Topsoil Removal


Topsoil, the topmost layer of soil, has more nutrient-rich organic material than other soil layers and is a precious commodity needed for proper plant growth. Unlike the less rich, light and fine soil beneath it, topsoil is usually dark and coarse. Although it can be removed for creating roads or other building projects, it should always be transported to an area that needs it rather than be thrown away. Without topsoil, plants can't grow and erosion can occur, making the land unstable.

Step 1

Pull all the weeds from the area of topsoil you want to remove. Rake any large rocks out of the way and place them in a pile.

Step 2

Use the hoe to gently pull the topsoil into a pile. Dig down with the hoe until the soil changes color from dark to light and the texture of the soil changes from coarse to fine. The thickness of the topsoil varies depending on the area. You may have to dig down only an inch or up to several feet.

Step 3

Remove the area's topsoil with the hoe and place it in a mound. Shovel the topsoil into a wheelbarrow and dump it wherever it can be incorporated into a new landscape.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow


  • Arizona Master Gardener: Soils and Fertilizers
  • Universtiy of Washington: 3-Way & 5-Way Soil Mixes
  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food: Topsoil Removal

Who Can Help

  • University of Conneticut: Purchasing Topsoil
Keywords: topsoil removal, removing topsoil, topsoil removal guide

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.