Frequently Asked Questions

You can, but it is not recommended.  Potting soil is designed to drain well but retain moisture at the same time for potted plants.  Topsoil may not let enough water move through it to water the plants correctly.  It all depends on the characteristics of the topsoil but overall potting soil will give you a healthier potted plant. 

Yes, topsoil is a great soil to plant grass seed for your lawn.  The loamy texture allows roots to penetrate deep which promotes a healthy lawn.  Deep roots allows grass become drought tolerant during the summer.  A good topsoil also provides the nutrients needed to grow greener grass.  In Georgia, the red clay is nutrient deficient and compacts easily which makes it less ideal for grass than topsoil.

Topsoil is best spread with a shovel and smoothed with a rake.  You can also use a tractor or skid steer for large amounts.  It does not spread well through spreaders used for seeding, or topdressers as it tends to stick to the sides and “bridge” over. 

Compost is not topsoil.  Compost is one of the best amendments used to improve your dirt or topsoil but isn’t the best material to use alone for planting.  Its benefits of adding organic matter, microbes, and nutrients are best used when blending into a soil (unless it is being used a mulch). 

Yes, topsoil is a great media for gardening.  The sandy loam or loamy texture promotes deep root penetration.  The high organic matter retains moisture and nutrients are available within the soil for the plants to uptake.  So, raised beds and other vegetable gardens are best started with a good topsoil. 

Topsoil is a sandier, fertile, usually dark brown or black, soil that contains nutrients and organic matter suitable for growing plants.  Fill dirt refers to any dirt that does not contain organic matter but instead contains higher amounts of clay.  Some fill dirt may be suitable for compactible fill.  Fill dirt is usually a more economical option and better option to fill in low areas for structured fill.  Topsoil is best used for areas that will be planted with grass, trees, or shrubs. 

Generally speaking, garden soil had a few more enhancements like sand or compost added to a quality topsoil.  Topsoil from most providers is good dirt that they dug up somewhere, and loaded it in a truck.  However, RSI’s Topsoil comes from a process  where we screen out any large debris and blend just the right amount of sand and compost to improve its quality, so our Topsoil is both a high-quality topsoil that can be used for a gardening. 

Topsoil is used for making gardens, planting shrubs, spreading to lay turf of plant grass seed, and filling in holes in your lawn.  Topsoil is one of the most commonly used materials for landscaping and gardening.  A good soil is critical for healthy plants.  Potting soil is slightly different and better for potted plants and not ideal for use in the lawn. 

Topsoil is best to start with before you plant your seeds in the lawn or garden.  Place and spread the topsoil evenly and with enough depth to promote root penetration.  If the depth of topsoil is less than 4” you may consider tilling the sub-base to help the roots transition from the topsoil into the next layer of soil.  You can place topsoil at any time of the year or season, but it is usually best to be seeded or mulched once it is installed. 

Yes, if you don’t apply it too deep.  You can apply a light layer of topsoil, less than 1”, and the grass should come back through it with time.  Use a rake to work the soil down and help the grass stand back up as you apply it.  As, you apply more depth of topsoil it will take longer for the grass to grow back to the surface.  Also, consider the timing of the application as fescue will not growing quickly in the summer and bermuda will not grow back quickly in the fall or winter.  If you need to patch or repair the lawn with several inches of topsoil, you may consider just re-sodding or re-seeding that area and mulching lightly with straw. 

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