Lawn Top Dressing

Lawn during top dressing

Top dressing is applied to a lawn if it is poor condition, usually following mechanical works such as scarifying or aeration.  The dressing will level out minor imperfections in the lawn surface whilst creating an environment where new seed can successfully germinate.  This process is usually carried out during the spring or autumn.

What is Lawn Top Dressing?

Many types of top-dressing products are available, usually made from a mixture of sand and loam or refined organic compost.  The percentage of sand and loam is stated as 50/50 or 70/30.  For example, 70/30 top dressing would be 70% washed sand and 30% fine loam.

Organic soil conditioner top dressing is fast becoming very popular with lawn care professionals because it is derived from well-rotted garden waste.  When applied, it is ideal for putting organic matter back into the soil whilst assisting seed germination.

How to apply Lawn Top Dressing

To improve surface levels, top dressing needs to be applied evenly over the entire area of your lawn.  The quantity required will depend on the condition of your lawn, but as a rule of thumb you should allow between 0.5 and 1 m3 of product per 100 square metres. Prior to top dressing, scarifying and aeration should be performed so as to remove surplus thatch and moss and enable the dressing to be worked deep into the sward and covering any thin or bare patches.  Over-seeding can be done at the same time. Lawn top dressing can be spread by using a wheelbarrow and shovel and then brushed in, but this can be a painstaking, time consuming process.  Lawn care professionals are likely to use a mechanical spreader to apply the product evenly and then use a mechanical brush or drag-mat to work it into the lawn.
lawn technician preparing lawn for lawn dressing

After applying top dressing

After top-dressing, your lawn should not be mowed until the grass has recovered to approximately 2-3 inches long.  Be aware that newly germinating seed will be starting to emerge, and the lawn may take many months to recover.  Water daily during periods of dry weather to assist recovery.

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