What’s Happening To Your Topsoil Right Now?

Cold Temp

It’s bitterly cold out right now.

Thankfully, you’re indoors. All warm and cozy.

And before winter truly hit in December, you took the time to prepare your backyard for winter by wrapping trees in burlap sacks and bringing fragile plants indoors.

Unfortunately, though, your triple mix topsoil from Van Beek’s Garden Supplies needs to stay outdoors all winter long.

So what’s happening to it? And how will you take care of it once spring arrives?

Read on to find out.

Thermometer in soilExtremely cold temperatures lead to soil erosion

Soil erosion is a common soil term we use at both our Oakville and Mississauga locations.

Erosion takes place when topsoil breaks down due to ice, snow and other chilly conditions.

As a result:

  • Black garden soil loses vital minerals it needs to keep healthy during the winter
  • Air flow through the soil to plants and roots becomes restricted
  • Organisms living in the soil aren’t as effective in producing beneficial nutrients

The main job of topsoil is to protect everything underneath it – such as roots systems, microbes and other subterranean animals – from freezing.

Additionally, a thick layer of topsoil retains heat, which is absolutely essential as winter progresses.

But the soil itself becomes weaker and more ineffective during the season.

And that leads to soil erosion.

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The “frost layer”

There are pockets of water throughout your topsoil products.

When the water that’s closest to the surface freezes, that’s called the “frost layer.”

(However, it’s worth noting that the “frost layer” can actually go several feet deep.)

While those pockets of water solidify into ice, the microorganisms living inside them have to leave. Otherwise, they’ll freeze too.

So those frozen pockets don’t get the same level of attention as thawed or dried areas of your topsoil do (because they’re inaccessible).

When spring finally hits and those frozen pockets eventually melt, they may be rotted or decayed.

A small frozen pocket here and there may not seem like a big deal.

But several hundred pockets inside the “frost layer” will compromise the strength and integrity of your topsoil; leaving it unequipped to handle spring and summer plant, flower or sod growth.

Freeze thaw cycleFreeze/thaw cycles

If you remember, winter 2015/2016:

  • Started out mild
  • Got a little chilly (but not too cold)
  • Warmed up
  • Got really cold
  • Stayed that way until spring

So far, this winter hasn’t followed the same pattern.

But there have been small instances where the ground has frozen, only to thaw and freeze back again.

As the composition of triple mix soil freezes and thaws, it breaks down and exposes the roots of plants around it.

And while the soil may be okay, the roots won’t be.

They’ll quickly become damaged and in some extreme cases, the thawing soil can actually uproot them from the ground.

top-soilTips on preparing your topsoil for spring

Although spring feels like light years away (the first day of spring is Monday, March 20), it’s never too early to think about getting your soil ready for when it arrives.

Some things you can do (when the time comes) include:

  • Clear your triple mix soil of any debris or junk (like leaves or branches) that’s on top of it
  • Aerate the soil as soon as possible
  • Boost it with some organically natural soil fertilizer

Most importantly, though, you’ll want to spread a fresh layer of topsoil onto your garden, plant or tree beds as soon as possible.

That way, your yard gets a nice, fresh replenishment of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients it lost over the winter.

Contact us for all your topsoil needs

Right now, in the dead of winter, you’re probably not thinking about working on your topsoil.

But spring will be here before you know it.

Why not get an early start?

Contact us to request a FREE topsoil quote or to arrange bagged topsoil delivery to wherever you live in Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Burlington or any of the surrounding areas.

Ask for a FREE quote