Soil

Discover our soils and their use.

What is topsoil?

Topsoil is a term used generically to indicate a substrate for the growth and development of plants. Specifically, each plant needs a different soil, which is ideal in terms of composition, chemical-physical properties and pH, allowing the correct supply of water and release of nutrients. Soil is used both for growing plants in pots and for greenhouses and gardens. The choice of the right mix of substances and elements is therefore fundamental for the success of a cultivation, from the single plant in a pot to football pitches.

What does topsoil consist of? 

In nature, topsoil is composed of soil, plant waste and draining elements – which can be clay, lapillus, pebbles or sand. Depending on the type of soil used, the soil will have different properties and characteristics and will be more or less suitable for one plant than for another. There are mainly three types of soil for creating topsoil as follows: 

Sandy soil: very thin and light, particularly suitable for absorbing water although with less nutrient supply. Calcareous soil: dry, particularly rich in silica and calcium.

Types of topsoil

There are many varieties of soil, and an initial distinction can be made between natural soil and cultivation soil. In natural topsoil, plants already existing in nature, spontaneously grow in it. Growing soil, on the other hand, is a soil created by combining natural soil and specific nutrients, which may be vegetable, mineral or organic, ideal 

for the growth of specific plants. Potting soil is generally composed of a vegetable part and an inert part composed of sand or pumice -which is ideal for draining the plant. The most common topsoils are made up of a combination of peat, plant residues and humus.

Soil for hobby use 

This term is usually used to describe the types of universal soil intended for hobby use for a wide range of plants. It is an industrial soil composed of different types of peat such as white peat, black peat, humus, and organic vegetable components. The percentages of the raw materials used determine the quality range and market price. Raw materials consisting mainly of agricultural or industrial waste give the potting soil a lower agronomic and commercial value. 

Soil for Professional Use 

These soils, commonly called substrates, are usually used in the field of professional cultivations such as those in greenhouses or in nurseries for outdoor shrubs. In this case only high quality raw materials such as peat, pumice, pearlite, lapilli, zeolite or coconut fibre are used. 

The end use categories are mainly the following ones: 

Protected crops or greenhouse crops. Due to climatic and environmental conditions, a more defined specificity regarding the chemical and physical characteristics of the substrate is required. Usually the substrates used here are subdivided into Substrates for Sowing, Substrates for transplanting short crop cycle species and Substrates for cultivating long crop cycle plants or perennials. Other substrates with a high specificity in protected cultivation are those intended for the cultivation of succulents, orchids, bonsai and acidophilic plants. 

Outdoor nurseries. 

In this case, cultivation in unprotected environments of shrubs, fruit trees or aromatic plants. Except in the case of plants with special needs, the division in this case is between substrates intended for small containers and those of medium or large size. The larger the container and the larger the mass of substrate, the more draining and porous the substrate must be. 

In the container cultivation of shrubs in outdoor nurseries this specificity is therefore less evident. Another use for this type is the transplanting and rooting of vines, olive trees and fruit trees or shrubs in difficult soils such as clay. Raw materials such as Pumice and Blond Peat are widely used in this sector. 

Gardening 

Gardening includes specific types of substrates such as those destined for the formation or regeneration of lawns, those for the formation of roof gardens, as well as those for the formation of flower boxes. In this case the chemical and physical characteristics are radically different from one Substrate to another.

As a general rule in the characteristics of potting soils or substrates, a general rule must be taken: each plant needs a specific substrate. This specificity must be ensured by the right balance between the solid and watery parts and the right amount of air in the substrate. All this must be combined with an adequate supply of nutrients and a correct pH.