This page provides a brief synopsis of the types of soil we sell. For more information please click on the links provided.
cubic yard weighs approximately 1.25 tons (weight will vary depending
on moisture content). This soil is not a byproduct of gravel mining nor
has it been hauled in from construction sites. It is river soil that
has been mined from Black Gold’s pit in Big Flats
Our soil is routinely tested at Cornell University’s Nutrient
Analysis Lab for composition and texture. Testing reveals that the pH
levels range from a low of 6.0 to a high of 6.8, and the soil is
classified as “loam” on the USDA’s (soil) textural triangle. (Click here for more information).
topsoil has been screened to 1” to remove any large rocks, sticks,
sod,, etc., which are larger than 1” in diameter. Screened topsoil is
always recommended if you will be working the soil by hand. (Click here for more information).
is the very same soil we use to make our screened topsoil, however it
could contain large rocks, sticks, sod, etc., which can make the
material difficult to work with. For this reason, we do not recommend
working this soil by hand. We encourage you to view the soil
prior to purchase as the amount of rocks, sticks, organic matter, etc .
can vary depending on what area of the mine site we are pulling it
from. (Click here for more information).
Garden Blend Soil: Black
Gold’s Garden Blend Soil is a mixture of screened topsoil, organic
compost, and sand. The sand provides aeration and balances out the
compost’s high water retention capability. When the sand and compost
are blended with our topsoil, the result is a growing medium well
suited to a wide range of plants and vegetables. NOTE: To maximize the
production of your vegetables and flowers you may need to adjust the pH
levels and nutritive quality of the soil to meet the specific needs of
each type plant you are growing. Consult with your local nursery or
Fill: Substandard soil which will contain sticks, stones, sod and may contain small amounts of inorganic debris.
Bulk vs. Bagged:
Buying topsoil in bulk is very different from buying it in bags from a
home improvement store. When you buy topsoil in bags you have virtually
no stones, roots, etc., in it – but you also pay a whole lot more for
it. As an example, even if you were only paying a dollar a bag for a 20
pound bag, that comes out to $100 per ton versus an average of around
$10 per ton for bulk topsoil in the Twin Tiers area.
Screened or Unscreened:
Bulk topsoil can be screened or unscreened, and varies greatly in it’s
composition and quality from one vendor to the next. “Screened”
topsoil, as the name implies, means that the soil passes through
a screen with set sized holes. The screen filters out stones,
roots, sod and other foreign material that are larger than the holes in
the screen. Soil that passes through a screen will be much easier to
work with than soil that has not been screened because there is less
foreign material in it and because the screen breaks up any large
the smaller the holes in the screen, the less foreign matter the
finished product will contain. Screen size, in and of itself, doesn’t
tell the whole story though. Every mine site is different – a screen
size that works well at one site (or even a particular area of a mine
site) may not be adequate at another. At Black Gold, for example, we
generally pass our topsoil through a 1” screen. However, if we move to
an area of the mine site than has a high content of very small stone,
we may drop the screen size down to ¾” to attain a product that is up
to our standards.
If you are doing a large scale project and are using a rock hound to work
the soil, unscreened topsoil may be an option for you. But bear in mind
that even though the cost of unscreened soil is less, you will have to
invest time to get the soil to spread evenly (removing rocks and other
debris) and you are actually paying for less soil (screened topsoil is
kind of like buying a boneless steak – you’re paying only for the meat, whereas unscreened topsoil is like buying meat on the bone where the
weight of the bone is figured into the price).
Price per Ton vs. Price per Cubic Yard:
When you’re figuring out how much topsoil you need for your project you will need to calculate how many cubic yards are needed. When you think
of it that way, how much the soil weighs is kind of a moot point.
However, many area vendors sell their topsoil by weight rather than
volume. So, if you’re shopping around there are some important
questions to ask if you want to compare apples to apples.
The first question is “What is your average
weight per cubic yard, and how did you determine that?” Soil weight can
vary greatly depending on the composition of the soil, and its moisture
content. If there’s a lot of sand or moisture in the soil, it will
weigh a lot more than dry, loamy soil. For example, our topsoil which,
is measured and sold by the cubic yard can vary in weight by as much as
300 pounds per cubic yard depending solely on its moisture content. The
volume, however, does not change. An inch on a brick is the same as an
inch on a feather, but the brick sure weighs more!
The next question is “Have you had your soil tested to see how much sand is in it?” There are two reasons for asking this question. The first is
that the more sand there is, the more the soil will weigh.
The second reason is sand doesn’t retain water well so the more sand
there is, the more you’ll have to water your plants. While some sand is
good, too much can be a negative. To find out more, click here.