Sunday, February 1, 2009

Turf - Some Compost Use Recommendations for Topdressing

Compost topdressing is one of the best ways to improve existing turf. The following are some compost use recommendations for topdressing turf:


•Apply a thin layer (about ¼ inch) and work it into the soil.
•Use a fine screened 3/8 screen or smaller (1/4 inch or finere is best), moisture should be 30-50%
•Applications of thick layers without soil incorporation will result in a build-up of organic matter at the soil surface that may cause rapid drying of turf roots and form a layer that restricts rooting into the soil. Only apply thin layers
•Process for applying compost
–Apply the compost using an accurate topdresser (tractor mounted or pull type topdresser, self propelled walk behind topdressers, or push type walk behind topdressers)
–Follow with several passes with an aerator equipped with hollow-tines and a heavy drag mat attached.
–The drag mat will break-up the cores and mix the compost with the soil, dragging some of the mix back into the holes.
–Best performed during cool/moist seasons when grass is actively growing (Spring or Fall).
• If the area is to be reseeded, do your vertiseed or slit-seeding after compost application and incorporation as listed above.
• Add any additional fertilizer and water the turf.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County

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