A top dressing generally consists of a mix of materials such as sand, soil and loam which are manually added to the surface of the lawn and brushed or raked in. These materials aid with drainage, help break down thatch and provides organic matter to the soil which in turn helps feed the lawn.
What does lawn top dressing do?
Top dressing does not just improve the look of your lawn, but also benefits the health of the grass. It allows you to maintain a true and level lawn surface by filling in any imperfections or hollow areas to create a smooth surface which makes sowing a new lawn not only easier but will create a much better looking lawn. It also helps to dilute the thatch layers, assisting in their natural breakdown and preventing them from building up.
For lawns that suffer from water logging a sand based top dressing applied after aeration can help improve the drainage and adding a loam based top dressing will help protect the lawn from drought.
When is it best to top dress your lawn?
It’s always best to Top Dress your lawn in the early autumn after some maintenance has occurred such as scarification and aeration.
Scarification removes the build up of debris in the lawn (known as ‘thatch’) and aeration creates small holes in the lawn, allowing air circulation and drainage.
Both these processes can be done manually or with machinery depending on your budget and size of lawn.
Top dressing your lawn in the autumn after the stress that many lawns will have suffered from the summer such as high traffic and possible drought will not only help the lawn to recover but will prepare it to cope with the winter ahead.
Also, in autumn the soil will still be warm and there will be moisture which are perfect conditions for any new grass seed to grow well.
Top Dressing can also be done in spring but the soil will usually be much colder for germination to occur and the risk of frost tends to be greater.
How to top dress your lawn
You can make your own Top Dressing using a mix of materials but it is much easier to buy pre-mixed Top Dressing such as Miracle-Gro EverGreen Lawn Dressing.
The risk of making your own top dressing can lead to weeds, the wrong ratio and also using the wrong type of sand – it must be lime free.
Make sure you have mown your lawn short and cleared away grass clippings before top dressing. Mowing the lawn enables the dressing to penetrate down to the soil, adding back organic matter and also allows you to see where any lumps and bumps are, enabling you to smooth them out.
Ideally top dress on a calm dry day with a dry lawn and dry top dressing.