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Topdressing

Topdressing a lawn is accomplished by spreading a thin layer of material such as compost or sand over the grass. This practice has been observed since golf was first invented in Scotland and is gaining popularity with homeowners looking for organic lawn care strategies.

When the soil under your grass starts to lose its oomph, or it’s a new lawn that isn’t doing well, pulling all of the grass up to amend it isn’t a feasible option. Topdressing is a simpler way to see the following benefits in your lawn.

  • Improve the soil structure, water holding capacity, and cation exchange capacity.
  • Build up beneficial soil microbes.
  • Reduce thatch.
  • Smooth out uneven terrain from worm castings, freeze/thaw cycle, or water runoff.

One of the first and most important steps is deciding what type of topdressing material you should use. Choosing the wrong material can create serious problems.

The most common options are sand, topsoil similar to your existing soil, high-quality compost, or a custom blended mix of the materials.

  • Sand is used extensively on golf courses, especially on man-made greens. It can be also used with heavy clay soils to improve drainage.
  • Compost is the most recommended material to use, as long as it is completely finished and has few fillers.
  • Most often a blend of compost and either topsoil/sand is recommended.

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