Expert Tips on Lawn Treatment – Topdressing
Topdressing Lawn Treatment
There are few lawns that do not benefit from a lawn treatment of topdressing of solid material which is best applied after mowing ceases, approximately the end of September. The solid topdressing achieves several things. It helps to level up small irregularities in the surface, feeds the grasses and as the grass sheath tends to elongate on ordinary lawns which do not receive the same meticulous attention as, say, bowling greens, it helps the grasses to re-root at a higher level.
Topdressing after spiking or aerating also helps to improveand if the is heavy, helps to ameliorate the clay soil.
Ideally apply a light dressing, say 2lb per square metre every year, or, failing this, a slightly heavier dressing every three to five years. Even in hollows the depth of the dressing should never exceed the height of the grass. If nothing else is added, coarse clean sand is beneficial on most lawns. Fine plasterers’ or builders’ sand should not be used and can definitely be most harmful as it is too fine and puddles almost like clay when wet and sets hard when dry.
Coarse sand, however, soon miraculously disappears when applied to the surface. The rate of application depends on the texture of the soil underneath, the heavier the soil the heavier the dressing. Using a 2 gallon bucket as a measure, a bucketful to 2 square metres is a reasonable application.
For a solid topdressing a good formula is equal parts coarse sand, fine peat and ordinary garden soil sifted through a 1/4 inch sieve and well mixed. Old chrysanthemum or tomato potting soil is ideal for this job for although it contains a small proportion of lime, this is counteracted by the acidity of the peat and the summer dressings of acid fertilisers such as sulphate of ammonia.
My own practice when applying a top-dressing, is first to scatter lightly 1/4 oz per square metre of the finest grass seed that I can buy and then apply the dressing over this. This over-seeding, as it is called, is a certain way of improving the worst lawns even if no solid topdressing is applied. The two together will very quickly turn a poor lawn into a good one, if you consider that one single grass seed, depending on variety, can make a plant 4 to 18 inches in diameter in a single season.
It is easy to see how the character of the lawn and the texture of the grass can be immeasurably improved with a good lawn treatment of topdressing.