A beautiful, thick and healthy lawn will require an equally healthy soil as its base. Although you can easily make your soil the best when planting the grass, it will not remain in the same state for long. So what do you do to improve your soil after planting the grass? The answer to this is simple, and it is by adding topsoil. But, how do you add topsoil without harming your beautiful lawn?
Adding topsoil to the existing lawn can be quite challenging, and this is more so if you do not know how to do it well and do not use the right soil and tools. And you can end up destroying the lawn and leaving the grass looking unkempt. But, the good news is that you can still do it well and with little effort provided you know what to do.
Why Do You Need To Add Topsoil To An Existing Lawn?
Adding a layer of topsoil to your yard is known as topdressing, and its primary purpose is to improve the condition or health of the grass. Topdressing will help you address common lawn problems like weak spots in the yard which can be a result of erosion or rotting tree roots and human activities like cable and underground pipe installation.
You might also need to do some topdressing after winter because the freezing and thawing can leave an uneven terrain in your lawn which you can correct by adding topsoil. Also, running water and tunneling animals can cause the same problem. If you neglect your grass for some time as a result of busy work schedules or when traveling, adding topsoil is the best way to restore it to a healthy and beautiful state.
The emergence of bare spots due to variations in the soil nutrient composition and texture, heat, or other environmental damages will also require some topdressing. Other reasons for adding topsoil include compaction in high traffic areas in the lawn and pooling of water in the low-lying areas.
Adding The Topsoil: Step By Step
Step 1: Identify The Weak Spots
You might choose to topdress your lawn after every couple of years whether it is looking okay or not. But, in most cases, you cannot wait for all that time since the lawn will require a more regular maintenance routine. And this is because it will start developing weak spots after some time. When it comes to adding topsoil to existing lawn identifying these weak spots should always be the first step.
Look for areas where the grass does not seem to be growing at the same pace as the rest or appears discolored. Also, you should watch out for compaction and areas where the earth appears sunken down as a result of rotting trees and branches. Thatched parts of the lawn where the grass is thicker than the rest is also a weak spot.
Step 2: Aerate The Lawn
An aerator is one of the tools that you should invest in if you want to maintain a green and healthy-looking lawn, but you can always rent one. It is always a good idea to aerate your grass every 2 to 3 years depending on the type that you have, soil and even climate.
Aeration helps to remove soil plugs from the ground and creates some channels for water, air, and the topsoil to penetrate the surface and get to the roots.
Step 3: Prepare The Topsoil
If you do not already know the type of soil that you have in your lawn, you should assess to determine it since it will affect your choice of topsoil. Choosing a top-dress soil should never be a random thing since you aim to balance out your soil. If you are making the topsoil at home, you will need about 3 parts each of sand and loam soil and 1 part of peat, but you should also adjust according to your soil type.
Once you figure out the right soil composition for your lawn, the next important thing is to add in organic matter but make sure it does not contain any weed seeds. Also, it is always a good idea to add in some minerals since they will also help to improve the general appearance and health of your grass. And once you have all these necessary topsoil components the only other thing is to make sure that you mix everything in well and that it has fine particles.
Step 4: Apply The Topsoil
With the top-dressing mix ready the next step is the application. If you want to work on dead patches, you only need to add about 1/4-inch of topsoil to the dead or dying section. For this, you should fill up a bucket and spread the soil in the area gently. In case you have depressions you will need to add in enough soil to fix them and leave a small mound to allow for settling.
When working on large areas or the entire lawn you should start by working on a few square feet at a go. You should shove out a small amount of topsoil into a mound and use something flat to spread it out over the grass. The backside of your garden rake can help with this, but the important thing is to ensure that you work the soil into the aeration holes.
In case you have deeper spots in the lawn you will need to address them by adding a few inches of topsoil every year and building up the patches over time. Also, remember to remove any existing sod to prevent underground decaying and replace it after filling the spot with topsoil or even re-seed it.
Step 5: Watering And Adjustment
It is always an excellent idea to add some topsoil just before the rain because it helps it settle. But, even if it is not a rainy day you should always water the lawn thoroughly. After watering, you need to give the soil a couple of days to settle and then make some adjustments. For this, you should use your rake to smooth out hollows and bumps or even add more topsoil if necessary.
But a little notice: if your grass is too high, let’s have a cut before doing all the aforementioned things. An electric lawn mower can be much more helpful in this case because it’ll save you a lot of your cutting time to add topsoil quickly.
When And How Often Should You Add Topsoil?
When to add topsoil to your lawn will depend on its condition and your preferences. But, it is always an excellent idea to do it in spring or early fall because this will give the yard adequate time to grow or recover before the onset of the hot or cold seasons. Also, if you plan to do it in patches or the entire lawn at a go will influence the right time to do it.
Adding topsoil to existing lawn does not have to be an annual thing because the more soil you add, the higher you raise the soil bed and this, in turn, affects the soil ecology. Just like soil aeration adding topsoil is something that you should do after every couple of years. But, if you have some problematic or weak spots you might need to work on them more regularly than this.