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The What, Why and When of Topdressing

Improve your lawn and gardens’ vitality, productivity and beauty with topdressing.

Topdressing is the practice of spreading compost, fertilizer or other material over the soil surface of lawns and gardens. By topdressing with compost you’ll increase the organic matter and nutrient availability in the soil. This means you need to water and fertilize less often.

Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the soil surface of perennial gardens and planting beds every two to three years. Cover with an organic mulch to help suppress weeds, conserve moisture and further improve the soil. You can topdress gardens anytime the ground isn’t frozen, but it’s easiest to do right after cutting back your perennials.

Topdress your lawn with compost right after dethatching or core aerating. The compost helps reduce soil compaction and thatch build up.

A bit more information: Increase the benefits to struggling perennials gardens. Once you topdress the garden with compost, use an auger bit to aerate the soil and mix some of the compost into the top 4 to 6” of soil.

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