Is It Possible for Topsoil to Overheat in the Summer?

Hot summer sun

Summer’s in full effect here at Lane’s Landscaping Supplies.

And no doubt about it, the hot weather is doing a number on your grass, plants, and topsoil.

Speaking of which, as the sun beats down on your topsoil, the nutrients and moisture that’s so vital to garden growth naturally dries out.

However, can it get too hot; to the point that healthy topsoil becomes dead dirt?

Yes, it can.

And this is how you can tell.

Inspect the colour of your topsoil

Good, strong topsoil should be:

A sure sign that your topsoil is drying out and losing all the good stuff your landscape needs is if appears to be lighter and browner than usual.

In that case, water it and apply a fresh layer of mulch to quickly bring it back to life.

Digging topsoilGrab a shovel and start digging

Firstly, take note of the appearance of the very top layer of topsoil.

Then with your shovel, dig straight down to a depth of approximately 3 ft. and compare how it looks to that upper-most layer.

Here’s what you should watch out for:

  • Colour: It should all be the same colour (dark, rich black is ideal).
  • Clumping: Is the soil compacted together to the point that roots can’t easily grow through it?
  • Workability: Do you need to break it up before you can spread or apply it properly?

The hotter your topsoil product is, the harder it is for you to manipulate it.

Look at it this way: If you’re having trouble working with or through your topsoil, so will your plants and flowers.

What’s the soil structure?

The hallmarks of ideal topsoil structure are:

  • Soil and tiny aggregate particles which stick together a little bit, but not to the point that it’s 100% clumpy.
  • Openings within the soil to allow roots, air, and water to easily flow through.

When topsoil gets too hot, it begins to close up. As a result, plant roots and moisture gets caught or trapped inside it.

Handful of topsoilSoil texture

Time to literally get your hands dirty:

  • Scoop up a handful of topsoil.
  • Add water.
  • Squeeze it.

If you can’t really shape it or work with it (even with water added to it), then it’s way too dry.

Check the soil temperature

Your topsoil will thrive between 26°C and 30°C.

The best way to know for sure is to purchase a soil thermometer, stick it in the ground, and monitor it regularly.

Need topsoil? We’ve got you (and your garden) covered

To answer the original question in this blog: Yes, topsoil can get too hot.

So, if you think your topsoil isn’t performing as it usually does, then it’s time to put down a fresh layer of healthy topsoil.

Use the FREE topsoil calculator

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