Turf Topdressing – Why, When and How To Do It
In this guide, we'll explore the essential aspects of why, when and how to topdress your turf. Whether you're a seasoned turf management professional or a homeowner looking to enhance your lawn, this quick read will provide valuable insights into the benefits and best practices of turf topdressing.
You will need:
- Lawn Rake or Scarifier
- A good quality Top Dressing or Lawn Sand
How to Topdress your Lawn or Turf
Topdressing your lawn or sports turf should be an important part of your turf maintenance programme. It refers to applying additional material to your turf’s surface and is widely known to improve the performance and appearance of lawns and turf.
Type of Topdressing
There are many different types of top dressing such as sand, soil, peat and loam based top dressings. One of the most common top dressings is a 70/30 top dressing mix (70% sand and 30% loam). Many top dressings are screened and graded to a certain size. There are even specialist Sports Top Dressings available such as Profile Greens Grade, which are used in the construction of golf greens and cricket wickets. It is important to use the correct top dressing for your requirements and one that will match closely with your existing soil.
The main benefits of topdressing include the following:
- Improves the turf’s resilience to disease.
- Keep the turf’s surface level by filling in hollows and undulations with the topdressing.
- Sand based topdressings can improve drainage and firm up the surface. This is particularly effective after turf aeration.
- Compost based topdressings can improve the drought tolerance of the turf.
- Some topdressings include additional nutrients that can improve the turf’s appearance and performance, such as iron to help control moss or nitrogen to increase growth.
When to Topdress
The best time to dress your turf is during periods of grass growth, so in regular conditions, any time during April and October. Traditionally this is done in late Spring or early Autumn to correspond with usual turf renovation programmes. It is recommended to apply top-dressing at least once a year after a period of turf renovation such as aeration.
How to Topdress
Applying top dressing is a simple process. First, mow the lawn to aid with working the top dressing into the soil. An important step before applying top dressing is scarification of the turf using a lawn rake or scarifier machine. This process removes any thatch or moss in the turf. Next, spread the topdressing as evenly across the turf as you can. The most common rate is around 4 kg per square meter; however this may vary according to your needs. You can use a fertiliser spreader for even coverage, or simply apply by using shovel and spreading in a casting motion. Begin working the topdressing into the turf immediately using a landscaper rake, drag mat or lute. Repeat until the top dressing becomes part of the soil. If it doesn’t rain within a few days of applying, lightly water to wash in any loose material.