Top dressing, does it help?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Carl Bert, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Carl Bert

    Carl Bert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I was just wondering how much top dressing helps the lawn. I was hoping if I add a thin coat of good top soil once or twice a year, it will help get my lawn back in shape. Of coarse that is along with fertilizer and weed killer. What do you think?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Good Topsoil is only good according to the amount of OM it contains... Add compost and ignore the mineral dirt unless you need a particular mineral dirt for a particular reason...
    Beach Sand can be an excellent growing medium with an application of enough compost... :)
  3. Carl Bert

    Carl Bert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    So you're saying forget the topsoil and just add compost? Do you know if a manure spreader would work well for spreading compost and possibly some soil?
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Topsoil is only clay or sand with possible silt, but the key ingredient is always OM...

    You already have clay or sand(or blend) so why would you want to add more that contains nominal amounts of OM, that may soon be gone... Adding OM only,,, makes the most sense and gives a fanastic bang for your buck...

    What kind of sand/clay mixture are you starting with???
  5. sharperimagelawns

    sharperimagelawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Maybe im the dummy here, but what is OM?
  6. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,494

    Organic matter. The living part of the soil. I apply thin with a coal shovel and push broom. Don't try to level areas with it. A soil test will help tell what minerals you are deficient in as well.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Organic matter is not best described as the 'living part of the soil' as much as it might be described as the feed of the soil and the flora that lives within it... Even fauna, such as earthworms, beetles and various microbes will be able to feed on the OM and release its potential in nutrients, to the soil...

    Your best soils have an OM '%' of around 7.5% ,,, or more... IMO, if the OM is high enough it doesn't really what your soil's 'Texture' consists of... your plants will be doing excellently... Agree or not,, it's JMO... :)
  8. Carl Bert

    Carl Bert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Ok so first things first, I guess I need to get my soil tested, and take it from there. I'll be back with the results.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,796

    If you can grow weeds--you can grow grass. Naturally, if you want dense top-quality baseball stadium-quality grass, it take major inputs, major smarts, mowers and irrigation.
    A soil test is the place to begin, correct any deficiencies; fertilize(using slow release) and water on a regular basis. In a few years, you will grow your own organic matter as each year roots grow and die--adding to the organic matter. For top quality you need top-quality seed or preferably sod. Top dressing cannot substitute for nitrogen. Economy seed will never match a field planted from premium seed. You need density, dark green color, and disease resistance. Any seed must be suited to the climate and conditions. Shade may require a different type of grass.
  10. Carl Bert

    Carl Bert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Ok well I've got the mower and the irrigation. The smarts I guess I'll have to rely on you guys. Hey 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

    Getting a soil test soon, will get back to you with it. Thanks all

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