Topdressing The Southern Lawn

Topdressing for Healthy Soil

Soil under turfgrass stays soft and fertile only if it gets an annual supplement of organic material. This is done by topdressing the lawn--spreading on the turf with a rake a thin layer of peat moss, topsoil, municipal sludge or leaves chopped finely by a mulching power lawn mower .

This organic matter is gradually incorporated into the soil. There it supports populations of beneficial organisms--earthworms, bacteria, fungi and micro-bugs--whose activity generates nutrients and air spaces in the soil. This fertile, healthy soil keeps grass plants healthy. Eventually the organic matter is depleted, and these organisms die off for lack of air and food if it is not replaced every year or two. Because lifeless soil can not provide nutrients or moisture to the grass, you must provide them and, predictably, pest control.

Topdressing with Chopped Leaves

To topdress with leaves is the cheapest and easiest method if you have trees on your property. When leaf fall is about over and only a light layer remains after your major clean up, mow the lawn one last time with a mulching electric or gasoline power lawn mower. Its specially designed blade suspends leaf bits and grass clippings, so it can cut them up several times before they fall down into the turf.

Virtually invisible, this finely chopped organic material decomposes on the soil where rain and earthworms eventually pull it into the root zone to become food for the soil organisms. Mulching the lawn with chopped leaves every fall assures that your soil is rich and soft to help grass grow deeply and vigorously.

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