Topdressing is a common practice for lawn maintenance in golf courses and even in lawns at home. It involves spreading a thin layer of sand, compost, or soil on the ground.
Topdressing is mostly done in high activity lawns. Several benefits accrue from spreading sand, organic matter, or sandy loam soils to the lawn. These include:
- Protecting the roots from harsh environmental conditions such as extreme heat.
- Protecting the lawn grass in winter since the sand will prevent the snow from freezing the roots.
- When sand is used for top dressing, it improves drainage on the lawn. This means that you will not have to deal with the issues of water clogging on your lawn.
- Topdressing leaves the lawn smooth and well leveled since the sand fills up the depressions.
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Material Used for Top Dressing Lawns
When you set out to top-dress your lawn, you have the option of using the same type of soil like the one in use. The main aim here is to aerate and introduce the fresh soil that has more nutrients.
To boost the nutritional value even further, you can mix the new soil with fertilizer before spreading it on the lawn.
The downside of using soil however is, it is difficult to control weeds. The soil is dug from a different location, and it can easily transfer unwanted weeds and micro-organisms.
2. Crumb Rubber
The other material that can be used for topdressing a lawn is crumb rubber. Crumb rubber is obtained by shredding rubber into very fine particles. Because the particles are not compact, crumb rubber increases the rate of water infiltration into the ground.
The unique benefit of crumb rubber in top dressing is the fact that it improves on convection heating. This is attributed to its dark color that helps in retaining more heat and consequently enhancing photosynthesis. The result is a dark green lawn that looks extremely beautiful and healthy.
On the flip side, crumb rubber is a synthetic material meaning it does not decompose. Frequent application will degrade the quality of soil and force you to uproot the lawn, dig out all the soil and replace it with new soil, before planting the lawn grass afresh.
Doing all this will cost you a lot of money, besides taking so much of your time.
Compost is recommended for top dressing because it comes with added benefits such as adding nutrients to the soil and reducing compaction. The problem with compost, however, is that it can introduce destructive microorganisms in the lawn.
Compost is made by decomposing mostly household waste. You hasten the process by introducing organisms such as millipedes into the compost pit. These organisms could be carrying diseases or they could attract other pests that will be harmful to the lawn grass.
Professional gardeners recommend sand for topdressing. The best time to top-dress your lawn especially if you are using sand is during spring when the grass still has a chance to grow.
After applying the sand, it will only take a few days for the grass to rejuvenate and form a well leveled carpet-like surface. Topdressing is best incorporated in the annual lawn repair routine, as the final step preceded by aeration, overseeding (when necessary), and fertilizer application.
Once you go through the lawn care routine and finish up with top dressing with the sand, you will lock in the fertilizer, moisture, and new seeds into the ground. This means the mixture will have the right environment to integrate. After a few weeks, you will start seeing healthy lawn grass sprouting and you can sit comfortably ready to enjoy the ambiance for the next whole year or more.
From this discussion, we can conclude that sand is the most viable material for top dressing your lawn. For this purpose there are different types of sand, which are as follows:
This is the sand that is used to make concrete. It is mined from quarries and crushed to tiny particles. It is typically used to manufacture cement.
This type of sand is obtained from the beach. It is mostly white and has a very fine texture.
This is the most common type of sand that is used in construction, leveling grounds, filling in pavements among other uses.
Because of its vast applications, it is also readily available and less costly compared to the rest. It is mostly mined from river beds, sifted and cleaned before getting to the market.
What sand is best for Lawns?
From the information above, we can deduce that mason sand is the best for top dressing lawns and golf courses.
One of the most obvious reasons is availability. When working on a big lawn such as a golf course or a sports field, you will need several tons of sand. Since this is an annual activity or even bi-annual, you must work with a favorable budget. Otherwise, the top dressing process will be a very costly affair.
Besides the availability and cost factor, mason is super soft and free from debris. Considering it is mostly obtained from river beds, it is the cleanest type of sand. After being collected, it still goes through a sifting process where the debris is removed.
By the time you buy it for your landscaping needs, it is in its finest and cleanest form. Mason sand does not go through any mechanical process. This means the particles do not generate dust and hence you do not have to fear that your lawn will be dusty.
Steps on How to Top-dress the Lawn Using Sand
1. Aerate the Lawn and Clear Any Unwanted Turf.
Try and avoid using herbicides since most are not selective. The best way is to pluck the unwanted grass weeds manually.
As for aerating, you can use aerating shoes, which are simply shoes that have nails at the bottom. You just need to wear them and walk deliberately on the lawn. You can, therefore, combine the aeration and weeding processes.
2. Mow the Grass
Mow it so that it is short enough for the ground to be exposed. After mowing, you should spread the mason sand depending on the topography. More goes into areas that are slanted and vice versa.
3. Use a Rake to Even Out the Sand
Use rake so that you can achieve a well-leveled lawn. You should then relax and monitor as your lawn flourishes into a fresh and lavish landscape.
It is not a coincidence that landscapers working on large lawns that accommodate lots of activities chose to use mason sand when top dressing.
The fact that mason sand does not produce dust even in the driest season means that it is hygienic even to people with allergic reactions that are triggered by dust. This applies to your homestead as well, because, who needs to be wiping dust off surfaces every day?
Your lawns will also be resilient enough to handle the outdoor barbecue parties. It will also be a safe place where your kids can play without worrying that they will get hurt after falling on a hard surface.