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How Much To Top Dress Lawn

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Rolling Peat Moss Spreader

How To Top Dress Your Lawn

A peat moss spreader like is an easy way to get the compost around your lawn and to make sure it is spread evenly and lightly.

This type of spreader has a barrel-like structure that rotates with metal mesh openings.

This is a tool thats not necessary to top dress lawn areas, but if you can afford it and plan to top-dress regularly its a good investment that will save your back.

To use a peat moss spreader for top dressing, fill the rolling parcel with compost or your preferred material. Then push the barrel while walking up and down your lawn. The compost will drop out of the mesh openings evenly onto your lawn.

This tool is best suited for dry and screened compost.

Products And Tools Youll Need For Top Dressing Lawns

You will need both hand tools and simple mechanical tools. At one time, the only way to spread the composting material was with a shovel, swinging it in a broad, sweeping motion. This was very time-consuming and often produced uneven results.

Today, there are several products available to make the job easier, though it still remains rather tedious. Some of the products recommended for top dressing a lawn include:

Best Materials For Topdressing

  • compost provides the highest amount of nutrients both short-term and long-term. Best if the composting process brought the compost to high temperatures because this eliminates weed seeds and possible pests. Great for microbial flora and fauna .
  • manure dry manure must be shredded small enough that it wont form clumps. Its very rich in microbial life, which is excellent for lawn soil. However, it might give the air a hearty twang for a couple weeks, smelling a bit unusual.
  • seaweed now quite common, seaweed can be a great addition to lawn soil because it has lots of nitrogen. If you harvest your own, rinse and dry it well to eliminate sea salt before shredding it.
  • topdressing with sand best is river sand or quarry sand. Do not use seaside sand because the salt would kill your lawn . Prefer coarse sand to fine sand. Sand will increase drainage and enhance soil structure. However, in most cases, it isnt necessary to topdress house lawns with sand, most often only golf courses apply sand turf.
  • peat not recommended in its natural form unless soil acidity needs to be increased. Best prefer new equivalent nature-friendly alternatives like Brière black soil or materials derived from plant or wood fiber.
  • topsoil usually available in horticulture stores
  • garden soil great to add to the mix, especially the first year. Indeed, its the best way to ensure topdressing and soil compatibility.

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Topdressing After Dethatching Renovating And Aerating

You could say that topdressing is like dressing a wound. When a lawn is stressed because of moss removal or the soil was aerated, topdressing will help it heal.

  • Dethatching, usually associated to moss removal, is the fact of breaking up the layer of lint that forms after repeated mowing. Blades of grass fall but dont decompose fast enough. Soil suffocates and only moss keeps growing. Also called scarification.
  • Lawn renovation is a set of steps that helps rebuild an old or damaged lawn.
  • Aerating the soil means pulling out plugs at close intervals or walking around with nail-equipped shoes. It breaks the crust and helps air and water trickle in.
  • Reseeding the lawn or overseeding spreading new seeds for a more dense, lush lawn. This is either with the same grass as earlier, or because youd like to introduce a new type of grass. In the end, the variety most suited to the area will win over.

Note: if youre adding new lawn seeds:

  • during maintenance topdressing spread seeds first, before topdressing
  • during regenerative topdressing spread seeds after spreading the topdressing but before raking it down

Should I Put Sand On My Lawn

Top Dressing your Grass Seed with Peat Moss

A common mistake that many homeowners make when using sand for lawns is applying it too heavily or unevenly. This can leave unsightly globs of sand throughout the lawn while the grass beneath these heavy mounds of sand can literally be choked out. When top dressing a lawn with any material, only a very thin layer should be spread evenly over the entire lawn. Any areas where it globs or mounds up should be corrected immediately.

Many people also make the mistake of top dressing with sand to try to correct clay soil. This is actually the worst thing you can do, as adding sand to clay soil does not loosen up the soil instead, it creates a cement-like effect.

The best description Ive ever read about clay soil particles is that they are like a deck of cards, spread out in a messy pile as they would be in a game of Go Fish. If you were to pour water on a pile of cards, most of it would run right off the flat cards and not penetrate into the pile.

Clay soil particles are flat and card-like. They lay on top of one another making water unable to penetrate them. When you add larger, heavier sand particles to this scenario, it weighs down the clay particles, making them even more impenetrable by water and nutrients. For this reason, it is especially important to not top dress clay soil with sand. Instead, use a rich, fine compost.

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Note: Timing Compost Applications

Compost is spread in spring or fall, but there are important nuances. In cool-season areas, the spring application is typically lighter and the fall application heavier. In the south, topdress warm-season grasses in early spring. Consult with the local extension service or your soil test provider for recommended depth and dates.

Keep in mind, too, that compost has some fertilizer value and may partially offset fertilizer application rates.

What Does Lawn Top Dressing Do

Top dressing does not just improve the look of your lawn, but can also benefit the health of the grass too. It allows you to maintain a true and level lawn surface by filling in any imperfections or hollow areas to create a smooth surface. It also helps to dilute thatch layers, assisting in their natural breakdown and preventing them from building up.

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. Alternatively for lawns with the opposite issue, where drought is a problem, the same method can be applied but using a peat top dressing instead of sand.

The addition of certain nutrients being introduced from some of the dressing materials can also contribute to improving the fertility of the lawn, encouraging the production of fresh healthy shoots and improving the soil structure of the existing root zone.

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Top Dressing Lawn: Benefits And Advice

Written by Mark··· This post may contain affiliate links. Read more ->

Top dressing and overseeding is the absolute best way to renovate your lawn. If your lawn is showing signs of weakness, consider these steps to have your best lawn ever.

It happens to the best of us. Despite your best efforts, some years your lawn just goes to complete junk.

A lot of times things may look good in the spring, but as the heat of the summer sets in you can be overwhelmed with problems.

Weeds, fungus, grubs, and heat stress, can attack your lawn, and your sanity. As defeating as this can be, there is plenty of reason to be hopeful.

The cooler weather is around the corner and that means its the perfect time to top dress your lawn.

Top dressing your lawn, especially when combined with core aerating and overseeding, is the best way to renovate your lawn.

Benefits Of Top Dressing

How to top dress your lawn

1. Improves Soil- Top dressing adds nutrients to your lawn organically and improves drainage.

2. Breaks Down Thatch- The top dressing material helps to break down the thatch layer in your lawn.

3. Levels Lawn- If you have areas of your lawn that are bumpy top dressing is a great way to smooth out these areas.

4. Helps Seed Germinate- If overseeding your lawn, top dressing allows seed to make direct contact with soil which is best for germination.

5. Helps In Renovating Distressed Lawn- If there are bare spots in your lawn, or if your lawn is being crowded out by weeds, top dressing is your best bet for correcting soil conditions and incorporating new seed.

Top dressing is even more effective when done after core aerating.

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Spread The Piles Of Topsoil Out With The Back Of A Rake

Now youve got little piles of soil everywhere, take your landscaping rake and turn it over so youre using the back of it instead of the tines.

Move the soil around and work it into the lawn. You need to make sure that at least 75% of the grass leaf is poking through the soil.

Spread the soil out as evenly as you can. Your lawn will be pretty black at this point.

Where To Get Your Top Dressing

Bags of top dressing mixtures are readily available from turf farms, lawn care centres and nurseries and provide all the relevant handling and application information.

TIP: Work out the size of your lawn before you buy as a general guide a 2kg bag will be enough to top dress a square metre of lawn.

For more tips and a great summary of the things weve outlined in this article, check out this video from Lawn Solutions Australia:

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Deciding How Much Dressing To Get

You want to spread about 1cm of top dressing across your entire lawn. Any more and your grass blades may struggle for sunlight, which can cause them to wither. Your lawn should still look mostly green, rather than brown.

This does mean that top dressing has a limited impact on making your lawn more level. Adding a centimetre of top dressing will fill only the smallest of holes.

How Much Does It Cost To Top Dress My Lawn

4 Ways to Topdress a Lawn

Our prices for granular compost top dressing start at:

  • $85.00 for up to 1000 square feet.
  • $155.00 for up to 4000 square feet.

Applying Compost is a proven maintenance practice in the golf course industry and the same principle also applies to commercial and residential lawn application. Good results are realized when a adding organic material to your existing soil and established lawn in conjunction with aeration. Reseeding of the area often follows. This process improves microbial activity, increases water-holding capacity of the soil, reduces soil compaction and helps improve the degradation of thatch.

LawnSavers Organics Dry granular Lawn Dressing is a unique formula, consistent in both its chemical and physical characteristics. The product is milled & screened and dried producing a product with an easy to handle texture, free of foreign objects with no objectionable odors and is complimented by the extra fertility bonus. The composted organics that make up LawnSavers Organics Lawn Dressing is loaded with a natural source of N-P-K . One application will provide a generous supply of essential nutrients and the visible quality of the lawn will normally increase significantly! The recommendation for best results is one application in the spring and another in the fall, depending on the condition of the lawn. Using LawnSavers Organic compost Lawn Dressing helps achieve the ideal physical soil conditions while adding natural fertility in proportionate amounts.

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Learn More About Topdressing Lawns

Top dressing is a brilliant alternative to chemical fertilizers. Its a great way to manage a healthy lawn with purely organic options.

It was pioneered and developed especially for the golfing industry, where lush, pristine greens were needed for playing. In early days, it was actually the only option to grow healthy lawns since chemical fertilizers didnt exist.

Add A Lawn Top Dressing Mix

Not all types of grass have the same nutritional requirements, so it’s not always necessary to buy the most expensive compost or topsoil you can find. In fact, if you simply want to level your yard without blowing your budget, you can use coarse sand. Alternatively, you can mix coarse sand with topsoil and/or compost to cover more area at a lower cost per square foot.

To be absolutely sure you get a top dressing with adequate nutrients for your variety of grass, send a soil test to your local extension office for analysis. Penn State Extension notes that grasses need 16 different nutrients to thrive, and your top dressing mix might not include each of these in adequate amounts.

Once you’ve selected the top dressing, empty the bags or dump the wheelbarrow loads throughout the lawn. Then use a garden rake to pull the top dressing out from the center pile on all sides. Try to get the top dressing about a quarter of an inch thick on all areas of your lawn. If you notice dips that you want to level out, add a thicker layer of your soil, sand, or compost and tamp it down.

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Applying Top Dressing To A Lawn

Time needed: 1 day.

Have you ever wondered how to apply top dressing to a lawn? Top dressing is applied to lawns to level out any minor imperfections on the surface of a lawn and it helps to create an ideal environment for new grass seeds to germinate. Top dressing is commonly carried out by lawn care experts during Autumn or Spring. Many of the UK Lawn Care Associations lawn care experts opt for organic top dressing, which is made from well-rotted garden waste and helps to get organic matter back into the soil. The typical stages of applying top dressing are as follows:

  • Before applying top dressing

    The lawn should be prepared by scarificationand aeration. Scarification removes the excess thatch which sits at the surface of the soil and aeration helps to alleviate any compaction in the soil under the lawn. Scarifying and aerating the lawn helps to ensure the top dressing can be worked deep into the sward.

  • Select a top dressing

    There are many types of top-dressing products available to choose from. Many of the UK Lawn Care Associations member companies choose organic soil conditioner top dressings to help ensure organic matter gets back into the soil. Most top dressings are made up of a mix of sand and loam with the proportions stated, such as a 50/50 or 70/30 sand/loam mix.

  • Watering after top dressing

    Once the top dressing has been applied to the lawn, be sure to water the lawn daily during spells of dry weather.

  • Broadcast Or Drop Spreader

    How to Topdress & Level Your Lawn Using Sand or TopSoil? Beginners DIY Guide

    A drop spreader has adjustable holes at the bottom and a mechanism fitted on the handle, allowing you to set the preferred opening sizes.

    Just like the peat moss spreader, it works best with dry and screened compost. Clumpy or wet compost will clog the spreader holes, and unless you have a tow-behind drop spreader it still may not work well for you.

    I include this tool here because its helpful for spreading grass seed if youre spreading seed on your lawn as you top dress. But I do prefer to use a broadcast spreader if you have to use one or the other.

    A broadcast spreader has a spinning wheel attached beneath a single hole from which the compost drops. When the wheel spins, it tosses seed or fertilizer across the lawn instead of dropping it beneath the spreader directly.

    Some people use these spreaders for fine, dry compost but I dont recommend that its not the best way to do the job.

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    By Step Guide To Topdressing A Lawn

    Before you begin, youll need to do some preparation. Thatch and moss must be raked out of the lawn or else the layers of thatch and soil will form barriers which can prevent things like water and fertiliser reaching the roots of the grass.

    The other step you must take is sourcing the right soil. Make sure it actually will enhance the soil youve already got and is free from weeds you dont want to spend an afternoon sowing dandelions amongst your turf! Evergreen Lawn Soil will be perfect for most.

    If your soil is particularly compacted, its probably also wise to aerate your lawn before you begin.

    Topdressing itself is actually quite simple. Using a spade, spread the top dressing soil as evenly as you can around your lawn at a rate of about 2kg per square metre . You can increase this rate if youre trying to make a particular spot more even.

    The next step is to work the soil into the grass the aim is to get as much of the new soil youve spread over the lawn touching the existing top soil as possible. For most of us, this can be done with the back of a rake and is made easier still by letting the soil dry out on the surface of the lawn for an hour or so beforehand.

    Finally, remove any excess soil from areas where its still covering the surface of the grass, and youre done. Simple, organic lawn-care!

    To take a look at our top dressing soil click here.

    Lawn Top Dressing: What Why When And How To Top Dress Your Lawn

    Top dressing is one of those lawn treatments normally undertaken by more serious lawnsmiths. The ones who wont accept anything less than perfection.

    Its also carried out by greenkeepers who look after bowling greens and golf courses.

    If youre not particularly green-fingered and you wouldnt consider your lawn to be your pride and joy, then top dressing probably isnt for you . Its hard work and can be expensive.

    However, if you love your lawn and youre in the pursuit of perfection, read on.

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