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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.
1.1 This specification covers a physical evaluation of a soil containing organic material, relative to its use as a topsoil for vegetative growth purposes in landscaping and construction. For classification, a full agricultural textural classification may be used. Soils being evaluated for use as a topsoil must meet the requirements in .
1.2 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, moisture content, inorganic matter (sand, silt and clay), pH, salt content, cation exchange capacity percentages and deleterious materials.
1.3 The presence in the soil of the correct nutrients, salts, and pH is necessary for healthy plant growth. This specification does not cover a determination of the nutrients, nor their availability.
1.4 Typical ranges of topsoil composition are presented in . Soils falling within these ranges will generally form a suitable topsoil. Soils being used as a topsoil with organic matter contents between 10 and 90 %, may need to be amended prior to use. It must, however, be recognized that in some geographic regions, achieving the values in could be difficult. In such cases, alternative specifications may need to be considered, or an engineered soilamendment meeting the requirements in excluding the sand, silt, and clay content as those materials will come from the subsurface soil being amended. When using an engineered soil amendment, the organic matter values need to be >75 % to help rebuild the subsoil layers.
1.5 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.6 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice , unless superseded by this test method.
1.6.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in the standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that generally should be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the user’s objectives; and it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of these test methods to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering data.
1.7 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.
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
D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass
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 Methods for pH of Soils
D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data
D6913/D6913M Test Methods for Particle-Size Distribution (Gradation) of Soils Using Sieve Analysis
ICS Number Code 65.020.40 (Landscaping and silviculture)
UNSPSC Code 11111503(Topsoil)
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ASTM D5268-19, Standard Specification for Topsoil Used for Landscaping and Construction Purposes, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.orgBack to Top