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Monday 8 August 2022

The Lawncare Guide - August

How to be a top dresser

The near drought conditions look like being with us for a good while and the lawn is suffering from the lack of rain. If you decide to water it, you need to do this intensely about once a week, giving it a thorough soaking for about 20 to 30 minutes. That way, the roots will push down deeper and help promote top growth. However, in many instances, it’s not enough to stop the dried out look and besides, we could be edging towards a hosepipe ban. 

The good news is the grass will recover in the autumn, which is also the time when top dressing is traditionally applied. But if your lawn has suffered from hard wear during the summer and has lumps and bumps, it could benefit from top dressing now. You can smooth it out, filling the dips and hollows with a mixture of loam, sharp sand (not builder’s sand) and, preferably, a peat free compost. 

The usual ratio is three parts soil, six parts sand and one part compost. Initially, this should be broadcast lightly and evenly over the whole lawn, working it into the base of the sward with the back of a rake or using a lute and finish off with a lawn brush. 

Remove it from the lumps and bumps and deposit it into the hollows. Top dressing should be applied lightly and frequently or heavily and infrequently. Mow the lawn short on a dry day and apply the dressing as a dry mix, around 3 to 4 kilos per square metre, leaving 75% of the grass leaf still exposed. If you have an ornamental lawn which is regularly treated, you need about half to one kilo per square metre. 

The overall benefits of top dressing will be improving the smoothness, reducing the level of thatch and improving surface and soil drainage rates. You will also increase water and nutrient retention, which is all to the good in prolonged dry conditions.     

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