Big or small, lawns are beautiful and people take pride in them. Having a backyard lawn is great for children to play, appropriate for gatherings, family dinners and relaxing evenings after hard days of work. Being a homeowner comes with such privileges and responsibilities regarding care and maintenance for home, garden and lawn.
Beautiful lawns make homes look nice and they require proper care in order to make the most out of. One of the methods used to maintain the turf grass is top dressing and it will be described below.
How to care for your Lawn Sustainably:
Taking care of your lawn sustainably involves procedures that don’t require polluting chemicals or machines. Since the yard can be a fun place to be, why not make it safe for the children, pets and our overall health?
What is Top Dressing and why it is Important
Top dressing the lawn is a simple procedure any homeowner can do, and it consist of adding a thin layer of soil over the grass to level, smooth and feed the lawn with nutrients. This procedure encourages healthy growth and proper nutrition for the grass by improving air, water and nutrient infiltration into the soil.
Top dressing is a good way to reduce thatch buildup and great protection against desiccation in winter. Also, it is a natural method to keep weeds and pests infestation at bay by stimulating the growth of new grass sprouts and thicker blades. The best season to top dress your turf grass is the growing season, that is late spring to early summer.
Best way to top dress the lawn:
It’s good to mow the grass prior to top dressing. A sustainable option for cutting the grass would be to use a push-reel mower. This type of mower creates less pollution and the grass heals faster therefore being less vulnerable to pests and diseases. To continue, rake any excess leftover grass and put it away.
After you mowed your grass it is time to aerate the soil. A plug aerator creates holes in the earth by removing plugs of soil. Water the lawn a couple of hours in advance or make sure that the earth is moist enough to aerate. This step prevents extra work from having to deal with dry and stone hard soil. Cover the entire lawn area with the aerator going in several directions. The lawn is ready for the next steps.
It is advised to use organic top dressing you can purchase in a specialized the store. You can make your own if you are sure you can make a weed seed free top dressing. First you need to assess the type of your soil. The most basic top dressing mix is made of 3 parts sand, 3 parts loam and 1 part peat and it works great with loamy soils. You can alter this mixture if your soil is sandy by reducing the amount of sand. Heavy clay soils can benefit from top dressing that have more sand and less loam.
When you have decided what mixture you will use, combine all three ingredients in a wheelbarrow. The final top dressing should be fine enough to settle on the soil under the grass.
When you have your mix apply it with the shovel over the desired area. Cover small portions of lawn with the top dressing and work your way through in small batches. Then, with the back of a rake or a levelling lute spread the mix over the lawn with back and forth movements. Level the top dressing material evenly; this allows the water and nutrients to infiltrate effectively in the soil. Spread the material on the surface of the soil by not covering the grass entirely. You can top dress ¼ inch or not more than 1 cm in one application, always leaving the grass tips exposed so that they can grow. If you cover the grass completely with a thick layer of top dress the sun will not reach it and the lawn will die. And you don’t want that.
If you need to use fertilizers pick the organic ones because they are more efficient, more nutritious and your lawn will look beautiful and chemical free. Spread the recommended fertilizer quantity over the lawn.
After this step you can water the field. Watering is important now because it helps the top dress settle and the grass to grow it’s roots deeper in the soil. You can go back and soften the bumps or lumps that may have developed after watering.
At this point, when you are almost done with top dressing, you can sow grass seeds over the empty spaces in the lawn. The seeds will germinate soon and your lawn will look its best throughout the warm season.
When you love your lawn you care for it like you would care for any family member. Give your freshly top dressed turf grass a few weeks to rest before you mow again. In this time the soil will settle and your lawn will grow it’s roots deeper in the ground and this will make it less vulnerable to being pulled out when cutting. Proper and sustainable care for your lawn will make it a great place to spend time by yourself or with your family and friends. Enjoy your gorgeous healthy green lawns. Enjoy your sustainable lifestyle.