Lawns often develop indentations over time, these depressions on the lawn's surface occur for many reasons, including normal wear and tear such as foot traffic, kids playing, walkways, cars or bikes driving on the lawn and so on. These indentations not only look unpleasant but often cause lawn scalping when the wheels of the lawn mower dip into a depression leading the blades to scalp the surrounding area. Fortunately, levelling lawns is a very easy and simple task.
Types Of Soil Used For Top Dressing
One of the oldest and most often used soils for topdressing, and which is most often used by golf courses is in fact not soil - it's sand. Sand can be used without problem by golf courses because the entire lawn surface is a special sand mixture which is specially controlled by the use of lawn fertilizers and other products. But no homes use such a sand mixture nor are these lawns intensively managed.
The problem which occurs when we use sand to top dress is that we create a difference in the makeup of the soil and it's nutrients. Sand is also a very poor product to hold onto water when we water lawns. So once the growing season begins, the lack of nutrients in the places where we've topdressed with sand becomes evident with spots of poor color and lawn health appear. As Summer heats up, these problems become more evident when these same spots dry out because the sand cannot hold adequate water required by the lawn.
The best type of soil to use for topdressing a lawn is a soil which is as close as possible to the soil which already exists underneath the lawn. If the lawn was established with only the soil that was available on the property, then the best type of soil should be found in a close by garden bed on the property. Otherwise the homeowner can purchase a special topdressing mixture from a local garden store.
Alternatively, we can make our own topdressing mixture with a 50/50 mix of sand and topsoil purchased from the gardening and lawn care store.
Lawn Levelling Methods
There are 2 methods which can be used for levelling a lawn. How to level a lawn and which method to use depends on how deep the depressions in the lawn are.
The topdressing method of levelling lawns should be used for shallow indentations only. With a special topdressing mixture ready in a wheelbarrow and a spade in hand, we fill in the indentations. The most important point of this method is that we should never put down more than half an inch of topdressing mixture, and green leaf should always be left visible. This allows the lawn to quickly repair and cover the mixture while still receiving the maximum sunlight for photosynthesis and food production
If this has not filled in the depressions, then we need to repeat the same process. Leave the lawn to recover for a month to six weeks until it has overgrown the previous topdressing, and then topdress again
Lift and Fill Method
The lift and fill method of topdressing is used for larger depressions. With this method, we dig out the sod of the indented area and lift it out of the lawn. The deeper we go into the soil, the better the results will be because we have disturbed the least amount of the root system.
Once the indented lawn is lifted out of the ground we simply top up the soil as required with our topdressing mixture until we can put the sod back into the hole and it become level with the surrounding lawn. The benefit of this method is that it is instant in it's results, which makes it perfect for large depressions.
Lawn Care After Topdressing
After topdressing using the Lift and Fill method, simply follow your normal lawn care routines, plus add some additional water each day with a garden hose to the repaired area until the sod shows signs of normal growth again.
The same lawn care applies to the Topdressing method, this time we're watering the topsoil into the grass only once. Then apply a little lawn fertilizer followed by some additional water to prompt repair of the area.