There’s a lot of commotion going on about the integrity of good topsoil. As a gardening enthusiast, you would want the absolute best for your lawn.
Whether you’re looking to improve your garden’s soil or start anew, you need to pick effective topsoil.
With that said, we’ve been asked to take a look at a product from Scotts today. It’s their premium topsoil. And through our Scotts Topsoil review, you’ll know whether it’s worth paying the premium or not.
In this article, we tried to incorporate all the necessary information. And if you’re on your way to make a purchase, we’ll guide you through the mixing process too.
We also tried to bust some myths along the way. If you have questions, I think we covered the most asked ones too. This should be a complete and comprehensive guide for you if you plan to buy Scotts Premium Topsoil. So, let’s get started-
What is Scotts Premium Topsoil
So, what actually is Scotts Premium Topsoil? Let’s clear up one thing, it’s not actually more soil for your lawn. I mean, a lot of you might think this way. So it’s better to clear the confusion right away.
This delightful-looking bag of dirt is like a conditioner for your lawn. We bought a few bags to test things out right outside. That’s because we thought a more practical approach would benefit you a bit more.
It’s full of organic matter and sphagnum peat moss. All these together can improve the overall condition of your soil. Whether you’re planning on gardening in your front yard or your backyard, I think the lawn soil needs an improvement.
And, from our observation, this should be a good upgrade.
Again, don’t get confused. It’s only a top dressing for the soil in your lawn. Along with using it as a top dressing, you can also use it as a new conditioner when you’re just starting.
You should be informed that you can only use this in-ground.
Scotts Topsoil Review
Let’s talk about our experience with the few bags that we purchased. We got three bags of the 0.75 cubic feet versions of the Premium topsoil.
Yes, it was a big bag with a red cover. We’ll divide the review into a few segments so that it’s easier for you to see-
If you’re concerned about price, I think there are actually a lot of pricier options in the market. But that doesn’t mean that this is cheap. It’s just relatively affordable.
Our lawn needed a little resurrection after it got ruined a couple of years ago. So we decided to start from scratch. We can also confirm that the dogs we have made our lives pretty hard when it comes to the lawn.
If you have dogs that dig giant holes in your lawn, you might be able to relate to what we went through. The thing is, we didn’t need a whole lot of tinkering with this one.
It’s funny because we thought there were a lot of steps that go into this. But someone told us to try this one. And, so we did. I think the topsoil actually worked like a charm.
Easy to Mix
Other than that, it was easy to mix things and pour them into the carefully made soil bed. We planned on planting a lot of plants. But I was eager to see the blueberry plants grow like crazy.
We were aware that blueberries grow quite well in the low pH topsoil. So I see this as a win, no question!
When it comes to the texture, it’s like any topsoil, really. We aren’t professionals, but we saw good topsoil from some of our friends. And other than a couple of wood chips, this topsoil was satisfactory.
They claim a lot of things like improved root development and better growth. We were just happy to see our plants grow at a much faster pace.
Out of all the seeds that we planted, the hydrangeas, gardenias, and Azaleas grew the best in the topsoil. But this just proves that the topsoil is recommended for low pH plants.
We know it takes much longer for the blueberries to grow into mature plants. But our bushes seemed to be on their way.
Things We Didn’t Like
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. That’s because two out of three of the boxes had debris in them. I don’t think this is a feature since the third bag was a good one.
Would you believe it if we said that we even found a couple of small wood chips? That’s concerning, and they should really take note of this.
I don’t think this was intentional since we had a perfectly good bag too. I’ll blame their quality control department for this.
Trust me, you won’t see ecstatic growth overnight. But if you’re serious about gardening, you should know that it’s all about patience. And thus, we were prepared to wait a year or two to see blueberries growing on the bushes.
What Problems Do Topsoil Solve?
Let’s talk about a few of the most common topsoil problems first. Most of you have unconditioned laws. That’s filthy and disgusting. Your beloved plants deserve a whole lot better. And I think a good topsoil conditioner can solve this for you.
This bag from Scotts is a decent garden and lawn conditioner. You can use it on a new lawn or as the top covering of your existing lawn too.
The problem with some of the urban lawns is that they lack sphagnum peat moss. This is concerning since there are a ton of benefits that the component can add.
Firstly, this allows the soil to trap those nutrients, so they don’t escape. So how does this happen? Well, the chemical magically increases the “cation exchange capacity.” This is called CEC, in short.
Since the component has a lower pH level, if you’re planting rhododendrons or blueberries, they’ll witness an insane growth boost. This is because these plants are typically better in acidic soils.
Benefits of Using the Topsoil
Now that you know what problems the topsoil solves, it’s time to talk about the benefits.
And, we can’t speak of the benefits without mentioning the different organic nutrients present in the mixture. So let’s start with that. We’ll be talking about the major elements that topsoil holds.
The topsoil is enriched with minerals like small rocks. Some of the rocks are full of minerals that are must-haves for the growth of your plant. You might have to check the package to see what kind of minerals they come with.
Some of the living organisms in these sorts of soil blends often come in handy. Other sources are animal wastes and residues. All these come together and aid the growth of your plants.
Most of these microorganisms work tirelessly and help break down the decomposed stuff if you didn’t know. Once the decomposed components are completely broken down, the nutrients get a chance to escape into the soil.
Water and Air
The topsoil can hold a lot of water. And they’re equally capable of promoting better aeration. So you basically get the best of both worlds.
How to Replace Soil?
Your lawn’s soil requires replacing quite often. But how do you know when you must replace the soil? Usually, if you see that the soil in your lawn is compacted, it’s time for the routine replacement.
So, why can’t you continue with that compacted soil? That’s because when the soil gets compacted, it becomes harder for the plants to suck in water. This might also lead the roots to get suffocated. Thus, it’s not recommended that you keep your garden up with compacted soil.
However, it’s challenging to replace the soil. And, since it requires a good amount of time, you might not always be free for this.
It’s not all that bad, though. Trust me, you will love the final outcome.
We’ll try to keep things short here. Here’s how you’ll replace the soil in your lawn-
Step 1: Identifying Compacted Soil
The first thing you have to do is find out which soils are affected. Go around your lawn and find out which of the areas have the most compacted soil.
An easy way to check this is by using a garden spade. Figure out how much of it is compacted using the spade.
Step 2: Making a Shape
Next up, you need to make a rectangular or circular shape around the affected area. This step will make it easier for you to uproot the compacted soil.
Step 3: Time to Spade
Use your garden spade and spade the affected soil out. If you have a wheelbarrow, it’s time for it to shine. Dig out the soil and pour them onto the wheelbarrow.
Your entire replacement process will remain organized if you follow the steps.
But how much do you spade out? It’s perfectly normal to spade out 6 inches of compacted soil if you’re planning to plant small plants.
But if you want to grow trees, it’s better to dig deeper. You might need to spade out as much as eighteen inches of compacted soil.
Step 4: Scoop Things Back
Now, you have to place the soil mixture back into the previously affected areas. Here’s where some of the novices make a mistake. You shouldn’t tap it no matter how intriguing it looks. Just let things settle naturally. Again, DO NOT TAP!
Step 5: Time Plant Seeds
After all, that’s done, you can bring your seeds. Plant the seeds in the desired places, and then you’re done. That’s it for the soil replacement part.
Topsoil vs Garden Soil
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. If you’re new to gardening, you might think that both are the same. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Don’t waste your effort by expecting a beautiful landscape when you’ve used the wrong type.
Topsoil, as the name suggests, is the top layer of soil. This has one of the most consistent textures around the planet. Plants will thrive in topsoil. Since topsoil is rich in organic matter, you can expect plants to grow decently in it.
All the natural nutrients inside topsoil will help sustain the growth of your plants.
On the contrary, garden soil is often the enriched version. Some of the brands may even include compost in it to help with the growth of plants. This isn’t the top layer of your soil if that’s what you were thinking.
But the problem with these is that you might not find a fully organic one. Almost all the brands use different chemicals and fertilizers on these. So you might not be able to get the best results out of these.
If you know how to pick your soil, you shouldn’t have trouble differentiating between these two.
Identifying Bad Topsoil
You might not be a complete professional in this area. And it’s perfectly fine. You can’t be good at everything. In this tiny section, we’ll help you find the bad soils.
If you’re just starting out with a new hobby, this isn’t going to be easy. But when you exert a lot of effort and then watch your beloved flowers bloom, it feels ecstatic.
And, simultaneously, it feels like hell when you see your flowers dying early. Sometimes, your plants can’t even reach their full potential.
Well, all these issues may occur due to bad soil. And if you can find out which soil of your lawn is bad before planting, you can save yourself from disappointment.
What’s wrong with bad soil, you may ask? Well, fertility is the biggest issue. You can expect these kinds of soil to lose out on fertility way before they’re supposed to.
And if you’ve planted trees in bad soil, you will notice that they take much longer than the average time to grow.
Likewise, your plants will lose out on much-needed nutrients side by side. Some soils may even look clumpy. That’s another way to recognize bad soil in your lawn.
Other characteristics of bad soil include bad moisture retention and subpar drainage. You might notice that water gets stuck on the surface at times. If you see this phenomenon, it’s time to replace the soil.
Topsoil Myth Busting
There are some common myths about topsoil that shouldn’t exist at all. And that’s what we’ll be talking about here.
Are All Topsoil the Same?
There’s this myth going around on the internet saying that all the topsoil that you see are the same. Well, let me burst those bubbles for you. These topsoils can be dramatically different.
Topsoil can be made from different ratios of silt, sand, and clay. So if the ratios differ, I don’t see how they can be called the same.
Although the topsoil that we’re referring to has lower pH, some have different pH levels. So you better check all the information on the packaging correctly before buying a bag from the store.
Do I Have to Till Yearly?
Some experts on the internet might tell you that it’s a must to till annually so that the topsoil is decent.
Well, here’s another expert on the internet telling you that you shouldn’t believe them. Disturbing the top layer of the soil can bring more detrimental than good.
So after you’re done preparing the soil and planting the seeds, leave it be. If you’ve seen heavily tilled soil, they’re full of weed. That’s because weed growth exponentially increases if you disturb the soil too much.
But this also contradicts something we said. We told you to get rid of compacted soil, right? Well, you can’t prevent compacted soil with tilling. That’s just a cure, not a prevention step. So it’s fine to leave the soil as it is.
It’s always a good idea to let nature handle things. I mean, among the other experts and us, nature probably has the better brains when it comes to soil mixing.
Fertilizer Isn’t Required
Lastly, this is another ridiculous myth that needs busting. Nutrients run out. That’s the sole reason why soil needs to be replenished.
And who can replenish the soil better than decent fertilizer? You can’t expect your hydrangeas to grow into beautiful plants if you never mixed fertilizer in the first place.
If you’re in need of the healthiest growth, pick any fertilizer. No matter how good the topsoil of your lawn is, you need fertilizer here. We mixed fertilizer in the soil, too, before going in with the Scotts premium topsoil. I think this is the best way to do things.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is compost bad for my lawn?
Answer: Not at all. Compost is actually recommended the most in the gardening world. But some of the topsoil in the market already comes with compost and other organic components. So it’s better to go for the topsoil brands to get the most out of it.
Question: Is topsoil better than compost for my lawn?
Answer: Yes, topsoil one-ups compost in many regards if you’re planning to plant a lot of flowers. Some of the topsoil components even contain compost. Since the entire package isn’t all that more expensive, it’s better to buy in bulk.
Question: Is my topsoil organic?
Answer: That seems to be the case. Since Scotts Premium contains actual peat moss, you can consider this as organic. It’s also packed with a ton of organic nutrients. So you can’t really go wrong with it.
Question: Can I use topsoil on my raised bed?
Answer: Yes! Other than that, you can also use the mixture in a tub. Since it’s one of the most affordable choices, you can buy it in bulk and take care of all your gardening needs.
Question: Do I need more than 5 inches of soil?
Answer: If you’re focusing on flowering plants, 6 inches should be the minimum. And this should be enough for most flowering plants. You might get away with one or two inches less. But 6 inches should be the minimum.
Question: Can I grow vegetables with this topsoil?
Answer: Yes, you can. This Scotts Premium Topsoil is decent for growing vegetables and flowers together. You can even replace the soil that’s already in your lawn with this. We think this bag from Scotts will ensure all the required nutrients.
Question: How much do I need?
Answer: It’s always better to measure the area beforehand. And if you can spread the topsoil over the garden bed, a thick layer of topsoil is a must. We stuck with 6 inches of topsoil since we wanted to start our lawn from scratch. But this will differ depending on the type of soil your lawn has.
We think that this was a good discussion. If you had any questions about this particular product from Scotts’, I think the article should cover those.
We tried to dig deep and get a practical example of how things would be with this particular topsoil. I think you’re going to like this Scotts Topsoil review since it includes all the necessary details.
We tried and tested this bag of topsoil to find out the pros and cons. The whole process was tiresome, but someone had to do it. We hope you’ll be able to make good use of the advice and grow some beautiful plants in the coming years.
Don’t just go and believe all the myths you see on the internet. That’s about it for us. We hope we could help out with your gardening plans. Good luck, stay safe, and happy gardening!
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