Top dressing is the process of adding a thin layer of topsoil over your existing lawn. This topsoil is made by mixing soil, sand, loam and peat in proportions that closely matches the existing soil. Top dressing lawn helps to repair your yard and keep it healthy. It is commonly sold in bulk bags but you will need to ensure that it is of good quality. Otherwise, you can prepare the mixture at home.
Common lawn problems
Top dressing should be done annually or when you begin to notice common lawn problems like an uneven terrain, which is usually caused by water runoff, repeated freezing and thawing, tunneling critters or simply the settling of the existing topsoil over time. Other problems include low patches, bare spots, hollow areas that collect water and depleted nutrients due to leaching.
When and how to top dress
The best time to top dress is early fall or spring all at once or in stages where you deal with the problem where and when it appears. Top dressing your lawn usually puts a lot of strain on the grass and could even kill it if not applied correctly or at the right time. This gives you more reasons to apply it over actively growing grass and not the dormant ones.
Remember that your lawn can only withstand the addition of a thin layer of topsoil up to a quarter or half an inch thick. So, apply the topsoil evenly using a drop-spreader or shovel and level it with a garden rake. In the end, at least 75 percent of the grass blades should be visible.
Ideally, top dressing should be applied after core aeration is done on your lawn. This is the creation of holes in the surface of the lawn to allow for easy exchange of gases and place organic material deeper into the soil. You may also choose to seed your lawn after top dressing in order to have a naturally uniform grass growth.
The benefits of top dressing your lawn
Top-dressing obviously addresses majority of lawn problems but the benefits goes much deeper. By maintaining a level lawn surface and adding nutrients to your turf, the appearance of your lawn will greatly improve. The addition of compost helps to reduce lawn diseases, thatch buildup, traffic stress and improve water retention.
It will also reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, build up soil flora and improve soil structure. Top dressing will eventually transform your lawn into an organic, low-maintenance, healthy and fresh grass carpet.
Choosing the right top dressing material
Lawns are not like flower beds, you need to choose the right top dressing material for a healthy and sustainable lawn. Good topsoil should be well drained, nutrient rich, have plenty of organic matter, free from pernicious weeds and stone free. Depending on the nature of your existing soil, choose the right proportions of sharp sand, loam soil and peat that are dry and sifted. For clay soils, reduce or eliminate the loam portion of the mixture and for sandy soils, reduce the sand.
Top dressing your lawn at least annually is a sure way to have a healthy lawn. Give the team at Keleny Top Soil a call for any and all of your soil needs!