Follow Us For Our Latest Posts, Tips, & Exclusive Facebook Giveaways
Are you buying topsoil? Will you have to purchase topsoil soon? Read this article to make sure you get exactly what you are paying for.
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth’s biological soil activity occurs. – Wikipedia
Topsoil is the most scarce type of soil, as indicated above. This is because it is very slow forming, requiring many life cycles of plants and animals to form. At one time Connecticut had an abundant amount due to the large agricultural business that occurred here. In the past century most of the natural topsoil has been depleted through development, especially in Fairfield and New Haven counties.
This lack of topsoil has lead to many supply companies, Grillo Services (us), manufacturing our own soil. In 1993 we were one of the first companies around to realize the need for organic soil. There were companies around selling material and calling it “topsoil.” The only problem was that it didn’t adhere to the definition and lacked organic matter. Subsoil is much more common than topsoil, and because they are similar in consistency and look, companies have been selling subsoil as topsoil for quite awhile.
This has lead to many people being duped by various companies. Simply put it is not right. Our product is not always the cheapest because there are many steps to our topsoil making process. What happens is we buy the soil, make the compost, and mix them together. This sounds simple but the compost alone takes over a year to cure. All these things cost money and require work to form.
What to watch out for
Large construction companies clear a piece of property and pile up massive amounts of subsoil. This soil costs them nothing, and they sell it specifically as topsoil. Obviously they can sell it much cheaper than we can, and people that haven’t compared our products assume they are comparing apples to apples and order their material. They buy their grass seed, call a landscaper to spread the soil, and complete their project. As days go by and grass doesn’t emerge, it becomes apparent that something is wrong. As you retrace your steps and try to figure out where you went wrong the only variable often becomes the type of soil. After spending all the time and money to finish your project, instead of saving money you now have to order more material and spend more money. Sadly this occurs quite often. What angers me is this: someone sells you something to perform a specific purpose, such as selling you topsoil to grow grass, knowing that their product is inferior, that is blatant deception.
How to prevent being unhappy with your Topsoil purchase
1. Do as much research as possible on the company you are thinking of using. Search Google, look at their reviews on Google Places, Angies List, They all can help.
2. Narrow down a few companies and before you compare price, get a sample of each of their products. Most of the time you get what you pay for.
3. Order the material yourself from the manufacturer. Cutting out the middle man will often get you the best price.
4. If the topsoil is going to be used to grow vegetables or other consumables, ask if the company has a soil spec sheet. Get a lead analysis if that is an issue in your area.
5. If you are having trouble ask family and friends if they recommend someone, an unbiased opinion is very helpful.
Take a look at what others are selling as “Screened Topsoil” Notice how tan it is. Soil like this lacks organic content, and won’t be able to offer the nutrients needed to grow grass and plants. It is also very sandy and will not hold moisture long enough for root systems to fully absorb the water. This realistically is a subsoil, or fill soil and can be used for applications other than growing.
Look at our topsoil and notice how dark it is. That is because it is mixed with leaf compost. This mix brings the organic content to around 12%, an extremely fertile soil. Check out our topsoil page, Grillo Topsoil Page, here you can find more information on our soil.
For those of you that don’t live in CT, that is what quality soil looks like, compare this picture to the samples that you acquire.
If you have used our topsoil in the past please feel free to comment below and explain your personal experience, social interaction is always appreciated.