Plants need quality, rich, well-drained soil to grow fully and healthily. Lawns are no exception to this rule. Fertilizers are used to provide the plant with all the nutrients it needs to be healthy, but what about the soil in which it grows? For a beautiful and vigorous lawn, we must also think about feeding the soil and correcting any structural problems it may have by adding organic matter. How to do it? It’s very simple: top dress your lawn in the spring or fall season. Top dressing is an ecological and effective practice that corrects many problems directly at the source – the roots – and allows you to obtain a healthy soil and lawn naturally.
Often the soil underneath the lawn has a poor quality. The lucky ones will have 5 cm of good, rich soil under their lawn, but that’s not enough to give the lawn everything it needs to thrive, especially since underneath that few centimeters is, in most cases, poor, compacted soil. 10 to 15 cm of good soil is ideal if you want your lawn to be strong, dense and resistant to bad weather, insects and diseases. This can be achieved by top dressing and changing the structure of the soil so that the lawn is healthy.
What is Top dressing?
Top dressing involves spreading a thin layer of lawn soil or compost over the entire surface of the lawn. This technique is widely used on golf courses to nourish the soil, which in turn nourishes your lawn. Lawn fertilizers contain good nutrients to feed the plant, but little amount of organic matter to feed the soil. Combining the two, top dressing and proper lawn fertilization, produces excellent results.
Why top dress your lawn?
Top dressing has multiple benefits for the lawn. It evens out bumpy lawns, making them look nicer, flatter and therefore easier to mow. Top dressing is necessary if the lawn was seeded or laid on nutrient-poor soil, but even the best soils become depleted over time.
Provide a good dose of organic matter
The addition of organic matter will make the soil more loose (less hard) and improve drainage while allowing the soil to retain water better in times of drought.
Stimulate rooting and microbial activity in the soil
Microorganisms in the compost transform thatch into organic matter. Better soil life benefits the roots and allows them to establish themselves more easily at depth, making the lawn stronger and more vigorous.
When to top dress your lawn
Top dressing is done annually, ideally in the fall but otherwise in the spring. We also take the opportunity to overseed, which means adding grass seed to the existing lawn to make it denser. A dense lawn is more resistant and leaves little room for insects, diseases and weeds to establish themselves. If you want to optimize this process further, aerate your yard before top dressing and overseeding. This will make mixing the new soil with the existing soil easier and faster.
For more tips and advice or to learn about lawn care, check out our Lawn Calendar.