After clearing the area, you can now lay your lawn soil mix. Your topsoil is extremely important to your grass seeds but should be amended prior to any seed dispersal. Compost is packed with beneficial organisms but is more expensive than topsoil, especially when you’re looking to buy it in bulk. If your lawn has a warm-season grass or you are unsure of the best grass for your area, the people at your neighborhood garden center can help you choose the right Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed Mix for your lawn. It can take years to create finished compost, so it requires some planning! If you’re adding to an existing lawn, then use compost. It’s then sold as it is (budget topsoil) or screened to remove the debris and sold as premium topsoil. You could use a rake to do this, so the new soil gets gently blended with the lawn’s soil. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare. Mix Grass Seed and Potting Soil I purchased a bag of seed and another larger one of potting soil and used a 5-gallon paint bucket and a trowel to mix the two together. The regions of the U.S. are divided based on the characteristics of that area from the Florida tropics to the Pacific Northwest . So main question is: It’s incredibly nutrient-rich and can be used as an organic fertilizer. Wondering whether topsoil or compost is best for new grass seeds? Depending on the variety, most grass seeds have an small, oblong shape. Whether you're just looking to grow a full lawn or you want to plant a garden, having the right topsoil mix is important. Tilling the lawn and mixing compost into it at the same time is another method you might see suggested. However, before you do, make sure that the topsoil has worked its way into the lawn’s soil. There are multiple grass seed options for either warm or cold climates. Topsoil is a top layer of earth containing some organic matter. By spreading a 1/4-inch-deep straw layer across the seeds, you prevent wind and pest damage while providing moisture retention. Grass seed swells as it absorbs this moisture and produces a seedling ready for photosynthesis and rapid growth. It can be confusing to know which one you should use and when. If you … The best location for new grass seeds is approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch below the soil's surface. Our Top 6 Picks, The 12 Best Chipper Shredders For Composting [And 1 To Avoid]. Buying high-quality topsoil from a trusted vendor will minimize these risks. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Seeding a New Lawn. Here's our view on the best worm composter money can buy today. of grass seed with every 10 lbs. Disperse grass seed evenly over the soil, cranking the handle of a handheld broadcast spreader. Compost is generally more nutrient-rich than topsoil but it can be more difficult to spread due to the organic nature of it so if you mix compost and topsoil it will result in a more nutrient-rich mixture that is easier to spread over your lawn. The living plant and animal life found in soil is NOT part of … Once you add more than 3 or 4 inches of soil, the amount of weeds and grass that will grow through starts to … Grass Seed. Because of the shallow planting space, you do not need to create furrows or cover the ground with extensive topsoil. This is because you avoid compromising how evenly spread your grass seed is. In general, work about 4 inches of organic material, like compost, into your topsoil. To be completely sure that your topsoil is ready for seeding, press a pH meter into the ground to verify a slightly acidic environment with a pH between 6 and 7. Yes, you can use a mix of compost and topsoil and it is actually a very good idea as you will get the benefits of both compost and topsoil. The new layer of topsoil will allow the roots to anchor well, and the compost will supply much-needed nutrients to feed the grass as well as protecting it from hungry birds . I don't think using topsoil is as common as you think. Your topsoil is extremely important to your grass seeds but should be amended prior to any seed dispersal. The distinction between topsoil and compost can make all the difference in plant performance. If you have access to one, roll using an empty roller to improve the germination rate. Paul Allen Smith suggests a mix with a ratio of 5 parts sand, 1 part sterilized, commercial soil and 1 part seed. With the information here, you can also understand the benefits of adding coarse sand to your topsoil … Rake the seeded surface lightly to mix the grass seed and fertilizer in the top 1/8-inch of soil. Hard Wearing Grass; High Quality Lawn Lawn UK is known for top quality premium lawn seed. Compost Balls: Why Is My Compost Clumping? To help others facing the same situation, we put together this guide on what differentiates topsoil and compost, and which one is best to use. Tilling the lawn might sound like a good idea, but we don’t recommend it. Determine which option is best for your project. Tilling a lawn is a very labor-intensive work and can create a weed problem by unearthing weed seeds that were previously buried too deep to germinate. To fix this problem, it’s best to apply 3-4 inches of topsoil before you lay the seed, then top dress the new seeds with compost. Always follow “best practice" guidelines for planting grass seed , including site preparation and good seed-to-soil contact, and stick with recommended seeding rates for lush results. For applications on clay soil, reduce or eliminate the loam/topsoil. It will add bulk to your garden and provide a good base for long term healthy growth. These finest quality grass seed mixtures are designed to look perfect but still be versatile. Of course, if you make it yourself, it’s free, but most people don’t generate enough waste to produce large quantities. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Now looking to be more targeted in application of seed with some starter to be sure the rest of it takes. This can be a problem if you are growing grass from seed over a previous weedy lawn, the old weeds will grow through as well. If your whole lawn is suffering and you’re reseeding the entire thing, then it’s likely that your existing topsoil is low quality. A healthy lawn will have a topsoil layer between 5 and 10 inches thick. Most golf courses are top dressed with a mix that has high sand content however if you are topdressing your lawn you should use a compost that has high organic content. The thickness of the layer will vary from lawn to lawn. Fruit and vegetable waste, manure, leaves, and wood chips are all examples of things that you can compost. Veronica has also volunteered in many sustainability roles, including conservation efforts in Bangladesh and teaching Environmental Sciences to schoolchildren in Kenya. Typically, you disperse seeds with a drop spreader or by hand. Compost is a soil amendment that’s made by decaying a mix of organic matter. However, the seed cannot be fully exposed on the soil's surface either. Can I put topsoil over grass? The soil should contain both minerals and organic material. After growing up on a farm in Ireland, she went on to study Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. With an electronics degree and more than 10 years of experience, she applies her love of gadgets to the gardening world as she continues her education through college classes and gardening activities. If your lawn is generally healthy but requires a bit of maintenance where patches have been overfertilized or attacked by pests, then applying a light layer of compost is the best way to go. As a general rule, topsoil adds depth, and compost improves quality. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, you should only see about 10 percent of a grass seed's shape above ground when it is properly tilled into the topsoil. Seeds need the right amount of oxygen and moisture for the best chance of germination, and topsoil does not provide the best growing medium that suits these needs. Topsoil is the layer of soil that lies between the surface of your lawn and the subsoil. When we were redoing our lawn, we found lots of conflicting information on the web about whether we should be using topsoil or compost for laying grass seeds. It may be very good soil and not deep black. We take a closer look at the differences between the two, and what to use for your specific circumstances. Water lightly with a garden sprayer to moisten. He recommended bringing in about 2" of fresh topsoil for the new grass and then just topdress with a light layer of compost to cover the seed from birds, then after the roots are well anchored, the next year and following years I can just topdress with the compost. In paved gardens where there is no access to soil, topsoil can be used in raised beds for growing many plants, including vegetables. Most of the time, dethatching and aerating your lawn will be sufficient to loosen the soil. Installation Recommendations for New Grass Seeds. Next, mix enough grass seed so you see plenty of seed in every handful. They are very tiny and quite actually really sensitive in the germination stage. On a seeded lawn: After sowing lawn grass seeds, apply a thin layer — about 1/4-inch — of compost as top-dressing to help maintain consistent soil moisture while seeds germinate and tender grass seedlings get established. Straw allows some evaporation to prevent rot and standing water while hindering drought conditions damaging to grass growth. For larger lawns, use a walk-behind spreader. Loam or topsoil (a fine crumbly soil that is neither clay nor sandy) Peat (or compost if your soil needs a nutritional punch, but be prepared for sprouting weeds!) The terms topsoil and compost are often used interchangeably, but they’re very different things. You can use compost to top-dress both new and existing lawns. If you don't know what type of grass you have, consult our Identify Your Grass article. You can spread topsoil evenly and accurately over the lawn by using a drop-spreader, or you can spread topsoil simply by flinging it with a shovel.14 Dec 2018 […] When spread on the lawn you want to see 15-20 seeds per sq. (Grass and weeds will grow through soil 2 or 3 inches thick quite easily.) A slow-release, starter fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium should also be tilled into the soil for the best start to your grass seedlings. Myth #3: There are no weed seeds in good topsoil. There are warm- and cold-season seeds. Once you uniformly cover the ground with seeds, use a lawn roller or garden rake to move the seeds further into the soil. It’s too potent and expensive to be used as the sole medium for most yard projects. I live in eastern Canada, I believe in zone 4b (perhaps right on the border with 5a). In general, work about 4 inches of organic material, like compost, into your topsoil. To fix this problem, it’s best to apply 3-4 inches of topsoil before you lay the seed, then top dress the new seeds with compost. As a result, your grass seeds should emerge in about three weeks, depending on the variety. By maintaining a friable and fertile topsoil habitat, your seeds have the best chance for vigorous growth and establishment. What’s The Best Worm Composter? Veronica has a passion for all things eco-friendly. If you spend time to prepare the soil you have, your new grass seeds will sprout. If you're wondering why your compost has suddenly clumped into balls, look no further. It has high concentrations of organic matter and microorganisms, so is where most root growth occurs. This nutrient-rich addition provides a fertile soil environment for the top 8 inches of soil. As the straw degrades into the soil, it adds more nutrients for grass establishment. The terms soil and dirt are incorrectly used interchangeably. If the compost has been hot composted, then it’ll be free of weed seeds. Overseeding - can I mix seed and topsoil together and spread that? The new layer of topsoil will allow the roots to anchor well, and the compost will supply much-needed nutrients to feed the grass as well as protecting it from hungry birds. Topsoil is often sourced from building sites or fields. To maintain a consistent, misty watering regimen during germination and seedling growth, the first 1/2 inch of earth needs to remain damp but not soggy. You can mix compost with topsoil to create your own potting compost, as many of the nurseries do, which gives you the advantages of soil – namely that it dries out more slowly and holds its structure better – together with the benefits of compost – organic matter and more nutrients, a compost made with loam or soil is often called a John Innes Compost. Compost is made of only organic matter and contains nutrients and soil structure essentials. By adding sand that will support those seeds, you get the best of both of worlds. (Potting soil has two benefits over topsoil, which is most commonly used: it contains fertilizer, and it … Unlike larger seed types, grass sprouts cannot push through a thick soil layer because the new growth is tiny and sensitive. In fact, a topsoil layer effectively suffocates your lawn before it even has a chance to grow. A chipper shredder is a vital tool if you plan to step up your composting game. No, it is not recommended to use topsoil for starting seeds in containers. I'd like to overseed my lawn within the next week, and I have a few questions for which I seem to get mixed answers when I search the subject. All our Grass Seed Mixtures benefit from HEADSTART® GOLD, the latest development in performance enhancing grass seed coatings (see technical bit below). After the topsoil is prepared, the most cost-effective way to establish a lawn is by putting down grass seeds. Dirt is the stuff you sweep up in the house. Types of compost include vermicompost, leaf mold, and manure compost. But this is very unlikely if you’re buying the compost from a reputable source. Soil consists of the mineral component, the sand, clay and silt, as well as dead organic matter. Do You Have to Kill Crabgrass Before Reseeding? They have different properties and, therefore, different uses. Soil is the stuff out in your garden. However, it can contain residual weed seeds and chemicals from pesticides or fertilizers that were applied in its previous life. I used one several years ago - I think it was $20 for 4 hours? When you add compost to existing soil, it can help improve things like the structure and water retention capacity. The better quality and thicker your topsoil layer is, the easier it is for strong deep roots to develop. How Warm Must it Be to Plant Lawn Grass Seed? Topsoil can be used to cover the ground, to create new beds, borders or to provide a base for turf laying or sowing grass seed. What is soil? We would recommend that you seed your lawn after you apply your top dressing. You can apply grass seed to your lawn either before or after you top dress it. Proper soil preparation, seeding techniques and mulching provide the best protection against seed and seedling loss. For average loamy soil, mix these three ingredients equally. Also, unless the topsoil has been mixed with compost, there’s a risk it could be relatively inert. Keep soil damp … Use a grass seed that matches what you already have in your lawn. 3. There is a right grass seed for your lawn so always go with what’s recommended for your region. Unlink other types of seeds, grass seeds are not able to push their way through topsoil or earthy materials. Instead of looking to topsoil as a protective layer, use straw as a mulching alternative. Even though they can not be covered with topsoil or earthy materials they can not be let exposed either. Mix 1/2 lb. Adding grass seed will help improve healthy growth. More and more coverage each time, so I'm confident the soil is at least passable / capable of growing the grass. Fill holes and areas to be repaired with the mixture. Topsoil is best to use when you’re establishing something new, and you know your current topsoil layer is thin or low quality. Be sure to apply an even amount of seed to the entire area. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. The short answer is: yes, grass seed will germinate on top of soil, but you may need to do a little extra work for good results — just leaving it sitting on top of the soil probably won’t get you the kind of lawn you want. Spreading topsoil across your yard may seem like a simple way to protect your newly spread grass seeds from hungry birds, but these small seeds cannot force their way through heavy earth. As the seeds make contact with the ground, they are still fully exposed to heat and wind damage. We demystify all the jargon surrounding chipper shredders and review the 12 best options for composting. It seems like such a simple question but many people don’t understand what soil is. In terms of texture, topsoil has a better structure than pure compost and retains more water. For example, premium shade, which is a fine quality lawn mixture also grows well in the shade. In fact, a topsoil layer effectively suffocates your lawn before it even has a chance to grow. … It’s just like music. Spreading topsoil across your yard may seem like a simple way to protect your newly spread grass seeds from hungry birds, but these small seeds cannot force their way through heavy earth. But by itself, we wouldn’t recommend it as a growing medium. If any of the ingredients used were contaminated with chemicals, then traces of these chemicals can remain. Others prefer to use peat moss vs. topsoil, since it helps w/ water retention. Use it when planting and growing grass seed as a soil-conditioning agent. Step 8 Rake in the Grass Seed Photo by Webb Chappell. Worm composting can be super rewarding, but only if you are setup for success. Also, unless you properly level and compact the soil after tilling, you risk ending up with a very bumpy lawn. So, can topsoil be used to start seeds? If you don’t know, bring a sample to a local nursery. You can always mix some compost in with topsoil if you want to ensure high levels of organic matter within your topsoil layer. First, the pH of the soil needs to be between 6.2 and 7.o. The best time to seed cool-season grasses is in late August or September, and warm-season grasses grow best when seeded in May, June or July. Balloon popper: All topsoil comes with weed seeds. If seed to soil contact is your concern, rent a lawn roller. If you have a hilly area, seeds will tend to wash away to a low point. It helps protect and insulate the grass seed, paving the way for thicker and healthier grass over your lawn in … of filler mixture and use to fill in low or barren spots in the turf. Basically, a re-seed after a leveling with fresh topsoil. Topsoil tends to be cheaper than compost, and you can but it in bulk. It’s not necessary to buy new topsoil or any special form of soil to cover your newly planted grass seed. We take a look at the most common causes and solutions. Here adding topsoil isn’t necessary because your existing topsoil layer is already healthy. Grasses depend on a warm soil niche with surrounding moisture for germination. Compost is an ideal medium to plant along with grass seed and encourage growth. How Long Does it Take for Fescue to Germinate? Some have just killed, scalped, and seeded. Once this is done, you can sprinkle grass seed over the topdressing. inch. 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