Defining top soil

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, May 7, 2013.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    Ok I'm thinking its time for a paragraph in our proposals that define my definition of top soil or top dressing.

    When we finish a job we top dress the disturbed areas with screened soil.

    Or in the DC area once in a while I find really really really nice unscreened soil that is somewhat sandy and virtually rock and pebble free.

    My goal is to provide a suitable bed for establishing turf. We're not growing the prize punkin at the county fair. I've seen grass grow in rain gutters on houses, I've seen grass grow in corners of pick up truck beds, and I once had an old retired truck parked that grass grew inside on the floor board. So, in terms of soil - it doesn't take a magic soil to grow grass.

    I've had people say "this top soil isn't black, are you sure it's top soil?"

    My definition of top soil or top dressing is: soil that's suitable for establishing turf. The soil may not be black in color. Heck, 3 yrs ago we did a job and an excavator said "we found this beautiful soil at out site and we're required to grade that area, if you haul it you can have all you want". It wasnt "top soil" persay but it was perfect for top dressing. You just never know.

    So, please chime in and share your definition of top soil / top dressing.
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  2. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    I get mine wholesale and its just like you said. Screened and sandy. Doesnt need to come in a bag from Depot and be dyed black to grow. I do think some of these places dye it due to the color left on my tools.
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  3. JMMack

    JMMack LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 16

    get a soil test done by county ext agency (ours are 9 bucks here in PA and come back in mail within a week) and show customer that it meets or exceeds parameters for growing grass or plants etc. no one can tell by just looking at soil if its "good enuff"

    at least you will have documentation to CYA

    I dont get them done unless I'm trying to grow a specific plant that requires specific soil composition (ie blueberries etc.)

    probably overkill for repairing disturbed areas at the end of a job tho
  4. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    yeah, no soil testing. not even a possibility. This business is too competitive to rack up costs in collecting and testing soil samples, we're just growing grass, not flowers for Walt Disney World!

  5. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    Ill add another point. We use river sand and batcher dirt to fill in yards and grading. Ive established some great lawns from riversand.
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