Gardening AdviceSeasonal Lawn Care – The Full Guide
Keep in mind that you don’t have to topdress a newly planted or renovated lawn. Topdressing can damage and suffocate delicate roots.
A house with a lush and well-maintained lawn is a dream of many homeowners. Enjoying a fresh cup of coffee at the sight of neat, green grass on a sunny day, it’s priceless. Undoubtedly, growing a beautiful and healthy lawn is a challenging job, involving a range of maintenance tasks at different times of the year. One of them that certainly can improve turf quality and every gardening enthusiast will enjoy is lawn topdressing.
Although it can be a little time-consuming, topdressing is quite a simple task, which can resolve serious lawn problems. It can help with the lack of topsoil underneath the grass, uneven terrains, dead spots, poor drainage and more. It’s definitely worth a try and will give you more than it will take. In a week, you’ll notice your lawn looking revived.
So, if you:
Keep reading. In this article, you will learn all you need to perform lawn topdressing. We’ve gathered useful tips from the pros, as well as detailed instructions on when and how to get the job done in the right way.
Lawn topdressing is the process of applying a thin layer of special soil mix over the grass. It’s a simple organic lawn care operation that feeds up the topsoil and improves the lawn’s appearance by correcting the terrain’s imperfections in the easiest way possible.
Probably, if your lawn is correctly established and fertilised regularly, you may think that topdressing is not necessary. However, it has many more benefits than fertilising, such as levelling, improving drainage and decreasing thatch build-up.
Let’s have a look at them in more detail:
As you probably can guess, this should be done during the spring or early summer, when the grass has started growing and you’ve begun to mow regularly. Generally, you may apply a topdressing mixture whenever you need to improve your turf’s look or minimise uneven spots, but not during the winter. Covering the grass with a topdressing mix, when it’s not growing, may damage or even kill the lawn.
Another thing you have to consider is the weather forecast. Be sure that rainy weather can make your work difficult, especially when you need to level the grassed area.
The most important thing when choosing the topdressing mix is to consider whether it will suit the texture and composition of the underlying soil. A topdressing mixture with a finer texture can make it difficult for water and air to move through the layers. So, the end result will be poor turf quality. Most topsoil products are an 80/20 blend of sandy and loam soils, so sticking to a similar structure will be fine.
Many options are available on the market, which contain compost, sand, loam and fertilisers in different proportions. A blend of compost and either topsoil or sand is recommended as it gives excellent results. Compost has the quality to release nutrients slowly for an extended period. It will ideally assist turf growth and will also protect the lawn from plant diseases. You can check the options available at your local gardening store or order online.
Keep in mind that using topsoil or sandy soil is not a good choice. Both will help with levelling and improving soil drainage, but won’t add as many valuable nutrients, as a proper topdressing mix with organic matter.
As for the quantity of the topdressing product, you don’t need a special topdressing lawn calculator. A bag of 25 litres of a standard mix should cover about 12 m2, or in other words, you need 2 litres per square metre of lawn. So, measure the area you want to treat before getting the right amount.
In this process, you aim to spread a thin layer of topdressing mix over the lawn after proper preparation. It’ll add valuable nutrients around the root zone, help healthier growth, and improve the soil structure. An essential part of the preparation is that you should mow the lawn before topdressing it at about 40 – 45 mm grass length. It’s better to do it the day before. So, let’s get on with the supplies.
These are the tools and material you will need for the job:
So, now we are ready to start with the first step of the process.
Lawn aeration is an integral part of the job because it provides the roots with easy access to water, air and nutrients. Use a lawn aerating device and make sure not to miss some area of the lawn. You should remove all the plugs of grass and soil. You don’t want to leave them over the lawn, as they will form bumps later.
Use the steel rake to remove all the grass clippings, plugs, debris, thatch and moss from the lawn. By doing this, you’ll prepare the terrain for the next steps, making sure the topdressing and fertilisers will reach the grass’ roots easily.
This is not a mandatory step, but it’s a perfect time if you haven’t done it recently. Keep in mind that it’s best to fertilise the lawn a few weeks before topdressing it for maximum effect. Also, some top dressing mixtures are enriched with fertilisers. So, if you are supplied with such topdressing, skip this step.
Follow the instructions on your fertiliser to spread it evenly on the grass, and you can also check our guide on How to properly fertilise a lawn for more tips.
Now that you’ve prepared the lawn, it’s time to apply the mix. Here is how:
Water the lawn well using a hose or sprinkler. This will move the mix down to the roots, penetrating the topsoil better. When you are done, remove all the tools and materials from the grass and try not to walk on it for a week.
You should water the lawn daily for a few weeks after topdressing it. This will help the product mix better with the topsoil and the nutrients it contains reach the turf roots. As a result, your lawn will revive quicker and thrive. Of course, make sure not to soak the lawn.
The short answer is – it depends on the situation. Healthy lawns should be topdressed once in a few years with a small amount of material – ½ to 1kg per square metre. However, if you are trying to restore a weak lawn, you can topdress it 2 or 3 times a year.
Remember that thinner layers can be applied more often, as they will penetrate faster into the topsoil, and the lawn will remain beautiful. Thicker layers need more time to penetrate, so your turf may not look its best for about a week or sometimes, more. Also, you don’t always need to treat the whole lawn. You can apply a topdressing mixture only on weak or problematic spots.
We hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them below. Also, it would be great if you tell us about your experience with topdressing.