Crusher dust is a common by-product of mining and quarrying. With relatively low production costs compared to other building materials and numerous practical applications around the home and in construction, using crusher dust can be a big plus for the environment and make good economic sense.
Crusher dust has excellent load bearing capabilities and durability. It can be used as a filling and packing material, like back filling trenches or as a base for driveways, concrete slabs, pavers and garden edging.
On landscape supply websites it is touted as the product that is:
Crusher dust is absolutely perfect for anywhere that you want a fine compactable material that will compact to a hard surface.
What crusher dust isn’t…
Crusher Dust is not an underlay soil for turf.
It simply does not make sense that something you can use to make a driveway could be equally useful as a base for your lawn, particularly in our harsh North Queensland climate.
Despite this crusher dust is widely used throughout Townsville. It often comes highly recommended and is especially popular on new home builds.
Why? Not to be sceptical, but could this rage have started because it is cheaper than quality soil and easier to spread?
For those still not convinced, would you consider putting plants in a garden bed filled with crusher dust instead of good ol' dirt?
Turf is a living plant as well. And like humans and animals, plants need water, nutrients (food), air and sunlight to survive.
Most plants absorb water and nutrients up through the roots from the soil to the leaves where it is turned into energy that helps the plant survive. This is why it becomes important, particularly here in sunny North Queensland to water plants when the soil becomes dry.
Healthy soil is extremely vital to plants. In addition to essential nutrients found in soil (from organic matter and micro-organisms), soil provides an anchor for plant roots and helps support the plants. A fresh layer of soil under turf allows more air to move through the ground helping your lawn to breathe. When it comes to a healthy and robust lawn or any other plant, compaction is the enemy.
When turf is grown in crusher dust, which means that it is growing in rock, it has shallow root growth causing the plant to always be thirsty and reliant on frequent watering. As we know, this has a disastrous result in times of drought and water restrictions. It also causes the turf to have a high dependence on fertiliser as crusher dust offers absolutely zero organic matter to feed your lawn.
Further to this, spreading crusher dust on an existing poor soil, usually a clay base here in Townsville, can create additional problems that will hinder the health of your lawn.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the continuing costs of extra water, fertilisers and soil treatments are not factored into landscaping budgets. Perhaps if they were, the upfront costs of a quality soil over crusher dust would look more appealing.
We wholeheartedly believe that good quality soil is one of the keys to great long-term results. Our recommendation is to always use a quality Australian Standard Soil, a blended soil rich with organic matter. It is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. Without doubt, this will require more investment in your project up front, but it will encourage your turf to be stronger and more robust with a deeper root growth, better water retention and less compaction.
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