Tips For Recovering Topsoil After Construction

Topsoil is a vital component of any healthy lawn or garden. This soil is the relatively thin layer of soil on top, generally only extending down several inches. It's composed of soil, organic matter and microorganisms – the key components for a healthy growing area. It can be destroyed during construction if steps are taken to preserve it. If you are having construction done at your home, the following tips can help you preserve and improve your topsoil. 

Tip #1: Save the native soil

The native topsoil is the best topsoil. The microorganisms in it have evolved to your climate and growing conditions, so they will thrive better than those in a topsoil trucked in from elsewhere. Talk with your construction crew before they begin. They should scrape the topsoil from the site and pile it in an out of the way area. If you are concerned about it blowing, cover it with a tarp. The soil should also be kept lightly moistened to ensure any helpful organisms, like worms, in the soil survive.

Tip #2: Till before reapplying

Construction equipment is heavy. This usually means the work site gets quite compacted before the project is finished. The problem with compaction of the subsoil is that water can't soak into it easily. This leads to water staying just above the subsoil and results in soggy topsoil. The waterlogged soil will cause plants and grass to die. It can also lead to increased fungal problems, such as mushroom or moss growth. Have the top foot or so of the subsoil tilled to loosen it up before you replace the topsoil. This will work air and moisture into it so you don't have compaction problems.

Tip #3: Add new topsoil wisely

Sometimes your existing topsoil just won't be enough. This usually occurs either because some topsoil was lost to wind, or because you simply didn't have sufficient topsoil beforehand. In this case, purchase outside topsoil carefully. Make sure it has been screened to remove any large rocks or debris. You also want to get the test data sheet for the soil. This will show the soil's pH level and nutrient content. You can then perform a test on your native topsoil to determine its content. This will allow you to pick an outside topsoil that closely resembles your native soil.

Before the truck arrives with the outside topsoil, spread your native topsoil over the site. Then, top this with the outside soil. You can then use a cultivator to mix the two topsoils together. This will allow your native microorganisms to begin populating the outside soil so it will act more like native topsoil. For additional reading, contact local professionals.