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Important Soil and Yard Development Terms

Before beginning any lawn and garden improvement project, it is important to understand the different types of materials you may need. It is essential to buy the right kind of soil, fertilizer, and protective groundcover. Knowledge of the different planting materials available will help you succeed. Below are seven terms to be familiar with before you tackle any lawn or garden development project.

  • Topsoil – Nutrient rich soil used in lawn and garden development. Sometimes referred to as potting soil, topsoil is key for growing indoor plants as well.
  • Mulch – Rocks, woodchips, and other organic material used to create a protective layer on top of soil. Mulch prevents weeds from growing, defends against soil erosion, and locks in moisture.
  • Compost – Organic material that has been broken down and recycled for use as a fertilizer. Compost is often mixed with soil to make for a more fertile growing material.
  • Peat – Decomposed plant material that retains moisture and stores nutrients, aiding plant growth.
  • Turf – A thin layer of dirt and grass attached at the roots. Turf, also known as sod, is typically sold in rolls or squares and can be used to develop an even and attractive lawn quickly.
  • Artificial Turf – Synthetic grass commonly used in sporting venues. Artificial turf has become increasingly popular in residential areas in the South and Southwest because it requires minimal maintenance and no irrigation.
  • Fill – Dirt used for leveling holes or altering the elevation in a yard. Fill is used in backyard projects like building ponds, pools, or patios.
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    Brick-Ends Farm
    464 Highland St, Hamilton, MA 01982
    A composting facility based in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Our company offers bulk enhanced soil products to farmers and lawn and garden centers.
    (978) 468-3131
    Ondrick Natural Earth
    729 Fuller Rd, Chicopee, MA 01020
    (413) 594-8803
    Materials Plus Inc
    11 Walker Dr, Upton, MA 01568
    (508) 529-0157
    Dexter & Harpell
    2352 Main St Ste 16, Concord, MA 01742
    (978) 897-4901
    M A Frazier Inc
    10 Kear Cir, Wellfleet, MA 02667
    (508) 349-7969
    Cavallaro Alfred J Inc
    470 S Main St, Andover, MA 01810
    (978) 475-2466
    Fuller Auto Body
    505 Washington St Ste 1, Auburn, MA 01501
    (508) 832-6352
    Poulson Ben Excavating and Trucking
    549 Sudbury Rd, Stow, MA 01775
    (978) 562-2233
    Russell Farms
    479 Washington St, Woburn, MA 01801
    (781) 938-8271
    Anthony's Loam Co
    11 Walters St, Chelmsford, MA 01824
    (978) 671-0000
    Almo's Flower & Garden Ctr
    313 Willard St, Dracut, MA 01826
    (978) 453-2121
    Metcalf Materials
    230 Grove St, Franklin, MA 02038
    (508) 528-8860
    A-1 Asphalt Co Inc
    1861 Shawmut Ave, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
    (508) 995-7272
    Tremblay E J Excavating & Trucking
    Amesbury, MA 01913
    (978) 388-8030
    Ray Robert Excavation & Trucking
    190 Hubbard Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201
    (413) 499-3127


    Topsoil is the uppermost layer of dirt. Although topsoil occurs naturally, it can take hundreds of years just to produce a couple inches of organic material that is rich enough nutrients to support flowers, crops, grasses, and other plants. Nursery centers, therefore, sell topsoil products consisting of dirt and compost. The mixture is used to farm crops, improve flower gardens, and create landscapes. Since gardening and farm suppliers often make their own version of topsoil, they can include specific mixtures of mulch, compost, dirt, and other organic materials. Certain combinations supply needed nutrients to various types of flowers and crops. Using the right topsoil, therefore, makes it easier for gardeners to grow healthy plants that produce abundant fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Recent combinations specifically made for lawns include grass seed in nutrient-rich dirt. This combination makes it possible for homeowners to grow lush lawns that resist erosion and drought. Those that do not contain any synthetic fertilizers might also be labeled as organic or sustainable, because they do not have chemicals that can damage the environment. Before choosing topsoil for your garden or landscape, contact a nursery to help you decide which option is best for your plants. Many nursery supply companies have websites where you can learn about the different types of products that they sell. Look for options that meet your specific needs. Some websites also provide information about how much water and additional nutrients that you should give your plants. The end result is often an improved lawn, turf, or garden that contains rich compost instead of dirt that has already lost its nutrients.
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