What is top dressing?
Top dressing is the process of adding soil or organic material to the surface of the lawn to improve its quality and to create a smooth level surface overtime. The top dressing we apply to your lawn will eventually become part of the root zone (soil where grass roots grow best) so it’s important that the right top dressing for your soil type is used.
We typically use topdressing as an aid for seed germination and soil improvement after a lawn renovation but it can also be used to help smooth a lawn. Topdressing to smooth a lawn can take some time and investment, depending on the condition of the lawn multiple applications might be required as you should only apply 1/4 inch each time.
Benefits of top dressing
- Lusher, thicker lawn – the formation of new shoots & runners is stimulated, encouraging a healthy dense sward
- Smooths the lawn – hollows are filled so that a truer surface is obtained
- Encourages the breakdown of thatch
- Improves the soil quality
- Greatly improves overseeding results – germination and growth is stronger
We only use professional quality top dressing
In general the quality is determined by these factors:
The grade is the most important factor in our opinion. When choosing the best grade top soil for your lawn we look at pH level, Phosphorus index, Potassium index, Magnesium index and screen rate.
It goes without saying that we only use top dressing that has been screened multiple times and treated to reduce the chances of weeds.
We only use top dressing that is close to your existing soil’s pH and preferably one that improves it.
Good top soil
Soil is a mixture of a mineral content of sand, silt and clay, organic matter and air. Good soil is know as loam, it contains all these parts in the right proportions meaning the grass plant can root, feed, drink and breathe with minimal stress and difficulty. This is what we look for when choosing the right top dressing for you lawn, if your soil is good you’ll have a healthier lawn with good growth and fewer problems.
If your soil is creating an environment that is detrimental to your lawn’s health top soil can improve this by:
- Adding organics and humus to poor, very sandy or heavy clay soils
- Adding loam soil to very sandy soils
- Adding sandy loam soil to clay soils
- Adding loam soil if the depth of the existing top dressing is 3.5 inches or below
pH is one of the more important properties of soils when it comes to grass.
Grass likes a pH between 5.5 and 7. Finer grasses types such as bents and fescues prefer a slightly acidic soil (around 5.5.) whereas the broader leaved rye and meadow grasses like a more neutral 6.5.
Nutrients for grasses are most readily available around the neutral pH level. In addition, microbes are at their most active helping to control thatch levels and breaking down organic material. On the downside however, weeds also like a more neutral pH.
As part of the initial visit we may take a sample of your soil to obtain your soil’s pH level, woodrush, sheep’s sorrel or moss with the finer leaved grasses doing particularly well is an indicator of an acidic soil. Whereas if your lawn has broader leaved grasses and a variety of broad leaved weeds your lawn will probably be neutral or possibly alkaline.