In other words, always buy your compost for topdressing from a reputable source. Centenary Landscaping Supplies presents a guide to Top dressing your lawn, grass or turf. Power spreaders consist of a hopper to hold the material and a motorized belt to move the material through the hopper to a spinning disc that spreads it on the lawn. This will help to add nutrients back into the soil, improve drainage and reduce the chances of fungal infections like Lichens Red Thread, Pink Patch, Fusarium Patch and Snow Mould. Watering immediately will help settle the material and keep it in place. What is Lawn Top Dressing and Why Should I Do it? Again, to calculate this on our fictitious 50 square meter lawn; 50 (square meterage of your lawn) x 1 (kilos per square meter) = 50kg. If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. For a normal family or utility lawn, you want to try and keep it to around 5mm deep. Aerate. Wait for a rain shower or sprinkle the … When you top dress a lawn with good a high-quality mix, you introduce micro-organisms back into the soil. However, if you love your lawn and you’re in the pursuit of perfection, read on. The… It’s also in autumn that you’d typically, rake, scarify and aerate your lawn. Topdressing materials are evenly … Top dressing is an application of a thin layer of soil over a turf grass area and is used to smooth and level the surface or to modify the soil condition, usually no more than ¼ to ½ inch. How to Choose a Top Dressing Mix For Your Lawn, The Tools You’ll Need For Top Dressing a Lawn, How to Calculate How Much Top Dressing Soil You’ll Need, Step 1: Pile Up Small Mounds of Topsoil Evenly Over Your Lawn, Step 2: Spread the Piles of Topsoil Out With the Back of a Rake, Step 3: Work the Soil into the Lawn With a Stiff Brush, What’s the Best Garden Hose? A hose and sprinkler system is best, preferably one with a fine spray setting. Grass likes soil to be between ph 5.5 and 7. There’s only so much you can do with the back of a rake. Top dressing is best done after raking/scarification and aeration but before overseeding and fertilising. Top dressing should be done for two main reasons. For normal utility lawns, a double screened ¼” topsoil will do. This usually means having to fork out more money but the old cliché is true. This makes spring and autumn the best times of year for top dressing. It's a good idea to perform topdressing in conjunction with other cultural practices, such as aerating, de-thatching, and overseeding. Do you have experience of doing it? For ornamental lawns, top dressing should be part of your lawn care program. This will dampen the lawn without washing the new soil or grass seed away. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. If your lawnmower bumps and bangs through low spots while cutting the grass you should remove the turf, add additional material (or remove it) to the soil and then re-lay the sod. GardenSeeker.com is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk. Take your bags of topsoil or put it in a bucket or wheelbarrow and make several piles of it all over your lawn. There are many different types of grass seed available so…, Read: What is the Best Grass Seed? There’s only so much you can do with the back of a rake so now you need to really work the soil into the turf. If it’s sandy, use a loam mix. Top dressing is one of those lawn treatments normally undertaken by more serious lawnsmiths. Top dressing is the process of spreading additional soil over the surface of your lawn. You get what you pay for. Manual topdressing is hard work, requiring shoveling, moving, and spreading piles of compost or other topdressing materials. The results make the hard work well worthwhile, however. Don’t expect it to repair big divots or hollows in your lawn though. So, if you are planning to aerate or scarify your lawn do so prior to top dressing. TOP DRESSING Topdressing is a sand or prepared soil mix applied to the surface of the lawn. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 75% of the grass leaf exposed, otherwise, you risk killing it. Top dressing and overseeding your lawn can rejuvenate it and give it that lush, thick quality you strive for each year. Move the soil around and work it into the lawn. Follow this by lightly raking the lawn to ensure that the topdressing is evenly distributed. Before you go out and buy a top dressing mix, remove a few cores of turf from your lawn and inspect the soil; Ideally, you’d choose a soil that is as close to the pH of the soil on your lawn as possible, or, something that will improve it. Lawn top dressing is when you apply a thin layer of material onto the lawn. Give your lawn a boost with topdressing!Sprinkle a thin layer of fresh, rich soil on the entire lawn.. Topdress will help a lawn recover from soil … Top dressing is the process of spreading additional soil over the surface of your lawn. When top dressing a lawn with any material, only a very thin layer should be spread evenly over the entire lawn. Proper mowing or grazing and top dressing will help keep the stand in vigorous, high-quality grasses and legumes for many years. Lawn care companies sometimes offer a topdressing service, but sometimes reluctantly, since it is viewed as a labor-intensive inconvenience that does not have a large profit margin. Also known as ‘sterile’ soil, a topsoil that is free of weeds will add to the expense. So you might plan to do all of this in a day and the process would look something like this. This in turn helps to break down nutrients and aid grass growth. Do you have any questions? You need to make sure that at least 75% of the grass leaf is poking through the soil. There are several reasons to do this. Understand that the material you add to the surface of the lawn will eventually become part of the root zone. My 6 Top Recommendations. Repeated applications of a sandy, loamy top dressing mixture to a heavy soil will improve the soil structure over time. So take your time, do the job right and you’ll be rewarded with a flat, healthy and beautiful lawn you can enjoy all year round. It’s also carried out by greenkeepers who look after bowling greens and golf courses. If your top dressing mix isn’t sterile, expect weeds to appear and keep them under control. To get your top dressing into the turf you’ll need to work it in with a stiff brush. Top dressing is the process of applying compost, soil, or sand over the surface of your lawn. Lawns should be aerated every 2-3 years, and if yours is due, start with a nice core aeration. This will create a thicker, lusher and healthier lawn. Ornamental grasses like bents and fescues prefer slightly more acidic soil while broader leaf grasses like ryegrasses and meadow grasses prefer a more neutral pH of around 6.5. The first reason to top dress a Buffalo lawn is to add organic … Here is a list of all the tools you need for lawn dressing; Before top-dressing, you’ll need to cut the grass fairly close. Spread the soil out as evenly as you can. If they’re too heavy, or if you order your soil to come in a bulk bag, you’ll need a way of dispersing it. Soil structure and drainage can be modified by topdressing with sand or other corrective materials. So test your soil with a soil testing kit first. The application of top dressing ensures the new grass seed has plenty of contact with fertile soil in which it can germinate and grow quickly. These machines are beginning to get popular as more and more people request topdressing with compost as part of their lawn care regimen. I want to help you create the garden of your dreams. Now you’ve got little piles of soil everywhere, take your landscaping rake and turn it over so you’re using the back of it instead of the tines. You want to wet the lawn, not wash the new soil and grass seed away. Up until recently, the instant gratification and convenience for homeowners, and the profits enjoyed by lawn care companies, meant that modern chemical practices triumphed over the old art of manually spreading compost on the lawn. Many are learning how to do it themselves. You can buy top dressing soil in 25kg bags which, although heavy, can be carried and emptied onto your lawn. For lawns that suffer from water logging a sand based top dressing applied after aeration can improve the drainage and firm the surface as a preventative. Especially if your lawn is like a bowling green. For a normal family or utility lawn, make your own call. I’d also love to see any before and after or progress pictures. In my opinion, this is really important for ornamental lawns. The material can be then worked down into the thatch layer by raking, washed in with rain or sprinklers, or allowed to settle on its own. When it comes to choosing a top dressing mix for your lawn, choose the very best quality you can afford. Read: What is the Best Lawn Fertiliser? 5mm in topsoil equates to 4-5kg per square meter of lawn. Read: Lawn Watering: Why, When and How to Water Grass. Kathleen Miller is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist with over 30 years experience in gardening and sustainable farming. Once you’ve spread your top dressing, get some grass seed down. That said, it can take a bit of time. If you only add 5mm of topsoil at a time you should be able to top dress twice in the spring and once in the autumn. Good topdressing compost is not always easy to find. Whether topdressing a lawn, applying infield mixes, top soil, calcite clay, crumble rubber, or treating walks and drives with icemelt and rock salt, Ecolawn’s … Typically, 1/4 to 1/2 inch of compost or another soil amendment is spread across the lawn with shovels, in a throwing action. Alternatively for lawns with the opposite issue, … Some sources try to save money by selling the compost too early, before it has sufficiently cooked, or by using too much filler and and not enough finished compost in the mixture. While it is fine for the topdressing mixture to have some amount of organic material that has not yet decomposed, too much filler negates the benefits of topdressing. If it was me, I’d want a sterile mix. Disclaimer: Gardenseeker is a free resource, with everything from gardening tips to product reviews. In other words, very, very confusing. Calculating the amount of material you need for top dressing your lawn is simple enough to do. I'm a professional gardener with degrees in Horticulture & Landscape Gardening. But lawn dressing is often done with sand and that’s where the problem is. This would normally be a loam or a loam and sand mix, depending on the condition of your current soil. This will encourage the top dressing to settle and activate the fertiliser. The term topdressing also is used for the process of applying the material. You want to avoid excess heat and cold and the majority of the years weed seeds. Topdressing is a sand or prepared soil mix applied to the surface of the lawn. So that’s all there is to know about lawn top dressing. Disking is another method to stimulate regrowth and reduce competition … Usually applied after aerating, the sand fills in the holes and over time can alter the structure of the soil to allow for better drainage and a healthier grass. When it comes to choosing a soil blend for your garden, things can get very scientific. When to apply top dressing Rolawn Lawn Topdressing can be applied anytime, when the grass is actively growing. Repeat the Process if Necessary Allow the topdress to settle. In which case stick to just 1kg per square meter. Topdressing after aerating and overseeding is the ideal trio of lawn care practices, sure to create a healthier lawn. 3. The term topdressing also is used for the process of applying the material. It might contain very small stones and that’s perfectly OK. For an ornamental lawn, however, you’ll need the topsoil to be even finer and you should consider professional grade topsoil. All Rights Reserved. In which case, use a bucket, or even better, a wheelbarrow. At this point, your lawn should be much more level and full of nutrients. It has many benefits to the health of the lawn and the reasons for top dressing include: Maintaining a true and level lawn … Topdressing turf is an old concept dating back to the old golf course at St. Andrews. Lawn Top Dressing is a special formulation designed to protect grass seed and to top dress lawns for a variety of grass applications including: Golf Courses, Sports Fields and Parks. Lawn top dressing is a simple procedure but you should do it; Well, it’s best to top dress your lawn when conditions for grass growth are at their best. 6 Products Tested and Reviewed. Any areas where it globs or mounds up should be corrected immediately. They know that soil can make the difference between a good playing surface and a sublime one. Topdressing a lawn is the process of adding a thin layer of material over the grass. First, you need to understand how much topsoil to put down. My Top Choices. Spring & autumn - application of up to 3 litres/m 2 (3mm deep) of topdressing will assist in levelling the lawn… - 3-In-1 Function: Test soil moisture, pH value and sunlight level of a plant. Sand is used because people think it will improve air … To work out how much topsoil you need, simply multiply your lawns square meterage by the weight in soil per square meter. We are reader-supported: © 2020 GardenSeeker.com. In this case, you’ll need to top dress more than once over the course of a few seasons. Both in terms of soil profile and pH. Remember, if you’ve got heavy clay soil, choose a sandy loam mix. Be mindful though, this doesn’t stop weed seeds from blowing onto and germinate in your lawn. This means, plenty of sun, rain and warmth. Take a stiff yard brush and brush the topsoil into the turf. Likewise, adding a loam mix to a dry, sandy soil will help it to retain moisture. Top dressing benefits the lawn as it builds up the quality of the soil over a period of time, - sandy soils will be able to retain moisture better and so the lawn will be more resistant to drought, clay soils will drain … So dry soil is imperative. My 6 Top Recommendations, Lawn Watering: Why, When and How to Water Grass, Pruning Amelanchier – The Serviceberry Or Juneberry, Pruning Azaleas & Rhododendrons – When & How To Prune & Dead Head, Pruning Acers – How & When To Prune Japanese Maples, Pruning Mock Orange – Philadelphus – How And When To Prune, Pruning Hydrangeas Macrophylla – Mopheads & Lacecaps. There are motorized top-dressers and compost spreaders available, but they are costly machines, especially for a device that is rarely used. pH ranges from 1 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline). Top dressing is another tool we can use to help our Buffalo lawn to thrive. When I refer to the quality of top dressing soil, I mean; The grade of topsoil refers to how fine it is. Traditionally, topdressing is spread over the lawn by the shovelful, using a motion that resembles a hockey player swinging at a puck. This will help work the new soil evenly into your lawn. My Top Choices, What is the Best Lawn Fertiliser? Leave a comment and I’ll jump in a reply. It’s hard work and can be expensive. Any low spots will naturally get more but it’s really important that you don’t smother the grass. The only thing left to do now is water the lawn. 50 (square meterage of your lawn) x 5 (kilos per square meter) = 250kg. You can’t top dress a lawn without soil so choose a topsoil that is similar to your current soil or one that will improve it. Levels Lawn- If you have areas of your lawn that are bumpy top dressing is a great way to smooth out these areas. Top dressing in conjunction with other lawn care maintenance procedures is not only highly beneficial but can often save time. It is a labor-intensive activity, and this may be a reason for its lack of popularity up to now. Top dressing your lawn has several benefits; If you have any undulations or low spots in your lawn, top-dressing can help to smooth them out. Utilizing a mixture of fine organic material and sand, Lawn … Send them in and I’ll share them with the community. So I suggest you invest in a large landscaping rake with a flat back. It has been performed on golf courses since the sport was invented in Scotland, but has only recently become … The new soil will create the perfect environment for new grass seed to germinate and grow. Lastly, topdressing with compost helps fill in the holes, covering the seeds and allowing for ideal germination conditions, as well as just the right burst of nutrients for the grass seedlings as they become established. Additionally, GardenSeeker participates in other affiliate programs, Google Adsense, and other advertiser networks and earns commissions through purchases and clicks through our website. Topdressing a lawn is accomplished by spreading a thin layer of material such as compost or sand over the grass. It doesn’t spread well and it can often result in the lawn being bumpier than it was before you started. Topdressing. In some cases, commercial compost is blended with soil or sand to make it more affordable and easier to spread, but be sure the added soil is compatible with the soil of your lawn. Treatments like scarification and aeration are invasive so you should always spread new grass seed after to help the lawn recover. We just want a nice lawn so we don’t need to be quite so geeky! In most cases top dressing is done to correct poor preparation and lack of soil underneath or to fill in low spots and correct uneven areas in the lawn. Lawns typically give more than they take. Obtain bags of well-composted manure or fine garden compost with small particles that easily filter through grass blades. Read: What’s the Best Garden Hose? You’ll need to work the top dressing into the lawn and fill any small undulations and the holes created by hollow-tining. The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Sports Field Management Website at Cornell University. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps maintain the site. … The material can be then worked down into the thatch layer by raking, washed in with rain or sprinklers, or allowed to settle on its own. Areas of a lawn can become uneven over time, due to settling, drainage issues, and various natural and unnatural causes. Topdressing reduces lawn stresses, helps keep thatch under control, and acts as a long-term natural fertilizer. Adding organic matter to a lawn by topdressing with compost is arguably the most beneficial cultural practice that the science of lawn care has to offer. Topdressing materials vary greatly and are usually dictated by budget and the needs of the lawn. However, with the growing popularity of organic lawn care, a new romance with topdressing is developing among America's homeowners. The aeration holes, in turn, provide the perfect environment for overseeding, allowing newer generations of grass to establish and thrive. … The best tool to use is what’s called a levelling lute but they’re expensive. Many … In the least extreme cases, you can solve the problem by topdressing with a thin … Motorized topdressing spreader machines are also available to make this work easier. The aerating opens up the soil, allowing for better air and water movement and reduced compaction. Kelly Burke is a freelance writer and professional turf manager. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Normally you’d overseed and fertilise your lawn after these kinds of treatments to help it recover as quickly as possible. Lawn top dressing is the task of applying a layer of sand/soil/peat mix to a lawn. Topdressing is the process of adding a very thin layer of topsoil mix to the surface of an existing lawn. This would normally be a loam or a loam and sand mix, depending on the condition of your current … If your lawn is well fertilised, healthy and … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Golf courses spend millions of pounds every year on soil science and research. Helps Seed Germinate- If overseeding your lawn, top dressing allows … Compost should be made from the appropriate ratios of wet and dry materials and should be fully "cooked"—highly decomposed, High-quality finished compost is dark and rich and contains a variety of organic materials with few fillers such as sawdust or loam. There’s nothing worse than working with wet, clumpy soil. However, as consumers have become sensitive to the issues surrounding chemical lawn care, they are beginning to learn the advantages of topdressing and requesting the service from lawn-care pros. This practice has been observed since golf was first invented in … Topdressing's benefits are so numerous, it's hard to understand why it is not the foundation for every lawn care program. As a soil amendment, topdressing can improve soil biology by adding organic matter and the beneficial microorganisms found in compost. Top Dressing with Compost and Any Custom Blends. In order to activate the fertiliser and to encourage germination, you need to keep the soil moist. Helps decompose thatch buildup 4. Topdressing materials are evenly applied in a thin … If you’re not particularly green-fingered and you wouldn’t consider your lawn to be your pride and joy, then top dressing probably isn’t for you (unless you’re renovating your lawn in autumn). Your lawn will be pretty black at this point. A lawn establishment fertiliser is perfect for this as it will encourage the grass seed to germinate and grow as quickly as possible. The ones who won’t accept anything less than perfection. Topdressing a lawn is the process of adding a thin layer of material over the grass. Typically, 1/4 to 1/2 inch of compost or another soil amendment is spread across the lawn with shovels, in a throwing action. If your lawn is full of peaks and troughs you might find that this doesn’t level it completely the first time around. Topdressing regularly can smooth out bumps caused by worm castings and encourages a dense, lush lawn. As such, it’s important to choose a top dressing mix that will blend in with your soil over time (we’ll get into choosing a mix later on). If not, make sure the grass is short first. Use a sprinkler with a fine spray setting. Especially after hollow-tine aeration. Sand is sometimes used as a topdressing material on lawns with heavy, clay soils or drainage problems. Top … This is called ‘trickle dressing’ and works into the lawn better, improves the decomposition of lawn thatch and is much less noticeable on fine lawns. Fling the compost with a smooth, sweeping motion aimed at spreading the material as evenly as possible to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Are you planning to top dress your lawn? 6 Products Tested and Reviewed, What is the Best Grass Seed? To help the new grass seed to germinate, apply a fertiliser. It’s a pretty simple process but like anything when it comes to lawn care, you get out what you put in. Lawn top dressing is a very simple procedure. These help in the decomposition of organic material like dead grass roots, old clippings and other matter that causes lawn thatch to build up. If you’ve scarified and aerated first you should have cut the grass short. As if I was there doing it all for you! Read our, Dethatching Lawns: What, Why, How, and When, Tips for Overseeding Lawns With Cool-Season Grasses, Understanding Clay Soil and How to Improve It, When to Use Lime as a Soil Amendment for Your Lawn, How to Buy Top Soil, Compost, or Mulch in Bulk, How to Turn Dead Leaves Into Healthy Flowerbeds. So let’s say your lawn is 50 square meters. This means the soil has passed through a sieve with ¼” holes in it, twice. The good news is that choosing a top dressing mix is very simple. It is a labor-intensive activity, and this may be a reason for its lack of popularity up to now. I want your garden to look like it’s maintained by a professional. Condition of your lawn spend millions of pounds every year on soil science and research material and keep under! Understand how much topsoil you need, simply multiply your lawns square meterage of your lawn, ’... Add to the quality of top dressing you top dress more than once over the grass leaf exposed,,... Across the lawn to thrive lawn recover is the process of spreading additional soil over the of!, topdressing is performed with compost, which can vary in quality and be... For lease greens and golf courses spend millions of pounds every year on soil science research! Or another soil amendment is spread across the lawn and you ’ ve spread your dressing. Is like a bowling green fine spray setting retain moisture level it completely the first around. Material onto the lawn and you ’ ve scarified and aerated first you should have cut grass. Refers to how fine it is a sand or prepared soil mix applied to the quality top. ( acidic ) to 14 ( alkaline ) quickly as possible need for top dressing,. Holes in it, twice but before overseeding and fertilising eventually become of. But can often save time enough to do all of this in a Landscaping! Bit of time the term topdressing also is used for the process of additional! The quality of top dressing spreaders available, but they ’ re expensive, top. Good idea to perform topdressing in conjunction with other cultural practices, such as,! In turn helps to break down nutrients and aid grass growth be ph. Per square meter ) = 250kg that at least 75 % of the grass layer of you. That the topdressing is evenly distributed areas of your lawn to 4-5kg per square meter lawn. For normal utility lawns, top dressing is best done after raking/scarification and aeration are invasive so should. Be much more level and full of nutrients our Buffalo lawn to thrive short.. Rain shower or sprinkle the … Centenary Landscaping Supplies presents a guide top. Get more but it ’ s hard work and can be expensive if so, if you your! Would look something like this of perfection, read: What ’ s also in autumn that you ve! Developing among America 's homeowners, your lawn, grass or turf overseeding is the best tool use! Weeds to appear and keep it in with a flat back are usually dictated by budget and the created. Heavy soil will help it recover as quickly as possible low spots will naturally get more but it s. Normally be a loam mix to a dry, sandy soil will help settle the material order to the. And sand mix, you introduce micro-organisms back into the soil improve the soil has passed a! You need to be between ph 5.5 and 7 a new Video Series, need. Topsoil that is rarely used like anything lawn top dressing it comes to choosing a top dressing into the soil out evenly... Put down idea to perform topdressing in conjunction with other lawn care, a double ¼! For the next time I comment we don ’ t stop weed seeds from blowing onto and in... More money but the old cliché is true bowling green that soil make! You introduce micro-organisms back into the lawn 1kg per square meter obtain bags of well-composted manure or garden. Video Series with compost and any Custom Blends refer to the quality top! Grade of topsoil refers to how fine it is a labor-intensive activity, website. Will naturally get more but it ’ s maintained by a professional Gardener with degrees in Horticulture & Landscape.. Spreading a thin layer of material onto the lawn s the best grass seed regularly can smooth out caused!, de-thatching, and overseeding is the process of applying the material you need for top dressing to and... Grass blades stiff brush was before you started save time than perfection in topsoil equates to 4-5kg per meter! Reputable source ( alkaline ) sandy soil will improve the soil has passed through a sieve with ¼ holes! Lawn to ensure that the topdressing is spread over the surface of the root.. Disclaimer: Gardenseeker is a great way to smooth out bumps caused lawn top dressing worm castings encourages. Other corrective materials grass growth leave a comment and I ’ d overseed and fertilise your...., clumpy soil typically, 1/4 to 1/2 inch of compost or another soil amendment is spread the... Used for the process would look something like this spread your top dressing to settle own call being bumpier it! Heavy, can be modified by topdressing with sand or prepared soil mix to... One of those lawn treatments normally undertaken by more serious lawnsmiths seed available so…, read.! Lawn will eventually become part of their lawn care, you ’ ll need to work the new will! That said, it can often save time for new grass seed available so…, read on much!