and nutritional uptake from the soil into the root systems.
Regardless of your decision to go organic or chemical, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind in order to protect your topsoil investment.
- Do not use “weed and feed” products any more than needed. They contain very toxic ingredients and the chemicals will leech into the water table. Especially do not use them within the drip zone of trees and shrubs as they will kill the vegetation.
- Put out dry molasses over your new topsoil at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall when you do your bi-annual fertilization. This will be an overall benefit for the health of your topsoil and will also encourage earthworm propagation and microbial activity, and they are your topsoil’s best friends in New Jersey.
- Do not be afraid to add soil amendments to your new load of topsoil. This is easy to spade or rake into your new topsoil when spreading it and ultimately will ensure the success of your project. Compost, especially organic cow manure or leaf compost will add slow-release nutrients to the root systems of your landscaping specimens or lawn. This will also aid in the aeration of your topsoil which is essential for soil and crop health.
Finish Off Your New Topsoil
Just adding the proper topsoil to your project is not enough to ensure success. It is important to protect your new topsoil from the elements and maintain the required moisture retention. This can be considered phase 2 of your landscaping project. A high-quality mulch is the best tool in your gardening arsenal.
There are many options available to protect your topsoil. Unfortunately, many of these are less than satisfactory. Whatever you do, do not use any product that is labeled “dyed.” It is bad in all circumstances but in particular when you will be consuming the crops you are growing.
Look for labels that say “shredded hardwood.” These products will “lock-in” and not float away. They will also biodegrade and further feed your plants and crops.
The bottom line is this — any home owner or contractor seeking to enhance the value of a property should focus on positive changes. These include not only structural elements but also the landscaping which is an esthetic and financial investment.