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This specification covers the physical evaluation of an inorganic soil containing a limited amount of organic material, relative to its use as topsoil for landscaping and horticultural purposes in construction. Though the presence of the correct nutrients and pH status in the soil is necessary for healthy plant growth, this specification, however, does not address either the determination or the availability of such properties. When physically evaluating soil relative to its suitability to support plant growth (primarily grasses), tests must be made to determine the presence and the amount of organic matter, inorganic matter (sand, silt, and clay), and deleterious materials (rocks, gravel, slag, cinder, roots, and sod). The apparatuses required here are sieves and containers, balances, and a muffle furnace.
This abstract is a brief summary of the referenced standard. It is informational only and not an official part of the standard; the full text of the standard itself must be referred to for its use and application. ASTM does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents of this abstract are accurate, complete or up to date.
Significance and Use
4.1 When physically evaluating a soil, relative to its suitability to support plant growth (primarily grasses), tests must be made to determine the presence and the amount of organic matter, inorganic matter (sand, silt and clay), and deleterious materials.
4.2 The quality of the result produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.
1.1 This specification covers a physical evaluation of an inorganic soil containing a limited amount of organic material, relative to its use as a topsoil for horticultural purposes in construction. For classification, a full agricultural textural classification may be used.
1.2 The presence in the soil of the correct nutrients and pH status is necessary for healthy plant growth. This specification does not, however, cover a determination of the nutrients, nor their availability.2
1.3 Typical general ranges of soil content are presented in Table 1. Soils falling within these ranges will generally form a suitable topsoil. It must, however, be recognized that in some geographic regions, concurrence with the values of Table 1 would be most difficult. In such cases, locally acceptable specifications would need to be developed.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids
D1140 Test Methods for Amount of Material in Soils Finer than No. 200 (75-m) Sieve
D2974 Test Methods for Moisture, Ash, and Organic Matter of Peat and Other Organic Soils
D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction
D4972 Test Method for pH of Soils
D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data
E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
E145 Specification for Gravity-Convection and Forced-Ventilation Ovens
ICS Number Code 65.020.40 (Landscaping and silviculture)
UNSPSC Code 11111503(Topsoil)
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ASTM D5268-13, Standard Specification for Topsoil Used for Landscaping Purposes, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.orgBack to Top