OK to topdress yet?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by 95Z71, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. 95Z71

    95Z71 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    Grass is starting to come out of dormant, is it still to early to topdress with river sand?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    This is a strange custom that you southerners have for your turf... Why is that?
  3. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    ive searched so many threads on here about topdressing and it seems top dressing with bermuda lawn bothers smallaxe very very much. It is to level out the lawn!
  4. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Topdressing began as a practice used on the cool season golf courses of Scotland in the late 1800s.

    Topdressing with sand has several benefits, including OM dilution (too much OM reduces water infiltration, gas exchange, and OM mineralization), thatch reduction (via increased microbial activity), crown protection, increased water infiltration, increased gas exchange, and site leveling.

    In lawns, the influence of OM in the rootzone is much less significant than it would be in golf course putting greens, so those topdressing benefits related to OM management aren't as noticeable. But, whether you're managing bermudagrass in Georgia or Kentucky bluegrass in Wisconsin, sand topdressing can help to level out the bumps in an unlevel lawn.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    We level out ruts and such with sand or topsoil, when necessary... but we also have sidewalks and roadways, so even 1/4" of new sand every year would mean a full inch every 4 years... not to mention how much will wash down even the slightest slopes over the course of a season...
    The idea of sanding bluegrass in Wisco, is not a smart idea at all... I do not know of a lawn that would benefit the KBG by topdressing with sand every Spring... in fact after the Spring rains were finished the lawns would look like sand dunes...
    Imitating the greens of Scotland doesn't make for good lawn care here,,, but if that's what the grassy weed called Bermuda needs, then that answers my question... :)
  6. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    The topdressing blends into the thatch layer and the soil below that. Putting greens that are topdressed at 1/8" depth twice monthly usually only rise about 1" every 10 years or so. But, if you core aerate regularly, you'll create room for your topdressing material and you don't get much rise at all.

    I agree that topdressing lawns isn't needed for the most part (if your lawn is level enough for your taste), since most folks aren't pushing their lawns to the edge of death in an attempt to create a high performing athletic surface. But, using the right amount, you don't get any noticeable sand up on the surface -- its all down in the canopy. After heavy rain (or any kind of rain), you still have a nice lawn.

    But, your bluegrass in WI would benefit much more from regular sand topdressing than it would from microbial applications or compost applications. KBG is a good thatch producer and allowing that thatch to accumulate on its own without aeration or topdressing will reduce microbial activity, as opposed to topdressing or aerating, which will improve soil oxygenation, bring C:N ratios in better alignment, and increase microbial activity.

    Now, all this won't get you super-noticeable results on your lawn -- you're not adding a fertilizer here. But, research has shown that it will do more good for the "soil food web" than microbial additions or compost applications.
  7. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    Does this hold true for Fine Fescue lawns on heavy clay soil? I've always been told compost applications following aeration in Spring or Fall was the way to go.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Good question... when you're 'informed' about making concrete/adobe, it is good to keep in mind what OM does to the mix of concrete and adobe...
    Good luck... :)
  9. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    Ever give a straight forward answer?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,229

    Anybody willing to try it? Topdress half--untreated, other half of your front yard.

    I will visit my mother's house this week. 200 miles away. I wanted to put crabgrass control on before spring. Is it Ok to apply on top of 12 niches of snow?

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