Proper Soil Testing Methodology – Ask Tom Series

Should you buy engineered soil?

The success of a landscaping project is highly dependent on the type of soil you’re using. If you use existing soil, it’s critical to know what kind of soil you’re working with. If you’re starting with imported manufactured soils from a good-quality supplier, the geographical location of your site will also dictate what type of soil that you use to a certain extent.

This is where testing becomes important. The lower mainland of BC, for example, contains various types of soil. As a result, it’s necessary to test the soil in the exact area you will be working on to ensure a successful project.

But what is the most effective soil testing methodology?

soil in bucketA. Properly collect soil

To get good results back from the lab, follow these steps.

  1. First, get a clean bucket.
  2. Collect samples of soil only (excluding roots, small twigs, and stones) from multiple points on the site. It’s important to get below the turf and to only take soil from the areas that you’re going to be using. Make sure there aren’t too many contaminants that have migrated into your sample.
  3. It’s also possible to use a screening or filter system to get some of the bigger products. Note that contaminants may be small and they can sometimes go through the screen.
  4. The remainder of screen material needs to be put into one or two 1-litre bags and made available to your laboratory.plastic_bags_large

B. Review the Soil Stats

Legitimate manufactured and engineered soil providers should have soil analyses available; this is something consumers should definitely pay attention to. These analyses will be specific to the type of soil you want to use, whether that be, for example, in your turf grass or planting beds. Don’t accept a soil analysis for a manufactured soil that is not for the application you are using the soil for.

And finally, the analyses should also be fairly recent—at least within 6 to 8 weeks of time delivery. If it not recent then it negates the fact that there is a soil analysis at all. When someone provides you with an older soil analysis it doesn’t tell you what has happened to the soil from the time the soil was tested to when it was sold and delivered to your project. There are numerous things that could have been done and there is no guarantee that it is the correct type of soil you need. 

Contact Denbow’s soil expert team today to find out more about the line up of engineered soils we offer.