Gardens and lawns are simply great to take up as your next rejuvenation assignments. People have been spending a lion’s share of their time in rejuvenating their lawns, gardens and even small backyards. The process of rejuvenation is accelerated as you place the top dressing of soil amendments to nurture your lawns. This dressing of soil amendments ensures a better build-up of top soil layer with the right amount of moisture and concentration of nutrients. Here is a complete step-by-step simplification of a procedure –Top Dressing a Lawn. Please go through them for happy gardening!
Benefits of top dressing lawns:
- Adds organic matter to soils
- Build up the soil flora
- Place organic material deeper into the soil
- Improve soil structure
- Reduce lawn diseases
- Better water retention
- A glimpse of what you are getting into
Great! Your a homeowner who cares for their property and you’ve decided you’re going to top dress your lawn. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Top soil or sandy loam
- Lawn starter
- Lawn seed
- Tools needed
- Shovel and rake
- Metal spike, core aerator or vertical mower
- Fertiliser spreader
- Garden hose
- Garden Fork
A note about soil pH
It is important to correct any pH related anomalies. If the pH is maintained below 5, bacteria will flourish and will help control the fungi growth. In most cases, Top Dress Lawn Compost is mostly alkaline and usually lowers the pH but you will need to take additional measures as well.
The very first step in top lawn dressing is getting the soil prepared. This involves dethatching and aerating – thatch the layer with dead and decaying matter from the topmost layer.
Steps involved in Top Dressing Your Lawn
Top dressing involves applying compost, soil or sand over the surface of lawn and the type of dressing to be applied depends upon the requirement. The procedure has made its way into home lawns from golf courses and is a must for every landscaper/gardener.
In the order of application, the steps are listed below:
Note: Not all the steps are mandatory, and a few are to be eliminated, depending on the type of grass.
- Dethatching is the first step, if the lawn has more than ½ inch of thatch, core aerating is mandatory.
- Dethatching leaves a lot of debris on the surface, so removing the debris would be the next step, logically.
- Now, it’s time to mow the lawn. Mow it as low as possible, and don’t stress the grass too much.
- All the grass clippings and dethatching debris are to be bagged and removed.
- The time to top dress the lawn has come now, spread it evenly, filling the holes (if you have poor soil). The depth is to be kept between ¼ to ½ inch.
- Now brush the grass with the backside.
- Any over seeding is to be done after top dressing, so that the seeds are not buried too deep.
- Keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated.
- Compost must be mixed with good top soil, or must be aged, as some compost might be too hot for newly germinated plants. This will work into the soil in a few weeks and with sufficient moisture, the time taken will be even lesser.
When to use core aeration:
The cores are to be removed first, but if the soil is not too bad, they can be left on the grass to break down naturally.
Now that you know how to top dress a lawn, you must go out and try it. But since you don’t know how much to put in, it becomes a challenge. Any healthy lawn will need a top soil layer of at least 4-6 inches. It’s recommend to dress your lawn at least once a year to maintain the right level of soil.
The best time to dress your lawn is between late summer and early fall. It can be done any time from spring to fall, but late summer and early fall time works best for over-seeding.
Preparing the Mixture
A mixture of equal parts of two components, namely, compost and loam, can blend well and ensure an apt performance as the annual top dressing. If you are preparing this mixture, start with using two cubic yards of compost per 5,000 square feet– which is apt to apply a 1/2-inch-thick layer in Top Dressing for Lawns.
Laying It Down
- With the changing technology, top-dressing spreaders are always available in a few simple clicks. All you have to do is turn the rake over and spread the compost mixture accordingly on your lawn.
- Make sure that the rakes are placed in a way that the tines are facing up and its back is resting on top of the grass.
- Leveling the compost mixture is another important aspect in this activity. A simple bow rake is good enough for easy spreading of the compost mixture.
- You can even turn down the rake in a way that the tines are facing upwards and the back is on grass.
- Push the rake over the lawn and then pull it in a single motion action. This helps in proper leveling of the compost on your lawn grass – ultimately seeping into the soil.
- Ensure the requisite pushing down to avoid any damage to your lawn. You can similarly repeat the motion enabling the finishing of topsoil – 1/2 inches.
Making It Lush
This is question that needs willful answering! Whether you want to overseed the lawn or seed bare patches before the final top dressing, you can answer it yourself. This is an important step to ensure that the lawn remains lush and green, throughout.
- Schedule the timing to overseed in the latter half of summer or early fall – as the summery heat is passed.
- The amount of seeds to be sown is directly proportional to the type of grass you want to grow in your lawn. Ideally, it is suggested to use one-half of the seed bag in a new lawn.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture plant recommended sprinkle 6 to 8 pounds of seeds in every 1,000 square feet of a new lawn. Varying with the hardiness, you can easily switch to 3 to 4 pounds for overseeding.
- Try to use a drop spreader for even spreading of the seeds after dethatching and aerating before Top Dressing Lawn.
Haste always leads to waste. Don’t be impatient with the process– wait for a few days before mowing the grass. If you go reckless with the use of mowers on dressing material, you would end up blunting its tip. If it doesn’t rain naturally, then you can sprinkle or seek a slight shower to wash away the lose material.
Finally, when you are all set to take the assignment to top dress your uneven lawn, simply run for the risk of damages. Assessing the risk beforehand always helps figuring out the actual stage of nutrients available in the soil. Never go for annual top dressing as it will unless accelerates the thatch building. Even, if you have a bad weather pre-cast, and then simply postpone the top dressing for a couple of days.