View Full Version : Spreader for Topsoil

10-01-2003, 09:37 PM
Ok I don't know id I's in the right forum here. Is there a spreader that will sieve the soil, (for topdressing), and lay it down for you?



trying 2b organic
10-01-2003, 10:13 PM
No, there isnt. Im trying to find a way to apply compost with something other than wheelbarrows and shovels which is the only way for a small op to spread topsoil. I want to know if the compost roller works but since they are so hard to find i expect they dont. So until I find a supplier of compost in pellet form I have to use this labour and cost intensive method of application.
I am speaking to the small operator, Im sure golf courses and the likes have ways of using machinery to spread anything.

Green in Idaho
10-01-2003, 10:35 PM
???compost in pellet form....????
That is a cool idea:

In the PA area

See picture of dude blowing compost in
You get, they can blow it.

See here too:

This Internet stuff is AMAZING!

trying 2b organic
10-01-2003, 11:07 PM
ty for links ! One of the biggest lawn care companies in Canada will apply compost in pellet form using a drop spreader for 300 bucks or so. (so thats like 17 dollars american) ya, the only disadvantage i can think of is if the process killed the micro organims (no idea) and that it will be a great soil amendment but not level out your lawn if that is part of the reason u wanted to topdress.

p.s. 300 bucks for 3000 sqr feet. This large Canadian co. built a factory in Alberta to turn compost into pellets which is great however they also keep it all for themselves, heh. So they are the only lawn care co. to widely offer compost topdressing. Application method was central to profitablity here.

Green in Idaho
10-01-2003, 11:31 PM
I see u r in BC.

Rexius Express blower trucks blow bark mulch and include compost as one its applications. I've seen the bark and would fully believe compost would be a piece of cake for it.

Rexius is in Oregon and I would guess there might be one or two of the contractors in BC using them. A subcontracter deal would be easy.

Otherwise regular topdress spreader. There is a pic here on another thread....

10-05-2003, 06:15 PM
Get out the Yellow Pages and look up



insulation, blown in

These folks can pick up small-large amounts of compost, deliver it to the site, and blow it in. The blowing rate should be about 5,000 square feet per hour. Hourly retail rates vary but should be about the same as you charge per hour.

dan deutekom
10-05-2003, 07:09 PM
Lots of companies make equipment to top dress lawns. Used quite often on golf courses and athletic fields. Here is a link to just one. http://www.tycrop.com/public/turf/index.cfm?fuseaction=drilldown&productid=10

10-05-2003, 08:15 PM
ive seen it done with a v-box salt/sander.

11-09-2003, 08:18 AM
Here are some old links with lots of info on topdressing and topdressers.



Here are the highlights:

I topdress around 45 lawns a season and have done so for the last few years
My procedure for spring or fall topdressing

1) mow as low as the mower will go. This ensures that the seeds will get adequate
sunlight and makes draging easier.
2) dethatch and remove debris to provide a bare seed bed.
3) areate to provide more seed to soil contact and loosen the soil. also gets the compost
4) overseed (2-5 lbs/ 1000sq ft) rate depending on thickness of turf
5) topdress. I use a topdresser purchased from a golf course, holds about 1/3 of
a cubic yard, has a 5hp kohler , a conveyor belt and a spreading brush. a real crowd stopper.
It drags a mat behind it. The mat is specially designed . It has 1"x12" steel bars
with holes at each end. Cable links all the bars together and forms a 4'x4' mat.
The straight edges cut the high spots and level low ones. better than chain link fence.
I usually apply between 1/2 and 1 cubic yard of compost or triple mix per 1000 sq ft.
To figure the amount of material there are two easy methods.
a) LxWxH
10'x 10'x 2"
=10'x10'x .17
=0.6 cu yd

b) or use the chart:
Depth/ 1000 sf ft / 1 acre
1" 3.1 yd 135 yd
.5" 1.6 yd 69 yd
.25" .78 yd 35 yd
.125" .40 yd 18 yd

Just measure the yard and multiply the sq ft by the desired number of yds to achieve
the correct depth.

I have found that 1" coverage is too deep and too expensive.
Between 1/8" and 1/4" (1/2 - 3/4 cu yd / 1000 sq ft) is usually good.
Any less than 1/8" is not worth the effort of steps 1-4.

6) Final drag to level and to work the compost into the holes.
7) water, water, water
8) patience, compost disappears in a wk or 2 but real thickening is not seen until the
bluegrass comes up in a month or so. Notice the deep green from the N in the compost.

Why topdress?
1) remove bumps, lumps, level lawn, etc (no rolling)
2) fill in bare spots, repair damage
3) nutrients, micronutrients
4) organic matter
5) CEC
6) water retention
7) profitable
8) loosen soil and relieve compaction
9) disease prevention
10) high seedling germination rate
11) pH modification
12) decompose thatch
13) improve soil
14) stimulate growth
15) improve drainage
16) warm soil in spring

Remember that a yd of compost weights over 1000 lbs and is usually easier if delivered unless you only need a yard or two. I use the bucket on the tractor to load the topdresser and that saves hours of shovelling.
Other sites of interest include:

11-09-2003, 08:42 AM
Here are some pics of the gear you will need to do topdressing and I'll post some before and after pics when I find them.

11-09-2003, 09:41 AM
Top dressing is very beneficial. What better organic method is there?? it is time consuming and a lot of work if you dont have a top dressing machine(i dont dont have one:( )

The greens i look after are highland bent grass, and i use a mix 80% sand 20% compost or topsoil, or peat moss. In the case of bent grass, top dressing promotes lateral growth, which in turn thickens the turf, and levels the putting surface.
it took me two carts full to topdress this green.

11-09-2003, 09:46 AM
Heres a close up shot...

11-09-2003, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by Green in Idaho
???compost in pellet form....????
That is a cool idea:

In the PA area

See picture of dude blowing compost in
You get, they can blow it.

See here too:

This Internet stuff is AMAZING!

i was just at a presentation from laurelvalleysoils and they do make compost in a pellet form it looked great u can get it in a 50lb bag with the microorganisms dead because of the extruding process kills them not enough oxygen left in the pellet for them u can get it in 1000lb super sacs with the micro organisms still alive but it wont go through a push spreader because of size and u can get it in tri axles
the reps name is JAKE CHALFIN 610-299-8420 nice guy if u have any question give me a shout

11-09-2003, 09:55 AM
I tried an experiment with my top dressing mix and cracked corn.

I had approx a yard of the sand/peat mix and and i added about 20lbs of corn, covered it with a tarp and let sit for four weeks.

I took off the tarp and the corn was 'gone'....(except for a few kernels that sprouted ). I use this mix to fill in some low spots on the green, and the grass filled in in less than a week to the point you couldnt tell it had been topdressed. THe regular mix without the corn took near two weeks for the grass to fill in.

THe results from the 'enhanced' mix were amazing considering i t heavily topdressed the low areas to the point of almost smothering the turf. Without a doubt the corn was the most important ingredient.

11-09-2003, 09:58 AM
Looking good. Where are you from in Ontario? I'm from Ottawa.

11-09-2003, 10:02 AM
Thanks Dylan.

I'm in the Port Perry area, on Lake Scugog.

11-09-2003, 10:03 AM

It must cost a few bucks for one of those machines, eh?

trying 2b organic
11-09-2003, 02:43 PM
Guys, how much do you charge to topdress a 3000 sqr foot lawn? I was thinking 400 dollars. Am i close to what u guys need to charge to make this more time consuming job as profitable as the other services we offer?

11-10-2003, 09:55 PM
Woodycrest, yep, but beats shovelling for sure and way more productive having a tractor and a topdresser.

In my area topdressing goes for about $100 - $150 per thousand sq ft, minimum charge $200. If I line up a bunch on a street I can do around 6-10 a day average $300 each. 3000 sq ft, 3 yds compost each so 30 yards total. Busy day with two helpers.

With all the extra work and gear required topdressing should fetch more $ than other work. Some other parts of the country get way more than I do but ...

04-02-2005, 06:26 PM
Ok I don't know id I's in the right forum here. Is there a spreader that will sieve the soil, (for topdressing), and lay it down for you?


Hi steve find the spreader of your dreams yet?......Composters.com has a type that looks like a lawn roller $110.00 and R&R makes a motorized model thats really sweet for a couple of grand-regards Saxon :cool2:

04-04-2005, 07:45 PM
Hear is a link to a topdresser i've been considering.
www.topdresser.ca . For those of you interested.

04-05-2005, 05:07 PM
I just thought I would let you guys know that we (Turfco) make a topdresser that many landscapers have used to apply topdressing,compost and even soil.

We developed a continuous chevron patterned belt which delivers to a brush. It is a selfpropelled topdesser.

We have actually been making topdressers for over 40 years. Its great to hear you guys talking about topdressing and I would be happy to answer your questions,or get your input. Please feel free to call me at 1-800-679-8201 ext 106, or scott@turfco.com

04-05-2005, 06:33 PM
When is the best time to topdress? I need to fill in some low spots in my yard and figured I might as well topdress the whole yard with compost. It's starting to warm up to the 70's here in Kansas. Is it ok to do it in the spring? Or should I wait till fall and overseed as well.


11-01-2005, 01:23 AM
The biggest drawback to me is the pricing of the equipment. It certainly is a large investment, and I don't anticipate being able to recoup that $$ within the same year. The second drawback is delivery of the materials to the machine. Perhaps someone (Dylan) can explain the methodology in refilling the machine. How often does it have to be refilled? What are the methods of doing so? Do you cart the material to the dresser, or take the top dresser to the pile of compost? A bit more elaboration would be great.

Personally, I added a blurb about doing this to my website page with aeration a year ago and I got so many inquiries off of just that one small paragraph I had to take it off the site. I think that it would be popular in my area. I'd like to get topdressing going as a full service in the next few years.

11-01-2005, 08:14 AM
i have used this

11-05-2005, 09:58 AM
I just want to thank everybody for the ideas on this thread. Picked up some free materials for a drag mat from a remodel yesterday. I figured a heavy 3" pipe would work well for the front of the mat or would a squared heavy piece of wood work better to help level the topsoil before it gets to the mat? I haven't done this before, so I thought those with experience would be able to give the best pointers. I thought I would use a bobcat (if I'm killing out the grass) or dingo to spread it around and do the initial leveling. Let me know what you think.

12-01-2005, 08:03 PM
There are several ways of getting that topdressing to the right area but it really depends on the location, the amount of material and the type of gear you have.

We have used the following methods:
Loaded a topdresser right from our truck and then driven it around the yard for the topdressing. Works good for 1-4 yds of material. we just shovel it out of the truck. Gravity is helping. Each load holds 3/4 of a yard so it does not take long.

We have used tractors to load the topdressers. Works good for 10 - 40 yards of material. Saves tons of shoveling. One bucket fills the topdresser and off you go.

Let me know if you need more elaboration.
Thanks Dylan

Critical Care
12-04-2005, 11:44 AM
Our local recycling yard actually rents out compost spreaders. They’re manual walk behind models that look a bit like the powered model that Coyoteman shows but a bit smaller. Though they work better with finer compost they also seem to work okay even with compost with small nuggets. These are simple devices but do a very good job for topdressing a fine layer.