Three minute guide to choosing topsoil

Three minute guide to choosing topsoil

The nature of your soil can make all the difference as to whether your plants and lawn fail or flourish. If you’re wondering what topsoil to buy, start by understanding a few basics about soil and organic matter. This will make your choice much easier.

What is topsoil and when to use it?

Topsoil is the very top layer of soil, which is high in nutrients and organic matter and provides the structure for plants to grow. You may need to add topsoil into your garden if you’re making new beds or borders or as a base for a new lawn. This is especially important where the natural soil is poor or non-existent. If you have a new-build home, for example much of the topsoil may have been taken away during construction.

What to think about when buying topsoil?

Cornflower meadowYour plants and soil: Your choice of topsoil will depend on what you are planting and what kind of soil you already have in your garden. Lots of plants and vegetables will do well with plenty of organic matter because it provides important nutrients for their growth. Other plants like wildflowers, do well in poor soil without compost.

Most plants like a neutral pH that is not too acid or alkali. You can test your soil pH with a simple kit from a garden centre or online. If you are planting acid-loving plants like rhododendron, azalea or conifer, they will benefit from a slightly acidic ericaceous topsoil.

Level of screening: Screened topsoil has been sieved to remove larger lumps of soil, roots, stones and other debris according to size. For most purposes, screened topsoil is a good choice as it gives you a reliable consistency. Topsoil screened to a smaller size will have a finer texture. This is useful for turf dressing, for example, where a sandier mix will improve aeration and help you achieve an even surface.

How much topsoil you need: Work out early on how much soil you need so you can decide the most convenient and economical way to order. Whether you’re filling a few pots or re-landscaping a lawn, Kebur supplies a good range of topsoil and compost. These start with poly bags of 25kg right up to loose lorry loads of 9.5 tonnes.

Topsoil Description Ideal use
Locally sourced topsoil Locally sourced topsoil Reclaimed soil screened to 10mm An economical option for general garden use and infilling
Norfolk Loam topsoil High quality multipurpose topsoil tested under BS3882 and screened to10mm

PH neutral

Large-scale groundworks and landscaping projects or where the existing soil is of poor quality
Raised bed with topsoil and plants Norfolk Biodress/ raised bed mix Blend of 10mm screened Norfolk Loam and peat-free compost

PH neutral

 

Raised flower beds and vegetable plots. The added nutrients and organic content promote moisture retention and healthy plant growth
Norfolk Ericaceous topsoil Rich dark loam, screened and shredded

Screened to 10mm

Acidic

Acid-loving plants like conifers and rhododendrons. The loamy texture promotes the infiltration and retention of water, improves soil structure, and makes the soil easier to work
Norfolk turf dressing Traditional soil-based turf dressing. 3mm screened blend of sports and PAS100 compost. Moisture controlled.

PH neutral

Repairing bare spots and levelling hollows in a lawn or using underneath turf or seed to create a new lawn. The blend of composts and the fine texture is designed to add nutrients and improve drainage.

When do I need to use compost?

Small Composter

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed. It is useful for getting nutrients into your topsoil and improving the soil structure so there are plenty of gaps for air and water. These gaps are essential to plant growth. You can dig compost into garden beds, raised beds, planters and planting holes or use it as a medium for growing seeds.

Kebur sells multi-purpose compost, including a peat-free option, which are ideal for most garden uses. Or you can make your own in a bin or wooden composter.

 

What is mulch and when to use it?

Woodland mulch around plantsMulch is a layer of organic matter that sits on the top of topsoil and gradually breaks down over time. Mulch slowly releases nutrients and is great for spreading around your plants to protect them from drought and cold and to prevent weeds.

Kebur supplies woodland mulch which is a mixture of branches, twigs and bark. This is ideal for putting on top of beds and borders to protect plants.

 

Contact us for more help on choosing the right soil or compost for your garden.

Shop topsoil and compost

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