Unscreen vs. screen topsoil

Written by suzanne alicie
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Unscreen vs. screen topsoil
What type of topsoil do you need? (empty planting pots image by askthegeek from Fotolia.com)

Topsoil has many uses. Whether it is for a lawn or garden, there are different types of topsoil available. When it comes to choosing topsoil, deciding whether to get screened or unscreened soil is a big decision that can make a difference in how you are able to use the soil. For some uses, unscreened may be fine, but for others, screened topsoil will make the process easier and more effective.

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What is Unscreened Topsoil?

Unscreened topsoil can be purchased as is. It is simply soil that has been excavated from a site and is ideal to use for levelling or filling in low areas. This soil has not been broken down or sifted in any way and may have roots, weeds, sticks and rocks in it. Unscreened topsoil is not recommended for gardening uses.

What is Screened Topsoil?

Screened topsoil is the same soil as unscreened, but it has been sifted or screened to remove clumps, rocks, roots, sticks and other debris that may have been in it. Screened topsoil is great for gardening because it mixes easily with potting soils, compost and fertiliser, and is generally loose and easy to amend for drainage.

Uses for Unscreened Topsoil

Hole filling, levelling, wall support, raised bed filler and many other construction and maintenance projects are all ways that unscreened topsoil may be used.

Uses for Screened Topsoil

Gardening, lawn preparation, flower pots and planters, and as a walkway base are ideal uses for screened topsoil. You wouldn't want unscreened for these uses because of the clumps, sticks and even weeds that may be in the soil.

Price Difference

When purchasing topsoil, you will notice a big price difference, which is why the lower-priced unscreened soil is usually used for large projects, while the screened topsoil that costs more is used for more specific jobs. If you are planting a new lawn, use unscreened for levelling and filling, then apply a layer of screened on top for planting your grass seed.

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