Last Updated on August 9, 2021 by woodcutter
Are you pondering on how much does a yard of dirt weigh? Whether you need the dirt for gardening, filling or construction purposes, it is essential to know its weight. The answer to this question can only be answered after looking at the dirt’s composition and content.
To plan your project well, you need to be aware of how much weight your dirt has. It is also of utmost importance that you need to know a cubic yard of dirt weigh when you need to transport it. For lighter weights of about 2000 pounds, one may simply use a pickup truck. However, if the weight load is heavier, there is a need for a bigger transportation option, such as a dump truck.
What is A Cubic Yard of Dirt Weigh?
A cubic yard of dirt is equivalent to 9 loads of a medium-sized wheelbarrow. A cubic yard of dirt is simply the volume of dirt. The same amount of different types of dirt will have varying weights. A yard is measured by length, width, and height. One cubic yard equals three feet. Therefore, one cubic yard is equivalent to 27 cubic feet.
The weight of a cubic yard depends on many factors. It is subject to what type of material the dirt composes of. This article will focus on helping you figure the answer to the question, how much does dirt weigh? It will focus on the different possible composition of dirt and their respective average weights. I will also look into other factors such as moisture content that affect a cubic yard’s weight.
1. Soil type and Composition
To begin with, the weight of a cubic yard of dirt depends on the soil type it is composed of. Different soil types have varying weights. This is because of the various particle sizes and different water holding capacities of the soil. Below, I will dwell briefly on the different soil types and their approximate weights.
Mulch is torn and decomposed plant and mineral residue matter that covers the topsoil layer. It is spread over the soil to improve soil fertility and control weed growth drastically. Mulch also helps the soil retain moisture for longer periods and also insulates it. Mulch can be made of grass, straw, leaves, bark, woodchips, and vegetables. Mulch is a common essential for gardeners as it serves as an excellent compost.
On average, mulch weighs about 1000 pounds. It is the lightest form of dirt there is, however, the average weight may differ slightly since it is affected by what it is made of. As illustrated above, assorted materials can be used to make mulch hence the different weights. For instance, grass weighs less than leaves and will have a greater weight per cubic yard.
Topsoil derives its name because it is the first uppermost layer of the earth’s dirt surface. It goes from 5 to 12 inches deep from the earth’s surface. This soil type comprises an organic material, micro-organisms, mineral particles, water, air, and fertilizers. The topsoil contains essential nutrients for ensuring that the plants in your garden are well-nourished and healthy.
The average weight for a cubic yard of topsoil is 2100 pounds. The weight of topsoil depends on how compact or to lose it is. It has many air sockets between its particles, making it lighter than most dirt types except mulch. With time, the organic matter in topsoil condenses and decomposes, affecting the soil’s volume. This makes it substantially lose weight.
c. Fill soil
This is the soil layer directly below the topsoil. Fill soil has a composition of organic matter and has rocks, sand, stones, and debris. Fill soil weighs more than topsoil. It gets its name from its purpose that is to fill spaces, holes, and ditches. While it is mainly used in building and construction projects, fill soil can also be used to cover trenches and gullies around the yard. Even if you need to make slopes or mounds, fill soil is the way to go.
A cubic yard of dirt that composes of fill soil weighs an average of 2150 to 2200 pounds. The slight weight difference, as compared to topsoil, can be attributed to the presence of heavy matter like rocks.
Sand is dirt that is composed of finely divided or weathered down rock and mineral particles. It is finer than gravel but cruder than silt. Sand is usually used in construction, agriculture. Aquariums and is landscaping projects. Sand constitutes the highest composition of dirt on beaches.
The weight of a cubic yard of sand exceeds fill soil by about 100 pounds. Sand dirt has an average weight of 2300 pounds. When wet, the weight of a cubic yard of sand dirt can go up to 3100 pounds. This is because the large particle size of sand enables it to hold a lot of water.
Dirt may also compose mainly of clay. Clay is a richly mineral soil type composed of tiny silica and alumina crystals tightly packed together. It is very ductile when moist making it ideal in molding pottery and other articles that can be used for decorative purposes. It can also be used for agricultural purposes since it is known for its ability to hold water for long periods.
The average weight of one yard may go up to 2500 pounds. Clay weighs more because it holds more water than most soil types. Its weight is also attributed to the way its particles are tiny and tightly packed, living tiny air spaces in between.
f. Gravel or stone
Gravel is an aggregate of small rock fragments or particles. It is categorized into granular gravel and pebble gravel. Pebble gravel generally has larger rock fragment sizes averaging between 4 and 64mm. It is used for decorating ponds or driveways and also as ballast. Gravel can also be used as garden borders and laid on the beds of roads and railroads when constructed.
When gravel or stone is the primary material type that your dirt is composed of, the weight is approximately 3000 to 3300 pounds per cubic yard. A load of wet gravel can even go up 3450 pounds. This is because of the obvious heavyweight of stones that it is composed of.
2. Moisture content
It is also an essential factor that affects the weight of a cubic yard of dirt. The more water the dirt holds, the heavier it will be. Different soil types have varying water holding capacities. Thus, you will find that water will more adversely affect the weight of clay than that of gravel or stone.
a. Dry soil
The dryer the dirt, the less it weighs. Dry soil is defined as soil that is void of moisture or liquid—a cubic yard of dirt when dry weighs less.
When the cubic of dirt is wet or has a higher moisture content, it will have more weight.
3. Debris Content in the Dirt
Debris is defined rubble, broken down structures, and large rock fragments. It is usually found is all the soil types in varying degrees. The quantity of debris in the dirt affects its weight. When dirt contains more debris is weighs more.
After establishing the weight of your dirt, you probably need to know how best to transport it. This section will help you from the number of sacks you may need to the type of truck you can use to carry your dirt.
1. How many sacks or bags may you need to pack a yard of dirt?
Approximately 27 bags that carry 28 to 30kgs of dirt should be enough to carry your yard dirt regardless of the soil type.
2. How many wheelbarrow loads may you need?
You will only need 9 to 10 trips using a medium-sized, well-packed wheelbarrow to transport a dirt yard. Thus, if you are getting the soil you need somewhere close, it would save money to partner with your wheelbarrow simply and transport the trash yourself.
3. If I need a truck, how big must it be?
There are various truck options you may pick. An average pickup truck can comfortably transport half a ton weight of dirt. However, pickup trucks can carry up to a full ton of dirt, which is about 2000 pounds. To be on the safe side, first establish how much dirt your chosen truck can carry to avoid unnecessary overloads.
So before deciding your transport choice ask yourself, how much does dirt weigh?
Final Thoughts: How much is yard of dirt?
A cubic yard of dirt has no fixed weight. Somewhat, pressure is influenced by quite many factors. For starters, the type of dirt, whether it is sand, mulch, or gravel. Secondly, its composition. How much debris or rock is in your dirt? Finally, the moisture content is also a vital factor. Find out how much water is in your dirt to establish its weight.
The factors highlighted in this article all have a significant impact on the weight of soil. Pay close attention to each highlighted aspect to ensure you get the weight right. This will ensure that you avoid any transportation and pricing issues that may arise from incorrect weight estimates. The answer to the question, how much does a yard of dirt weigh is finally addressed.