Top Dressing your lawn is an almost forgotten practice. If you don’t watch This Old House you may have never even seen it done (or advertised). Most landscaping companies don’t advertise top dressing because its labor intensive and expensive to do with little profit margin. Typically, this service is only offered by companies when the lawn is freshly seeded, or during rehab projects with fresh sod and heavy clay soils. Athletic field and golf course superintendents have been integrating top dressing into their regular turf management programs for years. Unfortunately, soil conditioning and maintenance is rarely a focus for most turf companies. However, the benefits of top dressing are numerous, and it should be one of the building blocks in a healthy turf program. In combination with Aeration, over seeding, and fertilizing, top dressing is one of the most important things we can do to promote a healthy turf.
What Is Top Dressing?
Top Dressing is the practice of spreading a thin layer of compost, composted manure, top soil, or sand (or a combination of these) across the surface of the lawn at a depth of ¼”-1/2”. Typically ¼” is standard.
What Are The benefits Of Top Dressing?
The benefits of top dressing are numerous. Top dressing reduces thatch, promotes healthy organisms in the soil, levels the lawn service, reduces soil compaction, increases water penetration and nutrient uptake, and by extension increases the root depth of turf.
When Should I Top Dress My Lawn?
You should top dress your lawn when it is actively growing.
Can I do It Myself?
Yes, you can certainly top dress your lawn yourself. However, it is very labor intensive. Unless you’re willing to rent a commercial top dressing machine you’re going to be spreading your top dress by hand, with a shovel and wheel barrow (or a drag rake behind a mower or four wheeler). Generally, it’s a good idea to pay a professional lawn care company to top dress your lawn (if they offer the service).
Top dressing is one of the most important things that we can do to maintain a thick, luscious lawn. As Is the case with most components of a magazine quality lawn, the devil is in the details. Top dressing and soil amending should not be overlooked in any lawn care program.
Garth Jones, Owner
Scenic Law Care And Landscaping, LLC