In order to get thick lawn, you will need healthy soil on its base, however if the soil is already established then often it may be bit difficult to make any changes. So, what can you do as a homeowner for top dressing your lawns?
In case, you already have grass compost which is known in Canada as terreautage gazon, you may use it for top-dressing your lawn to get thicker and healthier grass.
- For seeded lawn:
Apply thin layer after sowing seeds for lawn grass, about ¼” of compost to top-dress and help maintaining consistent soil moisture and allow seeds to germinate.
Top-dressing will be particularly helpful during airy climates or during dry/breezy spells, where soil and seeds can easily dry out just within hours.
- On your existing lawn:
By top-dressing along with compost, you can rejuvenate your existing lawns too. Over a period of time, your lawns often may become compacted due to foot traffic, mowing and play which can prevent water, air and nutrients to get circulated freely.
Top-dressing can be more effective for turf which is core aerated prior to spreading the compost. For large lawns, you may rent machine from any equipment suppler or hire from lawn maintenance firm.
You must use either screened compost or only compost having particle sizes of 3/8” or less. Usually small compost particles can infiltrate between grass blades more easily as compared to larger particles, which may also smother the grass.
Wherever you may live, but the best time for aerating and top-dressing your lawn will be when it is growing most actively. This will allow the grass to rebound vigorously after having the holes punched on it.
In case, you live in cool or a “transition” climate and try to grow permanent grass, then the best time for aerating your lawn will be spring to mid-summer. During intense summer, avoid aerating all these grasses, that may stress roots.
During early fall, some growth may occur though, but these grasses may go either semi or completely dormant when weather cools, makes the recovery after late aeration much more stressful.
Early aeration may also promote better summer penetration and rainwater will fall through the soil, which will be most beneficial for their growth. You will get healthier and stronger lawn which has better chance to make it through the harsh winters.
Those who are living in warm climate can have different options. Best time for aerating and top-dressing is between early to mid-summer. No need to apply any compost top-dressing after over-seeding the summer lawn with cool-season grass during the fall.