Gardening

Topdress Annually for a Top Quality Lawn

For a beautiful lawn like you see in home and garden magazines, topdress annually with 1 inch (2 cm) of compost. It will work its way into the soil and enrich and decompact it. Take the opportunity to fill in any depressions with a little more compost so the surface is equal all over. Then, overseed with a top-quality low maintenance blend of grass seed (one containing endophytes). There are beneficial fungi living inside the grass seed that make the grass that sprouts unpalatable to leaf-eating insects.

You can topdress and overseed in the spring, but results are even better when you do it early in the fall.

With soil enriched and aerated by compost and grass thickened by the arrival of healthy new arrivals—and by repeating this restoration annually—your lawn will never have looked so beautiful!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. After studies at the University of Toronto and Laval University where he obtained his B.A. in modern languages in 1978, he succeeded in combining his language skills with his passion for gardening in a novel career as a garden writer and lecturer. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He is a regular contributor to and horticultural consultant for Fleurs, Plantes, Jardins garden magazine and has written for many other garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 50 other titles in English and French. He can be seen in Quebec on French-language television and was notably a regular collaborator for 7 years on the TV shows Fleurs et Jardins and Salut Bonjour Weekend. He is the President of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. An avid proponent of garden tourism, he has lead garden tours throughout Canada and to the gardens of over 30 countries over the last 30 years. He presently resides in Quebec City, Quebec.

3 comments on “Topdress Annually for a Top Quality Lawn

  1. Hi there! What kind of compost do you think–I see shrimp, mushroom for sale etc. And will it introduce weeds into the lawn? Love your blog. N.

    • First, compost should have no weed seeds, so you’re safe there. Secondly, the type really doesn’t matter: you’ll need quite a bit, so look for a decent price.

  2. This is one of those horticultural techniques that is rarely done anymore. Lawns are just expected to be very green all the time. I remember that the procedure also kept lawns flat by filling in sunken spots slightly each time.

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