Top dressing a lawn is recommended for uneven lawns, holes in your lawn or to improve the existing growing medium. If you have a healthy, level lawn that is fertilised and watered regularly there would not be a need to top dress.
When considering top dressing your lawn, it’s a good idea to fertilise the lawn 1-2 weeks prior to carrying out the top dressing. Top dressing a lawn has the best results if it’s done when the lawn is actively growing. We recommend top dressing from late Spring onwards after you’ve fertilised it to encourage growth.
Why Top Dress?
If your lawn is healthy there is no need to top dress a lawn. Generally, only top dress when your lawn is uneven or to fill in low spots.
When to Top Dress?
By placing top dressing on your lawn, you’re hoping for the grass to grow quickly through the new soil. Top dressing a lawn is best done during the growing season which is when your lawn is getting mown weekly, typically this is during late Spring/early Summer.
Top dressing a lawn should only be done when the grass is actively growing and the hot dry summer weather has not affected it. Care needs to taken when top dressing your lawn, especially if you’re not too sure on how to top dress your lawn. This is because top dressing can suffocate your lawn or hinder results if the grass isn’t in rapid growth cycle.
Top Dressing a New Lawn
Most of the time a new lawn will not require top dressing, but if you feel the need you can top dress in small amounts between each new turf roll to speed up the establishment phase.
If the new lawn is not top dressed between rolls the visible lines between turf rolls will correct themselves in the coming months as the lawn matures.
If after a couple of months there are level issues/unevenness you may consider top dressing your lawn. Fertilise a few weeks prior using our Lawn Solutions Fertiliser to ensure it is growing well at the time.
Sandy soils are recommended with top dressing as bigger objects such as sticks are less prevalent. Turfco recommends using washed river sand or a top dressing mix specified by your local landscape supplier. Depending on your area Turfco will have a lawn centre near you who can provide the fertiliser and top dress soil.
Top Dressing an Existing Lawn
For an existing lawn, make sure to mow with a catcher prior to top dressing. Mowing off new growth prior to top dressing will assist with uniformity of the lawn and make uneven sections more visible. If possible aerate your lawn before top dressing. As grass relies on air, nutrients and water to remain healthy aeration will greatly assist with your top dressing result and improve the general health of your lawn. Once aerated you can carry out the top dressing of your lawn prior to rain or give a light water once finished.
How to top dress a lawn
Wondering how to top dress your lawn? Once you’ve fertilised and aerated, your lawn is ready for the top dress. When carrying out the top dressing you will only need a few simple tools; Wheelbarrow, shovel, steel rake, level rake and a soft plastic rake.
We recommend getting the washed river sand or top dress mix delivered the day you are top dressing to minimise mess and soil loss. Start by loading the soil into a wheelbarrow and tipping small piles no taller than a work boot over the yard.
The piles of soil can then be spread around using an upside-down steel rake (so the rake spikes are pointing upwards) which will roughly spread the piles over the lawn. Once the piles have been lessened you can grab your level rake and starting pushing the soil evenly into the turf profile but be sure not to smother the leaf.
When topdressing a lawn, never use more than 10-12mm of top dress per application and ensure leaf tips are showing so they can still absorb sunlight. If you have difficult edges or paths you can use the soft plastic rake the rake soil along edges so all of the law gets even coverage.
When will I see the benefits?
Results from top dressing a lawn vary between grass variety, grass health and weather conditions. In ideal conditions for a fast-growing turf variety like TifTuf or Eureka Kikuyu you will notice results 2-3 weeks post application, for slower-growing varieties such as Sir Grange or Sir Walter results may take 4-6 weeks.