Horticultural Sand: What Is It And Is It The Same As Sharp Sand?

What is Horticultural Sand?

Horticultural sand is washed, coarse sand made from crushed granite, quartz, and sandstone. For the sand to be graded as horticultural, it must not contain lime, which can reduce the quality of soil. It is also known as horticultural grit.

What is Horticultural Sand Used For?

Horticultural sand is used in the garden to improve drainage and create favourable conditions for plants. If the soil becomes too wet, plants can become oversaturated. This prevents the roots from getting the oxygen they need to thrive and essentially drowns the plant.

It is also used to break down heavy soils and improve drainage on lawns.

How Much Horticultural Sand Do You Need?

You will need 30-50 grams of horticultural sand to mix with every litre of compost you plan to use. This is approximately one handful worth of sand, which makes it easy to roughly measure when in the garden.

Is Horticultural Sand The Same as Sharp Sand?

Contrary to popular belief, horticultural sand is not the same as sharp sand. Although they are similar, horticultural sand is washed more thoroughly to remove lime and salt, which can damage the quality of the soil.

Despite this, many people do use sharp sand instead of horticultural sand as it is a cheaper aggregate. If you do decide to use sharp sand, it should be washed before being added to the soil.

Horticultural Sand vs Building Sand

Horticultural sand is much sharper and has coarse, angular grains unlike builders’ sand, which has soft, smooth particles. This means horticultural sand is much better at improving drainage. Building sand also contains lime and will increase the acidity of soil and suppress plant growth.

While horticultural sand is more expensive than building sand, it is worth the extra money if you want to achieve conditions in which plants can thrive.

How Much Does Horticultural Sand Cost?

Horticultural sand costs £9.62 per 20kg bag, which works out at £0.48 per kg. These costs are based on average retail prices from builders merchants and include VAT but not delivery. Customers can get a more competitive price if they sign up for a trade account or buy in bulk.

Prices are accurate as of March 2022.

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