wikiHow to Topdress a Lawn

Four Methods:Aerate Your LawnPrepare the Topdress MaterialApply the TopdressingRepeat the Process if Necessary

If you’re thinking your yard needs some help to make it look good, you may want to learn how to topdress a lawn. This simple process, best performed in the fall, can help remove low spots caused by rotting roots and drainage problems. It can also help even the ground if you have problems with tunneling animals such as moles. Even if your lawn has no noticeable problems topdressing it can provide nutrients to healthy grass.

Method 1
Aerate Your Lawn

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    Assess whether your lawn is due for aeration. You should aerate your lawn every 2 to 3 years. This process removes small plugs of soil from the ground and allows new nutrients, soils, air and water to get to the roots of the existing plants. If your lawn is large, you may want to break it up into smaller segments and do a different one each year.
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    Choose an aerator. Rent an aerator if you don’t have one. You can find manual models, as well as models that you can pull behind a riding lawn mower. If you have a small lawn, you can even consider aerators that strap onto your shoes. You just walk around your lawn and poke holes in it with the soles of the aerators.
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    Run the aerator over your lawn.

Method 2
Prepare the Topdress Material

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    Assess what type of soil you have. The type of soil you have determines how to topdress a lawn, because you want to balance out your soil. For example, a heavy clay soil should have plenty of sand added to the topdress material to provide additional drainage.
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    Mix the topdressing in your wheelbarrow or some other large container. A basic mix is 3 parts sand with 3 parts loam and 1 part peat. Adjust this to allow for your soil type. Work the mixture until it is as lump free as possible.
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    Use homemade compost only if you know that it has no weed seed in it. Otherwise you may just be planting more weeds in your yard.
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    Make sure the sand is lime free. Don’t use sea sand for topdressing.

Method 3
Apply the Topdressing

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    Use a shovel or your hands to scatter the topdressing material over the lawn. Don’t worry if it’s not even at this point. Apply approximately 3 to 4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kilograms) of topdressing per square yard/meter. A good rule of thumb is to not have topdressing more than 1-inch thick in any spot.
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    Take the back side of a rake or a topdressing tool called a lute and work the topdressing material into the grass to the soil level. There should be no visible remaining top dress when you finish this step.
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    Fill in low spots. Remember to leave the tips of the grass exposed to the air. If you put down too much topdress, remove it.
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    Sow new grass seed in bare spots in your lawn after you topdress. The extra nutrients and fresh soil can help it germinate and take root quickly.

Method 4
Repeat the Process if Necessary

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    Allow the topdress to settle. Wait for a rain shower or sprinkle the lawn to facilitate the process.
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    Add a bit more topdress material, if necessary, to low places. Be careful not to totally cover the grass. Rake the topdress material so it covers the low spots.

Things You'll Need

  • Aerator
  • Sand
  • Loam
  • Peat
  • Wheelbarrow or some other large container
  • Shovel
  • Rake or topdressing lute
  • Grass seed (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care