Top Dressing Mixes

Top Dressing Mixes

If you have understood just a little about soil you may have begun to appreciate the amount of science that goes into creating a great soil for turf. Golf courses spend millions on this very aspect as ‘soil’ can mean the difference between an exceptional playing surface and a mediocre one.

You on the other hand just want to get rid of some bumps and weren’t expecting it to be rocket science! So, what you want and need is a sandy loam or a loam top soil. This means it has all the components of a good soil with the sandy loam having a higher sand content. Use a sandy loam soil to top dress lawns on clay, loam and sandy loam soils and a loam top dressing for very sandy soils. This way you will improve the soil without adding something too different from your existing soil.

Quality of Top Dressing

In general the quality will be determined by these factors.

The grade:

To my mind this is the most important. A double screened soil passed at ¼” is a good starting point. This means it has been sieved twice through ¼” holes and will only have very small stones in it. This will be suitable for all lawns up to medium fine. If you have an ornamental lawn you need finer still, with consideration being given to a professional prepared top dressing.


This helps in the spreading. The last thing you want is lumps of top dressing!

Weed Free:

A sterilised top dressing adds to the expense and is generally only worth considering for fine lawns. This means you will get some weeds after top dressing if using an unsterilised dressing. Hopefully your weed control procedures are up to scratch!


Your supplier should be able to tell you the pH of the top dressing and you want something that is close to your existing soil, and preferably one that improves your pH. Double check it with your own pH tester.

For top quality lawns you should source professional quality top dressings of the right quality and material size for your lawn. Often suppliers can advise and recommend suitable products, otherwise a soil analysis with recommendations will point you in the right direction.