Application of Compost for Different Soil Types

Soil Health Consultants Explain the Importance of Organic Matter in Viticulture
Soil Health Consultants Explain the Importance of Organic Matter in Viticulture

Application of Compost for Different Soil Types

Soil performs vital functions in our ecosystems.

The soil stores reserves of water for plants, controls water seepage into streams and groundwater and reduces rapid runoff that could cause erosion and floods. The soil stores carbon, (storing about four times more than plants), so it helps minimise the release of carbon dioxide into the air. Soil microbes absorb nitrogen from the air and make it available as plant food. Nutrients are released as underlying rock fragments decay. Soil filters water and helps absorb and break down toxins. So how does the application of compost help?


How can you best improve your soil so that it is more productive?

Here, at Wholesale Landscapes, we operate under a set of core values, one of which is resourcefulness. We believe in being resourceful and making the most of what we’ve been given. That is why we utilise forestry residue and other waste bio-products to create composts that will enhance the productivity of your residential garden or horticultural enterprise.


For a small country, New Zealand has a wide diversity of soils. According to the New Zealand Soil Classification, there are 15 main types of soil.  For example, Nelson and Marlborough soils fall into the general category of ancient soils. Through long weathering, ancient soils have a high clay content and are generally acidic and of low fertility.


Soils in Otago are considered semi-arid, where there is too little rain to wash out the sodium, calcium amoung other elements. Nutrient levels are relatively high but the soil must be irrigated to produce a crop.


Hawkes Bay soils are mainly silt loams. In the east where there is less rainfall, and on flat or undulating land, there may be compacted subsoils.

So what elements define a good soil?

It needs to be

  • deep
  • fine-textured
  • moist
  • free-draining
  • loamy
  • and have an organic-rich topsoil.

These properties best enable plant roots to take up nutrients, water and oxygen to support rapid growth.


What remedial action can you take if your soil does not have these elements?

In terms of gardening, reference is generally made to 3 types of deficient soil;

  • clay
  • sandy
  • rocky
Clay Soils

A soil with a high clay content can be greatly improved by the addition of compost. It improves drainage while maintaining the water-holding capacity of the soil and improves the granular structure of the soil by interrupting the aggregation of the clay particles. This improves the soil porosity so that air and water can move freely through the soil. Compost will make this type of soil less sticky and more friable. It will reduce the bulk density of the soil helping it resist compaction and enabling plant roots to better penetrate the soil.

Wholesale Landscapes’ Barnyard Compost, is made from bio-products sourced from freezing works’ waste and sheep manures. This rich organic bark fine-based compost is excellent for large-scale plantings or establishing newly planted areas. It can improve soil structure by increasing organic matter and carbon content, improving nutrient uptake to give you healthier and more productive plants.


Sandy Soils

The application of compost to sandy soil greatly improves water retention and helps keep fertilisers and nutrients in the root zone, preventing them from being leached into the groundwater. The humus produced by the decaying compost helps bind soil particles together making a better-aggregated soil, which will hold water while allowing air and roots to penetrate, as well as improving erosion-resistance.


As sandy soils are generally low in nutrients, the application of a product such as Wholesale Landscapes’ FishGro Compost, made from marine bio-products and organic bark fines, will provide a great moisture-retaining foundation for roots to quickly access much-needed nutrients and trace elements.


Rocky Soils

Rocky soils are usually very low in plant nutrients and have limited moisture retention so would benefit from the application of a compost like Wholesale Landscapes’ Flourish. Trusted by many New Zealanders and very popular with hobby gardeners and landscapers, Flourish has a mushroom-compost base which promotes beneficial microbial activity in the soil. It contains animal manures to provide a rich source of nutrients, screened bark fines to help stabilise pH levels and added carbon content. This all combines to create a perfect environment for root generation and ongoing plant growth.


No matter what the deficiency in your soil, Wholesale Landscapes have a compost solution for you.


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Our Truck Volumes

3T Truck

Full truck load volumes
  • Bark: 7m³
  • Compost: 4m³
  • Supersoil: 3m³
  • Soil: 3m³
  • Shell: 3m³
  • Stone: 1.5m³

7.5T Truck

Full truck load volumes
  • Bark: 20m³
  • Compost: 10m³
  • Supersoil: 7m³
  • Shell: 8m³

11T Truck

Full truck load + trailer volumes
  • Bark: 25m³ - 65m³
  • Compost: 17m³ - 38m³
  • Supersoil: 12m³ - 29m³
  • Shell: 12m³ - 30m³

In Canterbury or other regions? We offer bulk truck and trailer load volumes throughout the South Island.

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Our Retailers

Below is a list of our retailers. Please contact them for stock and supply.

PLEASE NOTE: Not all of our products are supplied to all retailers. We can only guarantee product quality of products we manufacture.

  • Wholesale Landscapes – Stoke Yard (that's us!)
  • Stoke Garden & Landscapes
  • Bay Landscapes & Garden Centre
  • Goldpine Richmond
  • Māpua Landscapes
  • Stonescape Garden Supplies (Concrete & Metals)
North Canterbury
  • Woodend Landscape Supplies
  • Amberley Hire & Landscape Supplies
  • Hanmer Landscape Supplies
  • Garden Box – Middleton
  • Urban Paving & Landscape Supplies – Harewood
  • Pearsons Landscape Supplies – Bromley
  • Styx Mill Landscape & Nursery  – Styx
  • Mitre 10 Mega Ferrymead
  • Odering Garden Centre Christchurch - Philpotts
  • Odering Garden Centre Christchurch - Barrington
  • Mainscape Garden Supplies
South Canterbury
  • Fulton Hogan Timaru
  • Ashburton Contracting Ltd (ACL)
  • Centaland
  • CMT Group
  • Kaikōura Landscape Supplies

Pick-Up Information

We welcome pick-up of product by the public for volumes 1m³ and over. Please check your estimated trailer weight rating below. If your trailer is unable to hold the weight of our minimum pick-up volume, please book a delivery. *We require a minimum order quantity of 3m³ for any bark, compost, soil or shell products and a minimum order quantity of 1.5m3 for any stones or aggregates.

Standard trailer
(750kg limit)
  • Bark / Mulches
  • Shell
  • Compost
  • Soil
  • Stones / Aggregates
Tandem trailer
(1,500kg limit)
  • Bark / Mulches
  • Shell
  • Compost
  • Soil
  • Stones / Aggregates
Tip truck
(2,000kg limit)
  • Bark / Mulches
  • Shell
  • Compost
  • Soil
  • Stones / Aggregates

Product Volume Calculator

*We will quote to the nearest cubic meter.

Recommended depths

Typically you need a finishing layer of screened soil of 100mm when working with an uneven surface. 100mm of soil will allow to even out any hollows and give enough depth to create a flat surface

A general rule for compost is to allow for the depth of the current root structure of your plants with an additional 30-50% to mix in with the base. If you’re planting into holes or filling up a vege garden  you will need to accommodate for this prior to filling up

We recommend 100mm (10cm) deep for new bark gardens and planting into bare areas. For existing gardens with some cover, we recommend 75mm-100mm (7.5cm-10cm)

Note: Barked areas for playground impact protection need to meet NZS5828:2015 standards and is calculated on the fall areas and the height of the playground. Please contact us to discuss your barked playground areas

For paths and driveways which are often exposed to car and foot traffic, we recommend 100mm-125mm (10cm-12.5cm) on newly prepared areas due to settling of product.

This excludes preparation, compaction or drainage gravel underneath. For existing areas 75mm thickness is recommended for areas needing a small top-up.