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Old 05-11-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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Default What's the dirt I see thrown on top of lawns?

So okay, sometimes when driving past a house or business, I see that they have sprinkled a deposit of what looks like dirt onto various areas -- usually brown areas -- of their lawn. After about a week or less, those areas are looking better.

What is most likely being put down on the lawn? I asked Home Depot, and they referred me to Kellog brand Topper, which is a topsoil with fertilizer in it. I have a few brown spots and I fertilize, and I suspect these spots may be too compacted and drying out faster than the others. I have poked holes in the soil to air the soil and allow for more moisture absorption. But I'm still curious what the special dirt is they are sprinkling on top of the grass -- I'm wondering if that sprinkling of loose topsoil retains water for that area and improves growth.

thoughts?
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
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Could it be peat moss to retain the water, this way the seed will stay moist????
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:26 PM
 
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It's either organic compost or some type of manure. A couple of years ago I sprinkled chicken manure over my lawn and it definitely improved my lawn (I also used liquid aerator). Chicken manure is very cheap but it will smell for a day or two. Your neighbor downwind won't like it

After sprinkling it on, you should use a rake to spread it evenly
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:45 AM
 
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I was going to say that they were probably top dressing the area -- but if they're putting it in an area where the grass was dead (i.e. brown) and then within a week or two it looks better (i.e. green again)... then its probably a seed/mulch combo. The one from Scott's (EZ Seed) is dark brown when it is watered, then it lightens to a reddish brown when it needs water.

Pennington also has a product like that.

If the grass in that area is dead (i.e. the grass all around is green, but the grass in that specific area is brown and dry) - then just fertilizer wouldn't help.

good luck with your lawn maintenance!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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I don't know what area you live in or the type of grass that is in your area. I can only speak of what we have here. It sounds like they have top dressed the lawn. In areas where the soil is very compacted and the grass roots can't get a good hold, its a great way to jump start an area that needs help. Usually its top dressed with a commercial product or for larger areas a good loamy top soil that will encourage root growth. It will fill in problem areas within a year. Here is a picture of the lawn from our old house that we "top dressed" (the area to the right of the tree). It filled in beautifully in about eight weeks.
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What's the dirt I see thrown on top of  lawns?-house-planting2.jpg  
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Best practice would be to topdress with a compost material ... Huge soil improvement vs. topdressing with topsoil

Improving the soil will always improve the grass performance
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer ts View Post
Best practice would be to topdress with a compost material ... Huge soil improvement vs. topdressing with topsoil

Improving the soil will always improve the grass performance
I would agree in most areas but here in the Deep South (Houston) the dark color of compost acts like an oven if you topdress in the summer months with it. Instead of encouraging root growth, you unfortuately "bake" them and they die. I had to learn that lesson first hand. In areas where the average day tempertures are in the 90s use a well mixed top soil instead of compost.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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Best time to top dress fertilize/mulch is during spring rainy season after most of the frost/freezing weather has past. Aerating before this process really helps the nutrients soak in to the root zone of the grass. Plus the mulch/fertilizer works best when mixed with oxygen in ground to expedite the oxidation process.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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Thanks, all. I will look into top dressing at Home Depot. In the areas where the grass had browned, the soil there was very hard and/or inclined... so I am suspecting the soil had compacted. So I poked holes in it and will throw down some top dressing to help retain water.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motifone View Post
Thanks, all. I will look into top dressing at Home Depot. In the areas where the grass had browned, the soil there was very hard and/or inclined... so I am suspecting the soil had compacted. So I poked holes in it and will throw down some top dressing to help retain water.
At Home Depot, look for "sodding soil". It is a good mix of soil, compost and fertilizer. Its expensive but a little goes a long way.
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