Especially if you’re new to gardening, you may have heard of the term topsoil, but you might not know what it is and how to use it. In this article, we take a closer look at this popular gardening material, focusing on whether it’s suitable for use with plants and flowers, as well as how you can use it to your advantage when it comes to improving your outdoor space. So, for more information about this landscaping product, keep reading.
Can you use topsoil to plant flowers?
In short, yes – you can use topsoil when planting flowers. Topsoil provides flowers with the essential nutrients and minerals needed in order for them to flourish and grow into healthy, thriving plants.
Like its name suggests, topsoil is soil which forms the top layer of ground in which plants grow. It is essentially the uppermost part of the Earth’s surface. It forms over many years, during which time other organic matter which naturally occurs in the Earth’s surface, such as leaves, vegetation and dead animals, mix into the topsoil. As a result, topsoil contains an enormous amount of nutrients and minerals. In fact, topsoil is often thought to be better than regular soil potting mixes as it is much more efficient in improving the quality of existing soil.
Topsoil is used for a variety of other gardening and landscaping projects too. Aside from planting flowers, it is often used when laying turf as it provides the ideal base for creating a level surface, as well as a firm foundation for rolling out strips of turf or applying lawn seed.
It is also ideal for improving soil drainage. For example, if you have an area of your garden which holds water, topsoil can help create better absorption and improved drainage for plant roots.
Why is topsoil important for plant growth?
Generally speaking, topsoil helps your flowers to grow to their full potential. It provides plants with the basic elements needed in order to survive, including air, food and water. This combination creates the ideal environment in which plants can grow and thrive in their natural habitat.
Topsoil also plays an important role in holding plant roots together, which is where water is stored. It locks in moisture, preventing evaporation so that your plants get the water they need, even when temperatures soar.
Loose topsoil allows the plant roots to spread easily, meaning the plant has more access to the nutrients it needs. In turn, this helps build a strong root system throughout your garden, enabling you to achieve continuous plant growth. Topsoil also enables oxygen to get into plants, helping them grow stronger.
It’s worth noting that the lifespan of a plant is heavily determined by the quality of topsoil you use. Underneath the soil’s surface, there are a variety of living organisms which also encourage plant development, such as insects, fungi and bacteria. So it’s crucial that the soil is of a high quality to ensure these living things can survive to ultimately help aid plant growth and survival.
How deep should topsoil be for a flower bed?
In the gardening world, it’s widely believed that you can’t have too much topsoil, but you can definitely have too little of it. But exactly how much should you be using when it comes to planting flowers in your garden?
The truth is, every garden is different, with every flower bed being a different shape and size, so the amount of topsoil you use will depend on a variety of factors. As a general rule, it’s thought that you should start by aiming to add around 10 to 15cm of fresh topsoil to your flower beds. However, it’s important to remember that there’s a good chance you will require more topsoil than this to suitably cover the area, especially if you plan on planting large shrubs or trees alongside your flowers.
The good news is, it’s possible to buy topsoil bulk bags. This will mean you have access to a large volume of topsoil at any one time, and if there is any left over, you can simply store it in your shed or garage for future garden projects.
Do you need to compact topsoil in flower beds?
In order for plants to grow and flourish, topsoil actually needs to be relatively loose, meaning that it does not need to be compacted. If it is, the roots may not be able to grow and the flowers will be unable to survive.
You may be able to check if the existing soil in your flower beds is compacted by using a finger and feeling for signs of compaction around three to five inches beneath the surface. This is common in the gardens of new build homes due to the amount of heavy machinery and heavy footfall in the construction of the property and its outdoor space.
You can loosen compacted soil by simply using a rake or hoe. However, if the soil is too loose, it won’t be able to retain moisture, which is also bad news for your plants, so be careful to not overdo it