top dressing

Top Dressing Your Turf

What is Top Dressing Turf?

Top dressing is the act of applying a mixture of sand and compost to the already existing soil. It is applied to the turf in 1/8” to ¼” layers on top of the turf. This practice enriches the soil with more microbes, and helps to restore the balance of the soil and turf.

How Top Dressing Helps Turf

Top dressing your turf has many great benefits. It can:

  • Provide a better playing surface by softening and evening the turf
  • Decrease compaction of the turf
  • Allow for better nutrient retention, as well as more oxygen and water to all flow better to the root zone in order to be better utilized by the grass
  • Eliminate thatch by retaining heat and moisture in order to help with decomposition
  • Fill lower depressions in order to bring turf to equal level for cutting of the leaf
  • Improves drainage



How Do You Top Dress a Lawn?

  • Choose the right materials in order to top dress your lawn. Different composts and sands have different nutrient levels. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you choose the right material for the type of lawn that you will be top dressing. For instance, a home lawn will be top dressed with compost while a golf green will be top dressed with sand.
  • Dethatch your lawn from any extra debris such as roots and stems.
  • Mow your lawn as low as you can without hurting the grass.
  • If your lawn needs it, perform core aeration.
  • Cover the lawn with top dressing at 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Make sure to fill in the holes if you have performed core aeration in the step before.
  • Make sure to evenly spread the top dressing so it touches the most possible amount of the lawn.
  • If you are going to overseed the turf, do this after you top dress the lawn.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist, but not too wet.



When it comes to top dressing a lawn, there are many factors that go into performing it correctly. When mixed with other efforts such as core aeration and overseeding, there needs to be the correct balance of each. Therefore, it is best to consult a professional such as Commonwealth Sports Turf in order to get the right type of advice and service.



Keith Kitchen