How to Protect Topsoil from Old Man Winter

How to protect topsoil in cold weather

There’s no doubt about it: It’s cold out there.

That’s why – before winter truly hit – you learned how to protect topsoil and took steps to prepare your landscaping for the season, such as:

  • Pruning and removing dead plants or branches
  • Removing weeds
  • Getting up on a ladder and cleaning your gutters
  • Raking leaves like a pro

You may have also spread one last layer of topsoil from Lane’s Landscaping Supplies wherever it was needed.

Unfortunately, that topsoil has been exposed to the worst of Old Man Winter all season long.

Snow. Ice. Wind. Cold temperatures. You name it.

While you’re warm and toasty inside, here’s what your topsoil is dealing with (and how you can help bring it back to life once spring hits).

Ways to prevent topsoil erosion

One question many people ask is “should I cover may garden in the winter?”

How to protect your topsoil from erosion

A quick science lesson: Erosion takes place when something on the surface of the earth (like wind, heat, snow, water, etc.) breaks down and removes soil.

All winter long, your topsoil (and even your mulch, for that matter) is eroding and thinning out.

That means:

  • Topsoil loses the natural organic elements it needs to stay strong
  • Frozen water within the topsoil prevents air from freely flowing through
  • Any organisms living in the soil (even during winter) can’t produce vital nutrients

Something to remember: Besides looking good on your garden, the main job of topsoil is to provide heat and to protect anything that’s underneath from freezing (such as plant roots).

At the start of winter, your topsoil was strong.

But was winter moves along, your topsoil erodes and loses its effectiveness.

It freezes, then thaws, then freezes again, then thaws again…

Although it’s feels like Antarctica out there, winter has essentially been one long freeze/thaw cycle:

Freeze-thaw cycle

  • The temperature goes down, and your topsoil and any moisture trapped within get frozen
  • Then, the temperature goes up a few degrees and everything thaws out

And the cycle repeats itself on a regular basis.

As your topsoil freezes and thaws, freezes and thaws, it breaks down (that’s the soil erosion mentioned earlier in this blog) and reveals the root system of any plant products underneath.

For the most part, your soil can handle freeze/thaw cycles, so you don’t really need to consider how to protect topsoil.

Plant roots, on the other hand, cannot.

They’ll quickly get weak (remember, roots are designed to be warm underground, not cold above it) and can actually become fully uprooted.

How to protect topsoil from frosting

The topsoil in your garden beds is full of tiny pockets of water.

When the water closest to the surface begins to frost (and eventually freeze), any microorganisms living there have to leave too (for their own survival).

As a result, that “upper layer” or topsoil doesn’t get the same vitamins and minerals as it normally would.

Once spring hits, those frozen areas melt away and can decay, disease or rot the soil.

How to get your soil ready for springHow to protect your topsoil and get it ready for spring

The first day of spring is Tuesday, March 20.

But you can get a head-start on revitalizing your topsoil by taking the following steps:

  • Remove any fallen debris (leaves, branches, etc.) that’s settled on top of it
  • As soon as the weather permits, aerate the soil
  • Pick up and apply natural fertilizer

And yes, you’ll want to calculate how much topsoil you need and spread a fresh layer as soon as possible.

Contact us with your topsoil needs

It’s February. It’s cold out.

You’re probably not thinking about your garden topsoil.

But in spring, you will be.

Contact us for a FREE quote on the topsoil you need and to arrange delivery to your home in:

  • Mississauga
  • Oakville
  • Brampton
  • Burlington
  • Milton
  • Greater Toronto Area

Get a free quote on topsoil