Table of Contents
What is Topdressing For?
Topdressing is commonly used on golf courses, but many homeowners use it on their lawns as well. Sand, compost, or topsoil is applied as a thin layer in order to control the accumulation of thatch.
Sand is also used to level out the surface and eliminate low spots. It can fill in the holes and make it uniform. It also covers up tree roots that can be unsightly and a safety hazard. Topdressing can also help you cover up those ugly spots in your yard where the grass refuses to grow.
Another reason to apply a layer of topdressing is to prevent or reduce compacted soil. Compacted soil happens when there are no pores or pockets of air within the dirt. Water is unable to fully penetrate the soil and plants cannot efficiently grow their roots. This makes it hard to adequately grow grass and other vegetation.
It is important to note that you should not use topdressing in an attempt to correct clay soil. This can cause additional compacted soil and be more harmful.
Topdressing that contains compost is a simple method to provide a steady dose of nutrition to your yard. The compost will slowly break down and give the nutrients to your grass. Since topdressing also fills in bare spots and holes, your yard will look green and luscious if you apply it correctly.
Should I Use Sand?
You can surely use sand, but you shouldn’t use 100% sand. Most yards have clay in them. Putting pure sand on top will harden the clay and compact it. This will make it even harder for grass to develop roots and grow. The drainage is severely impacted and this causes more problems with the lawn.
In addition, sand alone does not give any nutrients to the soil beneath it. If you regularly add 100% sand as topdressing, it can have a detrimental impact on your grass’ ability to grow.
Then how do golf courses use sand as topdressing and still have green luscious grass? Golf courses are maintained every day and use a different type of soil than homeowners.
However, sand is great for eliminating excess thatch, covering up roots, and leveling the yard. But it still isn’t good to use 100% sand. Instead you should mix it with topsoil or compost. A mixture of 50% topsoil or compost and 50% sand tends to work well.
It is best to use quarry sand or river sand. Seaside sand contains salt that will kill your grass. Also, try to get coarse sand over fine sand.
How Often Should You Topdress Your Lawn?
The frequency of applying topdressing to your lawn depends on your soil. If you have high quality soil, you probably don’t need to topdress as much.
A good rule of thumb is once a year. This is often enough even for low quality soil. Make sure you don’t use topdressing too much either. Never topdress more than twice in a season and even doing that should be a one time thing.
When Should You Apply Topdressing?
You should think about applying topdressing if your lawn is lacking nutrients, if the soil layer is thin, or if you have uneven spots or bare spots. But you also need to consider the time of year.
Never apply topdressing during the Winter because it can actually kill your entire yard. You should topdress during the growing season which varies depending on where you live, but is usually from the beginning of Spring to the middle of the Summer. A good way to judge is looking at your mowing frequency. If you are mowing every week, you are good to go.
Do not wait too long until the late Summer because you do want to mow it a few times before Winter. Also, try to apply topdressing when there is no rain in the forecast. Rain will make it difficult to work with.
How to Put Topdressing on Your Lawn
The first thing you should know is that you should never use too much topdressing, especially if you use sand. You also need to make sure that it is evenly applied over the entire yard. This can suffocate the grass beneath it. You do want your grass to grow don’t you?
The best time to apply topdressing to bare spots and dips in your yard is when the grass is growing the most. This is usually during the Spring and Summer, but can change depending on the type of grass and where you are located.
You should also make sure to mow your yard before applying any topdressing. You need to cut the grass no. If you have thatch coverage is too thick then you need to remove some first. To test, stick your finger into it. If it is thicker than your fingernail, you will need to thin it out first.
For Bare Spots:
To repair bare spots you will need:
- Compost (optional)
- Grass seed
- A Spade
First, you need to thoroughly mix 50% sand with 50% topsoil (you can add in compost too). Then you need to prep the area where you will apply the topdressing.
You will want to dig down around the bare spot to remove as much of the unhealthy or dead material that you can. Remove the dead roots and only stop when you get to the healthy grass and root system.
Fill in the hole that you dug up with pure topsoil. You want to fill it until it is level. Sprinkle the grass seed on top. You should use a third of a pound of grass seed for every 250 square feet of dirt you apply it to.
Now you need to cover with an eight of an inch of sand and topsoil mixture. Tap it down with your hand. Now you cover that with a thin layer of mulch. You need to keep it covered until the seed germinates. This will take at least 2 weeks.
You have to make sure that there is sufficient water. If you live in a dry area, or if your area is experiencing a dry spell, you may need to water it two times every day. Make sure to keep it moist, but don’t let the water build up. Soon, the seeds will sprout and you will be on your way to a beautiful lawn.
For Low Spots:
To eliminate low spots in your yard, you will need:
- Compost (optional)
- A Spade
- A rake
The first step is to prepare your lawn patching mixture. Combine even amounts of topsoil and sand (you can mix compost into the topsoil first). You will spread this mix into the holes and dips in your yard.
You should never add more than a half inch of the mixture at once so that the grass will be able to grow through. Level it off using a spade and then fertilize it. Don’t use too much fertilizer.
No you can use a rake to scrape lightly on the topdressing. This will help it fall in between the blades of grass. Finally, you need to adequately water the entire yard.
After the grass has grown up through the mixture you applied, you can repeat. To ensure that the grass will sufficiently grow, it is best to wait at least a month to a month and a half. Depending on the elements and type of grass, it could be longer.
Now you can repeat the process adding another half inch of the soil and sand mixture. Do this until the spots are level throughout your yard.