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Question DetailsAsked on 5/27/2016

Sterilized topsoil delivered to 12726

I need 200 cubic yards of sterilized topsoil to be delivered to 12726

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3 Answers


That is a LOT of sterilized topsoil - I am curious as heck why you want so much unless this is for a commercial greenhouse or arboretum or such, or you have miscalculated and you mean 200 cubic feet or something like that. Remember, a cubic yard is 27 cubic feet or about 54 of the normal bags in the home center, so for 200CY you are looking at about 15-20 of the normal size dump trucks you see hauling stuff all the time, about 8-10 of the large sidedumper tractor trailers, or in store size bags about 10 normal tractor trailers.

Sterilized topsoil is generally only used for interior uses to prevent insects in the building, and in small quantities in planter beds to prevent invasive weeds. For outdoor use, sterilized topsoil is generally a mistake because you have destroyed the biosystem that makes the topsoil work and promote plant growth, so you are going to then amend it with non-sterilized soil to provide the biota - or wait several years for it develop by itself.

And if you are looking for this for a large new lawn, certainly sterlized soil is a waste of money and not as good for the job as regular topsoil.

Anyway, for that kind of quantity - couple of choices:

1) you can go through a local greenhouse / home center soil/rock product wholesaler to have it shipped to you

2) you can deal with a home improvement store to have a special shipment to you direct

3) you can google for nationwide sterilized topsoil manufacturers about a special shipment

4) you can hire a landscaping firm to provide the product and unload, move and place it.

For that quantity, your choices are (and bear in mind how you are going to unload and handle this at delivery point and at your location) -

- 30-100 pound bags - most commonly found are 40-50# - which is what stores and some wholesalers would be offering, so about 8-10 or more tractor-trailer loads - at probably about ballpark $80-100/CY in-store or delivered to you for those who do deliveries. For this quantity there should not be a separate delivery charge - the truckloads would just be delivered to you instead of the store, though would mean receiving shipments over many days - and if from a place that does not regularly deliver pallets so they bring a forklift or pallet handler and liftgate with them (like Lowes/Home Depot for instance) you would have to have a way to unload themn.

- 500# to 1 CY (roughly 1 ton) maxi bags - giant tyvek type bags, shippable by flatbed truck (so still about 8-10 truckloads or more depending on road weight limits along the way), at probably about $50-75/CY plus or minus

- bulk soil delivered by a couple of covered (to keep stray seeds and insects out in transit and keep dry) side-dump railcars to some local soil and rock products distributor, to then be loaded by them into dumptrucks to deliver to you, at probably about $50/CY ballpark

- bulk soil delivered to you by covered dumptruck or max-haul size side dumper tractor trailer (so about 10-20 truckloads) at probably about $40-60/CY, if you can find a local (within say 100 miles or less) manufacturer who will ship to you.

One other possible provider source - contact the Cooperative Extension Service or Ag Center at Cornell University - they might know of eastern/midstate NY sterilized topsoil producers. Ditto for Penn State since you are on the line. Local county USDA ag agent might well know of local ones too.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Thanks a lot to LCD for your fast response to my question. You took the time to give me such an extensive detailed explanation that for the time being will not deter me from trying to get the soil. All my local topsoil providor do not have good quality regular topsoil as they come with so many weed's seeds that it is impossible to fight. I have very, very big lawn are that the topsoil was washed out along the years and the tree roots are being seen all over the place. Four years ago I purchased a few yards of topsoil for my vegetable garden and I still spend about 2 days a week pulling them out. any more comments are very much appreciated

Answered 4 years ago by Talilior


I have never had a real problem with significant number of weeds in topsoil, but then to me fall weed-n-feed application to put pre-emergent weedkiller in the soil for spring weed killing is pretty much a standard procedure for lawns - without it you WILL have weeds with almost any topsoil, because by definition "topsoil" includes surficial growth matter and roots and weeds. About the only naturally mostly "sterile" topsoil you could get would probably be glacial windblown loess deposits from below the existing topsoil layer if you are in that part of the midwest, northern tier states or Canada - but then you would not have any organics in it either so you would need to seriously amend it to grow anything well in it.

One thing to remember - longer lawn is healthier for it and crowds out weeds, so cutting it 3-4 inches long versus golf-course cutting it will choke out a lot of weeds - especially the low-lying ones like chickweed and ground clover and such - not so much effect on dandelions and sorrel and other tall weeds, though you want to be sure to kill or at least cut them before they can form seed heads. Not just before they actually go to seed - the seed heads, if mowed off, will still commonly produce some new plants even if not fully developed to the point of broadcasting their seeds - so like with dandelions you have to kill/pull/cut them before they form the yellow flowers, not just before the seed puffballs form. And of course some weeds spread by rhizomes and roots - the roots pop up new plants every so many inches, like clover and lupine and crabgrass and such, so those you basically have to poison or dig up the roots to kill.

So - guess you are stuck with the high cost of buying heat-sterilized soil from a company that produces sterilized soil for sale by the bag or to greenhouses and such, using weedkiller, or keeping up the hand weeding at leat to some extent.

Maybe check around with commercial grow operations (large greenhouses, ornamental plant nursery farms) on what they use and who they get it from to get a low-weed product - though many may use bagged product, or mulch to suppress the weeds. You could also contact local sod farms and see if they also sell topsoil from the areas where they have stripped the sod off - but most likely will not unless going out of business or selling out to land developers, because they want the topsoil there to grow another crop of sod on.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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