Should You Buy Unscreened or Screened Topsoil?

Sep 29, 2017

If you need topsoil for any area of your garden, you need to be careful what you are buying and who you are buying from. You must make sure you use a reputable provider like Wiltshire Grab Hire otherwise you may find yourself with inferior topsoil that is useless for your needs.


What Are the Differences?

Depending on your requirements, there are two main types of topsoil, these are screened and unscreened and have
very different uses. 

Unscreened Topsoil

Unscreened topsoil is just as the name suggests, it comes without having been broken down into fine particles, or had any large items removed from it. Often sourced from excavations, it is likely to arrive containing rocks and stones, sticks, wood chips, weeds, and roots. This is not an issue as long as you weren’t planning on using it for growing plants and vegetables.

Screened Topsoil

The unscreened topsoil can be turned into screened topsoil as the process removes larger lumps and all the debris mentioned earlier. It is usually passed through a specific size of mesh so that anything bigger than this does not get into the final product. It is important that this screening process is thorough because if this type of soil is used for growing plants, the last thing you need is the inclusion of extra weeds and roots in your garden. This becomes particularly important if the roots or weeds are of a virulent weed variety. As the Royal Horticultural Society note Japanese knotweed can be a particular issue if accidentally included in a soil delivery as it is very difficult to get rid of.


What Uses Do They Have?

Uses for Unscreened Topsoil

Unscreened topsoil is well-suited as a base for creating a garden or for construction projects, for example, filling holes or levelling off a sloping garden. It can also be used for raised beds, but if you are planning on growing any plants, a top layer of screened topsoil will be essential. This is because the roughness of the unscreened soil and the fact that it contains many large bits of detritus mean that the plants struggle to grow sufficient roots. Also, due to the nature of the soil, it can trap water, contributing to root rot.

Uses for Screened Topsoil

If you are planning on growing plants and flowers or laying a lawn, screened topsoil should be ideal. It will be loose and evenly sized to give you excellent drainage, as well as allowing nutrients to enhance the growth of your plants. Additionally, it can save you from extra work as the unwanted weeds will have been removed.


Final Decision

Therefore, the difference in your choice comes down to how you are likely to use the topsoil. If you are just filling in gaps or general landscaping, then the unscreened soil will be sufficient. However, if you would like to grow plants, including flowers and vegetables, then screened soil will be essential to ensure proper growth of your new garden.

Should You Buy Unscreened or Screened Topsoil?