Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Time to Top-Dress the Lawn; Expert Opinion from Total Gardens withPaul Worland

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Time to Top-Dress the Lawn; Expert Opinion from Total Gardens withPaul Worland

Article excerpt

WHY would your lawn need top-dressing?

The most obvious answer is if the surface is uneven or you have worn patches that need repairing. But there are a few other good reasons for top-dressing.

Many homes in this area have lawns which have been established by rolling out turf onto poorly prepared areas, often just onto fill that has been levelled out with earthmoving equipment. As a result there is no real soil profile and it is usually compacted, giving grasses little chance to develop extensive, healthy root systems.

Lawns will also dehydrate quickly in dry times or become super-saturated during wet periods. Both will be detrimental to the health of your turf. By top-dressing your lawn annually you will slowly build up the soil profile and improve the health of your lawn.

Using an organic top-dress mix will assist in moisture retention during dry periods, reduce the effects of thatching by promoting faster decomposition of thatch, increase the number of soil organisms present, which will not only improve soil structure but may help suppress plant diseases, and supply nutrients to the lawn (not if you are using just sand) and also help retain nutrients.

What to use

I've seen a number of products used for top-dressing lawns and each has advantages and disadvantages;

Sand is an obvious choice but be careful about what type of sand you use. There are a number of bush sands available locally which are great for laying bricks but set hard and aren't suitable for top-dressing. Beach sand is a bit too fine and, unless it has been washed, will have too much salt in it. River sand is better; it has a mix of different-sized particles and is usually pretty clean. You will need to fertilise as well, though, because it has no nutrient value.

Topsoil is good if you can get hold of sandy loam that doesn't have any clods or weed seed in it. Good luck, though. I haven't been able find any that I'd use.

Crusher dust is used by some people; maybe an option for wet or heavy traffic areas but not good for the underlying soil structure or lawnmower blades. …

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