Top dressing and aeration are often considered to be the best techniques for improving your lawn’s overall health and appearance. While most Calgarians are now familiar with aeration, some haven’t heard about top dressing. Top dressing first became an important practice at golf courses, where perfectly smooth and lush greens are vital, but it has gained popularity with homeowners who wish to replicate the results in their own lawn.
The value of top dressing has even been studied scientifically by researchers at Rutgers University, who found top dressing (especially in coordination with aeration) makes an observable positive impact in managing organic matter accumulation (thatch) and improving overall turf health.
Improve Soil Quality.
Aeration removes small plugs of soil from your turf, reducing compaction and improving how deep moisture and gasses (such as oxygen and nitrogen) can permeate. By aerating and then top dressing with a high quality soil blend, like our 7030 garden mix, you allow compost, and nutrient-rich loam to mix into your yard’s tired topsoil. This leads to improved soil quality right in the root zone — the area of the topsoil that your grasses’ roots are most dependent on.
Annually aerating and then top dressing with a top quality soil blend, which includes amendments like fine mulch and compost, will also slowly improve your turf’s drainage over time, increase the number of beneficial microbes, and control thatch accumulation.
Smooth the Surface.
One of the immediate effects of top dressing is a smoothing of your lawn’s surface. Small lumps and holes will disappear as the added soil fills and evens your turf. If evening undulations in your yard is your top priority, you can have your landscaper topdress with either fine sand or a quality soil. The layer of new soil will be thin, typically no more than ¼ – ½ inch, so don’t expect miracles when treating substantial dips and bumps for the first time.
Intensify Seed Germination.
After aerating and top dressing, the final step for maximizing your lawn’s health and beauty is overseeding. Grass seeds germinate best when three conditions are met: the seed is in direct contact with soil, the seed and soil is kept moist, and the seed is not buried. Topdressing before you overseed ensures that your new seed is in firm contact with high quality soil, instead of trapped in a thatch layer.
When overseeding, we recommend topdressing with a garden mix rich in compost and skipping the manure. Too much manure can burn fragile, new grass. Soil Kings aged compost will provide the extra nutrients you desire without unwanted acidity or harm to your growing grass.
It’s hard to overstate how beneficial top dressing can be for a yard. In coordination with aeration and overseeding, topdressing can help transform a tired, yellowed yard into a lush, healthy lawn you (or your client) can be proud of. For the best results, choose a top quality soil from Soil Kings and have it delivered in bulk for less!