Timing is Everything
Caring for our lawns and plants is more than just making them look aesthetically pleasing; the maintenance required to get them that way is a high priority and requires consistency. Most importantly, lawns and plants are often the house’s first areas that catch the eye and leave a lasting impression. The feeling of satisfaction from putting in hard work is a reward as you marvel at the lush greenery you’ve created.
Topsoil is the foundation of plants and a healthy lawn, and by knowing how to use it, you’ll be able to utilize a thriving property for its practical uses. Children and pets love a beautiful yard to run around on, and this is likely where you’ll host barbeques to entertain family and friends. Plants are as versatile as you want them to be, from being able to grow your produce and herbs to enjoying indoor plants that promote healthier air quality. Understanding the purpose of topsoil and when to lay topsoil throughout your lawn and plants are the first steps to creating the perfect property you desire.
When to topdress your lawn
A steady supply of nutrients is fundamental to the health of your lawn and plants, requiring consistent care and maintenance despite being hardy and tolerant of various conditions. For the sake of applying nutrients only, you can incorporate topsoil into your lawn any time of the year.
Top-dressing your lawn to fix bumps and holes cannot be done at certain times of the year. Therefore, appropriate timing of a topsoil application before or after your region’s growing season is necessary to produce the best results.
Top-dressing houseplants, container gardens, raised beds, and similar foundations should be done when your plants show nutrient deficiency symptoms. As a good rule of thumb, it is best to top-dress these plants every two years. However, instead of top dressing in spring, you can do it at the beginning of individual plants’ growing seasons since certain plants have late starts up to the end of spring.
Top-dressing lawns and garden beds in shallow soil are ideally done in spring or fall up to four times a year. It’s never advisable to top-dress in summer or winter. If you’re particular about your lawn looking a certain way or getting optimal results, it’s best to consult an expert or have the topsoiling done professionally.
It’s also crucial to avoid top-dressing during the grass’s dormant period because it will likely damage or entirely kill your grass. While rain is forecasted that day, top-dressing is also not recommended because the muddy ground will cause the top-dressing to be uneven and more complicated to work with.
Ideally, it’s much safer to top-dress after a minimum of one week without rain (which also applies to not watering houseplants for this duration). Topsoil is much easier to manage on the ground if they are both dry, as this will prevent the topsoil from caking up. Clumps easily break apart and sift under foliage to the ground’s surface.
As long as flash flooding or long surges of heavy rain aren’t forecasted, top-dressing just before a bout of rain is safe to do as well. Downpours can make short work of a fresh layer of topsoil by washing most of it away. Gentle, gradual rainfall is much safer and will save you the time of watering your topsoil as well.
Top-dressing indoor plants that require oversized pots, such as the indoor banana, is recommended since their sheer size makes repotting them nearly impossible. Preparing your indoor plants begins with transporting the pot to a carpet-free, easily cleanable surface such as tile. As an extra precaution, you may place the pot on a tarp.
You can break apart compacted soil as needed using a dull spoon or ladle. After the topmost roots are exposed, fill the pot with a fresh top-dressing mix. Press down gently, and fill in with additional layers until you reach the soil level line of the previous mixture. Add water and a few more scoops of the top-dressing mix as finishing touches. Applying new topsoil every two years is optimal for the health of a large plant. Fermented tea and natural fertilizer are also excellent for promoting healthy growth.
Top-dressing a lawn starts with a fertilizer application of one to two weeks minimum before applying topsoil. The fertilizer will need time to settle as its nutients begin incorporating into the soil and grass. Follow instructions as directed on your fertilizer bag. Moderately mow your grass to your preferred height the day before top-dressing. It’s best to cut just enough, so new growth is removed, which allows topsoil particles to sink beneath and between blades.
To ensure the topsoil application is correctly finished, don’t forget to pick up or rake away all debris and grass trimmings, including twigs and leaves. Doing so will ensure the topsoil is evenly applied without any obstructions.
Dethatching a lawn must be done before applying a fresh layer of topsoil. Additionally, coring before top-dressing comes down to personal preference, but if you wish to do so, ensure all extracted cores are removed before adding the topsoil.
After the new topsoil has been evenly applied to your lawn, you may use a manual, automatic sprinkler or garden hose to keep the topsoil moist and help it settle into the ground. After all the manual labor is finished, ensure there’s no foot traffic or other contact with your grass for approximately one week. Your grass will need enough time to absorb nutrients from the topsoil, and the topsoil needs time to settle into the baseline of the grass.