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What's the Difference Between Topsoil & Potting Soil? April 3, 2019

West Hamilton, Hamilton
What's the Difference Between Topsoil & Potting Soil?, Hamilton, Ohio

If you’re a novice gardener hoping to test your green thumb this spring, you may have many questions about the various supplies you need. As you roam the aisles of your landscaping equipment and tool rental store, you may encounter unfamiliar items, from aerators and tillers to sod cutters and bed edgers – not to mention bagged mulch, soils, and fertilizer. One important lesson you’ll need to learn early on is the difference between potting soil and topsoil. Use the following information to take better care of your plantings. 

How Topsoil & Potting Soil Differ

What Is Topsoil?

Topsoil is essentially dirt. It may include sand or clay, as well as compost and other organic particles. It’s used for securing plants in the ground and giving them direct access to nutrients. This dense, heavy mixture retains water, which helps thirsty plants absorb the moisture they need at a steady pace. As native plants grow and eventually die, they decompose and become part of the topsoil, creating a nutrient-rich base for future growth.

If there are holes or depressions in your landscape, such as along the sides of walkways or in the middle of your lawn, you can use topsoil to fill these gaps. You can also apply a layer of rich topsoil over a sandy or clay-filled base before laying sod patches to ensure the grass takes root and continues to thrive. Topsoil will also ensure the health of new trees and shrubs, so sprinkle it wherever you’re hoping to make your property more fertile.

What Is Potting Soil?

tool rentalDespite its name, potting soil is usually soil-free. It can usually be bought in bags at landscaping supply and tool rental stores. It’s used for surrounding plants in containers. Potting soil is composed of many particles, from composted sawdust to organic materials like peat moss. Unlike topsoil, this mixture is light, fluffy, and full of air pockets, which allows water to drain easily and dry fast. This landscaping supply is best for filling pots to line your patio or decorate your home’s interior.


If you’re looking for topsoil for your garden, get in touch with Hamilton Rental Center of southwest Ohio. This one-stop shop for landscaping supplies and tool rentals has everything you need to keep your yard blooming as the temperatures continue to rise. They also offer heavy-duty equipment for rent, including aerial lifts and plumbing gear. For more information on their offerings, visit the website, or call (513) 868-8665 for tool rentals today.

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