PLEASE NOTE WE CAN ONLY SUPPLY IN BULK QUANTITIES OF 20 or 29 TONNE LORRY LOADS.
MJ Abbott Direct can supply a huge variety of topsoil's to all areas of the UK.
Topsoil by its very nature as a naturally occurring product of variable quality depending on the source location.
There are three main areas to consider when choosing a good quality topsoil:
pH levels, texture and the presence of soluble salts.
pH levels start at 7 - which is neutral, this is neither acid nor alkali. When measuring topsoil pH levels, if soil is below 7 it is acidic and above 7 it is alkaline. A good quality topsoil will have a pH level of between 5.0 and 8.2.
When using the word texture to describe topsoil, it is in reference to the percentages of sand, silt and clay that are present in the topsoil. A good quality topsoil will have a balance of all three of these in order for the plants to obtain the required nutrients and to thrive.
In general terms, good quality topsoil will have less than 30% clay, less than 70% sand and less than 70% silt.
If topsoil has too many soluble salts present, it will not be able to absorb water correctly. The ideal amount of soluble salt to be present is less than 2 dS/m. If there is between 2 and 4 dS/mthis is an acceptable level of soluble salt.
Topsoil can be natural (sometimes called as-dug) or manufactured.
Manufactured soils are made by combining organic matter, mineral material and lime and/or fertiliser as appropriate to provide a medium than can develop properties similar to naturally occurring topsoil.
Some topsoil's are also derived from materials reclaimed from construction sites. These recycled soils cannot generally be relied on to be of a consistent quality, as the source material is by its nature inconsistent and as such only inconsistent results can be expected.
A British Standard for topsoil was devised in an attempt to regularise the requirements for topsoil that is to be imported or traded. It is not intended (or appropriate) for the assessment of topsoil that remains in-situ. The British Standard has evolved over recent years.
The now obsolete 1994 version (BS3882:1994) had three grades:
Premium Grade, General Purpose Grade and Economy Grade.
This system had a fundamental problem in that many specifiers and users of topsoil would always select the Premium Grade without a clear understanding of the soils end-use.
In a lot of case, Premium Grade was specified where General Purpose Grade would have been more perfectly acceptable for the project. The revised 2007 version has amalgamated these two grades into one (Multipurpose Grade).
The current 2007 version of the British Standard has two different soil specifications:
Multi-Purpose Topsoil and Specific Purpose Topsoil.
As the name implies, multi-purpose topsoil is suitable for the majority of projects.
The standard includes specific purpose topsoil's that have low fertility or are acidic or calcareous for the particular specialist needs where such topsoil's are required.
When specifying multipurpose or specific purpose topsoil, account should always be taken as to the intended use of the site at which the topsoil is to be used so that the particular properties are fit for the intended planting.
The Multi-Purpose topsoil specification includes both natural topsoil and manufactured topsoil.
If correctly handled, placed over a non-compact subsoil and managed appropriately (including attention to drainage), it is capable of sustainably supporting grass, trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and other plantings. This is the grade suited to most situations where topsoil is required.
Specific purpose Topsoil
The Specific Purpose topsoil comprises topsoil's with characteristics appropriate for more specialist applications (e.g. to support the growth of certain plants or plant communities). Specific Purpose topsoil can be specified by one or more of the following qualifiers.
- Low fertility
- Low fertility acidic
- Low fertility calcareous
These topsoil's are not appropriate for general landscaping projects.
Declaration of Analysis
In order to be compliant with BS3882:2007, topsoil suppliers must get a new sample tested for every 5000m³ of soil. The sample is sent to an accredited laboratory. When all the relevant tests have been completed, a Declaration of Analysis will be prepared. This will include:
- Location of the topsoil source, and the previous and current land use (for Natural Soils only)
- Date of Sampling and Analysis
- Test results including and Contamination Parameters
- Written confirmation of compliance with the relevant Topsoil Grade in BS3882:2007
For smaller, ad-hoc projects, MJ Abbott Direct use a network of suppliers who have a proven track record for providing good quality soils appropriate to the project requirements. Samples and Analysis results are always available when required.
For larger projects, or where continuity of supply of the soil is important, national suppliers are used that have huge and consistent supplies of soil available.
Please contact us with your requirements. We will always endeavour to provide you with a soil that is appropriate for both your project and your budget.