Top Dressing Your Lawn

We’ve talked about composting your lawn and the tremendous nutritional benefits it can bring to your lawn; in this blog post, we’d like to take it a step further and go into detail about top dressing your lawn, how to do it, and what it can do for your grass.

What is Top Dressing?

According to Lawn Care Academy, top dressing is the “process of applying compost or sand over the surface of your lawn”. Top dressing is a fairly common and easy to implement lawn care practice designed to improve the quality of soil and the health and vitality of your lawn.

Why Top Dress?

There are many reasons why top dressing is an excellent idea if you’re looking to give your lawn an extra boost. These reasons include:

  • Reduction of thatch and dead grass accumulation
  • Reduction of the need for fertilizer
  • Improvement in soil health and structure
  • Addition of organic matter to lawn soil
  • Improvement in water retention
  • Reduction in traffic stress

Picking Your Top Dressing Materials

The kind of compost you pick for top dressing your lawn will depend largely on the structure of your soil and the amount of money you’re willing to pay for top dressing. If your lawn’s soil is unhealthy and your lawn shows significant signs of damage and lack of vitality, opting for a pure, organic compost will give you the best results. If your lawn is fairly healthy and you’re just looking to give it a boost, opting for a cheaper compost mixed with topsoil or sand would likely do the trick.

How to Top Dress Your Lawn

Top dressing is a fairly simple process. For cool season grasses, top dress in the fall and for warm season grasses, it’s best to do it in the spring. To top dress your lawn:

  1. Power rake your lawn if it has more than half an inch of thatch (dead grass). Top dressing your lawn while it’s still covered in thatch will prevent the top dressing from reaching your soil and could actually block nutrients, water, and sunlight from reaching the roots.

  2. After cleaning up the thatch and debris, mow your lawn on a fairly low setting (don’t overdo it).

  3. If your lawn’s soil is in bad shape or is clay-like, aerate your lawn to maximize the efficacy of the top dressing.

  4. Evenly distribute the top dressing over your lawn so that it is roughly ¼ inch to ½ inch deep.

  5. Your soil should begin to see the positive effects of top dressing within a few weeks.

DIY top dressing your lawn can be fun but mowing it sure ain’t. Get Yardly to mow your lawn for you by getting a free quote or ordering with our nifty webapp today!

Nenad Dumanovic

Nenad Dumanovic worked for Yardly, the Lawn Care and Snow Removal Service Platform, as an Operations Coordinator. Read his posts for insights to maintaining the perfect lawn and property.