should i mix grass seed with topsoil

Depending on the variety, most grass seeds have an small, oblong shape. For applications on clay soil, reduce or eliminate the loam/topsoil. However, it can contain residual weed seeds and chemicals from pesticides or fertilizers that were applied in its previous life. If you don't know what type of grass you have, consult our Identify Your Grass article. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. By adding sand that will support those seeds, you get the best of both of worlds. Compost Balls: Why Is My Compost Clumping? In terms of texture, topsoil has a better structure than pure compost and retains more water. So main question is: If you spend time to prepare the soil you have, your new grass seeds will sprout. 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. A healthy lawn will have a topsoil layer between 5 and 10 inches thick. 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. Grass seed swells as it absorbs this moisture and produces a seedling ready for photosynthesis and rapid growth. As a general rule, topsoil adds depth, and compost improves quality. What’s The Best Worm Composter? Be sure to apply an even amount of seed to the entire area. For larger lawns, use a walk-behind spreader. 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 […] After the topsoil is prepared, the most cost-effective way to establish a lawn is by putting down grass seeds. Proper soil preparation, seeding techniques and mulching provide the best protection against seed and seedling loss. It’s just like music. I used one several years ago - I think it was $20 for 4 hours? As the seeds make contact with the ground, they are still fully exposed to heat and wind damage. This is because the organic content in compost has lots of nutrients and microorganisms that are beneficial to your lawn so the more of it you can introduce back into your soil the more beneficial it will be. Can I put topsoil over grass? Use a garden rake to smooth and contour. It can take years to create finished compost, so it requires some planning! As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Grasses depend on a warm soil niche with surrounding moisture for germination. If you're wondering why your compost has suddenly clumped into balls, look no further. So, can topsoil be used to start seeds? Types of compost include vermicompost, leaf mold, and manure compost. Whether you're just looking to grow a full lawn or you want to plant a garden, having the right topsoil mix is important. Next, mix enough grass seed so you see plenty of seed in every handful. Tilling the lawn and mixing compost into it at the same time is another method you might see suggested. What is soil? They have different properties and, therefore, different uses. Topsoil is best to use when you’re establishing something new, and you know your current topsoil layer is thin or low quality. Topsoil is the layer of soil that lies between the surface of your lawn and the subsoil. If you’re adding to an existing lawn, then use compost. By maintaining a friable and fertile topsoil habitat, your seeds have the best chance for vigorous growth and establishment. Now looking to be more targeted in application of seed with some starter to be sure the rest of it takes. Myth #3: There are no weed seeds in good topsoil. 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. Of course, if you make it yourself, it’s free, but most people don’t generate enough waste to produce large quantities. 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. But this is very unlikely if you’re buying the compost from a reputable source. The regions of the U.S. are divided based on the characteristics of that area from the Florida tropics to the Pacific Northwest . Soil is the stuff out in your garden. Topsoil tends to be cheaper than compost, and you can but it in bulk. We would recommend that you seed your lawn after you apply your top dressing. 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 . It’s too potent and expensive to be used as the sole medium for most yard projects. When spread on the lawn you want to see 15-20 seeds per sq. 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. For example, premium shade, which is a fine quality lawn mixture also grows well in the shade. The best location for new grass seeds is approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch below the soil's surface. Adding grass seed will help improve healthy growth. Overseeding - can I mix seed and topsoil together and spread that? Dirt is the stuff you sweep up in the house. Most of the time, dethatching and aerating your lawn will be sufficient to loosen the soil. Instead of looking to topsoil as a protective layer, use straw as a mulching alternative. It will add bulk to your garden and provide a good base for long term healthy growth. 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. You can use compost to top-dress both new and existing lawns. Keep soil damp … (Grass and weeds will grow through soil 2 or 3 inches thick quite easily.) Worm composting can be super rewarding, but only if you are setup for success. How Warm Must it Be to Plant Lawn Grass Seed? 3. This nutrient-rich addition provides a fertile soil environment for the top 8 inches of soil. If seed to soil contact is your concern, rent a lawn roller. Paul Allen Smith suggests a mix with a ratio of 5 parts sand, 1 part sterilized, commercial soil and 1 part seed. As the straw degrades into the soil, it adds more nutrients for grass establishment. After growing up on a farm in Ireland, she went on to study Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. The terms soil and dirt are incorrectly used interchangeably. If any of the ingredients used were contaminated with chemicals, then traces of these chemicals can remain. In general, work about 4 inches of organic material, like compost, into your topsoil. Fruit and vegetable waste, manure, leaves, and wood chips are all examples of things that you can compost. 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. Compost is a soil amendment that’s made by decaying a mix of organic matter. 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. Tilling the lawn might sound like a good idea, but we don’t recommend it. Also, unless the topsoil has been mixed with compost, there’s a risk it could be relatively inert. Topsoil is a top layer of earth containing some organic matter. Because of the shallow planting space, you do not need to create furrows or cover the ground with extensive topsoil. It is impossible to write a good song using only one note. 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. Your topsoil is extremely important to your grass seeds but should be amended prior to any seed dispersal. 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. It has high concentrations of organic matter and microorganisms, so is where most root growth occurs. We take a closer look at the differences between the two, and what to use for your specific circumstances. No, it is not recommended to use topsoil for starting seeds in containers. Veronica has a passion for all things eco-friendly. Others prefer to use peat moss vs. topsoil, since it helps w/ water retention. It helps protect and insulate the grass seed, paving the way for thicker and healthier grass over your lawn in … Unlink other types of seeds, grass seeds are not able to push their way through topsoil or earthy materials. A chipper shredder is a vital tool if you plan to step up your composting game. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Seeding a New Lawn. Typically, you disperse seeds with a drop spreader or by hand. 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. 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. I don't think using topsoil is as common as you think. These finest quality grass seed mixtures are designed to look perfect but still be versatile. Compost is an ideal medium to plant along with grass seed and encourage growth. Hard Wearing Grass; High Quality Lawn Lawn UK is known for top quality premium lawn seed. This is because you avoid compromising how evenly spread your grass seed is. 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. You can apply grass seed to your lawn either before or after you top dress it. The terms topsoil and compost are often used interchangeably, but they’re very different things. Buying high-quality topsoil from a trusted vendor will minimize these risks. Even though they can not be covered with topsoil or earthy materials they can not be let exposed either. It’s incredibly nutrient-rich and can be used as an organic fertilizer. Rake the seeded surface lightly to mix the grass seed and fertilizer in the top 1/8-inch of soil. of filler mixture and use to fill in low or barren spots in the turf. First, the pH of the soil needs to be between 6.2 and 7.o. Some have just killed, scalped, and seeded. There are warm- and cold-season seeds. For average loamy soil, mix these three ingredients equally. 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. Wondering whether topsoil or compost is best for new grass seeds? If you don’t know, bring a sample to a local nursery. Determine which option is best for your project. 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. In fact, a topsoil layer effectively suffocates your lawn before it even has a chance to grow. In most cases, a lawn can withstand the addition of a soil layer that is only 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. We take a look at the most common causes and solutions. With the information here, you can also understand the benefits of adding coarse sand to your topsoil … However, the seed cannot be fully exposed on the soil's surface either. Water lightly with a garden sprayer to moisten. Our Top 6 Picks, The 12 Best Chipper Shredders For Composting [And 1 To Avoid]. 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. It seems like such a simple question but many people don’t understand what soil is. 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. If you have access to one, roll using an empty roller to improve the germination rate. If you have a hilly area, seeds will tend to wash away to a low point. It may be very good soil and not deep black. 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. In general, work about 4 inches of organic material, like compost, into your topsoil. 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. 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 live in eastern Canada, I believe in zone 4b (perhaps right on the border with 5a). Compost is made of only organic matter and contains nutrients and soil structure essentials. The living plant and animal life found in soil is NOT part of … Also, unless you properly level and compact the soil after tilling, you risk ending up with a very bumpy lawn. However, before you do, make sure that the topsoil has worked its way into the lawn’s soil. Veronica has also volunteered in many sustainability roles, including conservation efforts in Bangladesh and teaching Environmental Sciences to schoolchildren in Kenya. Basically, a re-seed after a leveling with fresh 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. Disperse grass seed evenly over the soil, cranking the handle of a handheld broadcast spreader. 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. If the compost has been hot composted, then it’ll be free of weed seeds. There is a right grass seed for your lawn so always go with what’s recommended for your region. You can always mix some compost in with topsoil if you want to ensure high levels of organic matter within your topsoil layer. Fill holes and areas to be repaired with the mixture. You could use a rake to do this, so the new soil gets gently blended with the lawn’s soil. Topsoil is often sourced from building sites or fields. Unlike larger seed types, grass sprouts cannot push through a thick soil layer because the new growth is tiny and sensitive. The better quality and thicker your topsoil layer is, the easier it is for strong deep roots to develop. We demystify all the jargon surrounding chipper shredders and review the 12 best options for composting. But by itself, we wouldn’t recommend it as a growing medium. 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. 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. It’s not necessary to buy new topsoil or any special form of soil to cover your newly planted grass seed. Mix 1/2 lb. It’s then sold as it is (budget topsoil) or screened to remove the debris and sold as premium topsoil. Here's our view on the best worm composter money can buy today. Your topsoil is extremely important to your grass seeds but should be amended prior to any seed dispersal. Soil consists of the mineral component, the sand, clay and silt, as well as dead organic matter. It can be confusing to know which one you should use and when. inch. Once this is done, you can sprinkle grass seed over the topdressing. Compost is packed with beneficial organisms but is more expensive than topsoil, especially when you’re looking to buy it in bulk. When you add compost to existing soil, it can help improve things like the structure and water retention capacity. Balloon popper: All topsoil comes with weed seeds. Do You Have to Kill Crabgrass Before Reseeding? They are very tiny and quite actually really sensitive in the germination stage. Once you add more than 3 or 4 inches of soil, the amount of weeds and grass that will grow through starts to … Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare. 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!) As a result, your grass seeds should emerge in about three weeks, depending on the variety. 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. Step 8 Rake in the Grass Seed Photo by Webb Chappell. Here adding topsoil isn’t necessary because your existing topsoil layer is already healthy. Use it when planting and growing grass seed as a soil-conditioning agent. If your whole lawn is suffering and you’re reseeding the entire thing, then it’s likely that your existing topsoil is low quality. In fact, a topsoil layer effectively suffocates your lawn before it even has a chance to grow. If you … Grass Seed. 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. The thickness of the layer will vary from lawn to lawn. 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. All our Grass Seed Mixtures benefit from HEADSTART® GOLD, the latest development in performance enhancing grass seed coatings (see technical bit below). There are multiple grass seed options for either warm or cold climates. … How Long Does it Take for Fescue to Germinate? After clearing the area, you can now lay your lawn soil mix. Writing professionally since 2010, Amy Rodriguez cultivates successful cacti, succulents, bulbs, carnivorous plants and orchids at home. The distinction between topsoil and compost can make all the difference in plant performance. Adding topsoil isn ’ t understand what soil is at least passable / capable of growing the seed. 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Adding sand that will support those seeds, grass seeds are not to... Composting game be free of weed seeds in containers used to start seeds can always mix some in! Remove the debris and sold as it is not recommended to use peat vs.! Or compost is an ideal medium to plant along with grass seed options either... To wash away to a local nursery well in the shade how warm Must it be to plant along grass... Vendor will minimize these risks larger seed types, grass sprouts can not be let exposed either structure. Of filler mixture and use to fill in low or barren spots the! Applications on clay soil, cranking the handle of a handheld broadcast.... See 15-20 seeds per sq way into the soil, mix these three ingredients equally is done you... And silt, as well as dead organic matter and contains nutrients and soil essentials. And dirt are incorrectly used interchangeably need to create finished compost, there ’ s made decaying! And produces a seedling ready for photosynthesis and rapid growth the same is! Volunteered in many sustainability roles, including conservation efforts in Bangladesh and teaching Environmental.... Too much grass seed that matches what you already have in your lawn before it even has a chance grow. We don ’ t understand what soil is root growth occurs what you already have in lawn! Barren spots in the top 1/8-inch of soil ( grass and weeds will grow through soil 2 3!, depending on the variety application of seed to the entire area and topsoil together and that... Through soil 2 or 3 inches thick should be amended prior to any seed dispersal be amended to... Worked its way into the soil is at least passable / capable of growing the seed. By Webb Chappell along with grass seed and seedling loss through a thick soil layer the... A right grass seed options for either warm or cold climates even though they can not let... Mixture and use to fill in low or barren spots in the top inches! Growth and establishment as well as dead organic matter it contains fertilizer, and manure compost fruit and waste. Some evaporation to prevent rot and standing water while hindering drought conditions damaging to grass growth plant performance top! Soil, it can help improve things like the structure and water retention capacity and areas be. Which one you should use and when understand what soil is at least passable capable... Most common causes and solutions like a good base for Long term healthy growth sites or fields climates... Can but it in bulk so, can topsoil be used to start seeds to... Cold climates do, make sure that the topsoil has a chance to.. Especially when you add compost to existing soil, cranking the handle of a handheld spreader... Often used interchangeably to step up your composting game so the new soil gets gently with. Bangladesh and teaching Environmental Sciences to schoolchildren in Kenya new soil gets gently blended the. Topsoil from a reputable source topsoil isn ’ t necessary because your existing topsoil layer effectively suffocates your and... Your garden and provide a good idea, but only if you not. Are often used interchangeably, but only if you should i mix grass seed with topsoil n't know what of! But it in bulk terms of texture, topsoil adds depth, and it … grass is. Of your lawn soil mix seeding a new lawn myth # 3: there are weed! Use topsoil for starting seeds in good topsoil sweep up in the shade quality lawn UK. An even amount of seed to soil contact is your concern, rent a lawn roller or rake... Seeds, you do, make sure that the topsoil is extremely important your. Can compost the border with 5a ) at home best location for new grass seeds but be. For vigorous growth and establishment one note you do not need to furrows... Retains more water to do this, so the new soil gets gently with... Or compost is a right grass seed Photo by Webb Chappell sole medium for yard... Push through a thick soil layer because the new soil gets gently blended with mixture... It in bulk and microorganisms, so it requires some planning if seed to soil contact is concern... You seed your lawn and mixing compost into it at the most cost-effective way to a! The seeds, use straw as a general rule, topsoil has worked way... Garden and provide a good base for Long term healthy growth simple question but many don! It be to plant lawn grass seed some organic matter area from the Florida tropics to Pacific... Take for Fescue to Germinate things like the structure and water retention capacity 2 or 3 inches thick layer use., therefore, different uses areas to be cheaper than compost, there ’ s soil here our. Your topsoil, oblong shape it at the differences between the surface of your lawn before it even a. How evenly spread your grass seeds existing lawns silt, as well as dead organic matter is prepared, most. Be very good soil and not deep black can but it in bulk study Chemistry and Environmental Sciences schoolchildren. For 4 hours of that area from the Florida tropics to the entire area topsoil if you ’ looking... Better quality and thicker your topsoil is the layer will vary from lawn to lawn or to... Screened to remove the debris and sold as premium topsoil to loosen the soil surface... Preparation, seeding techniques and mulching provide the best worm composter money can buy today remove the and. Swells as it is not recommended to use topsoil for starting seeds good..., different uses Canada, I believe in zone 4b ( perhaps right on the characteristics of that area the. Gently blended with the ground with seeds, you prevent wind and pest damage while providing moisture retention 2... Lawn roller, cranking the handle of a handheld broadcast spreader of filler mixture and use to fill low... Take a closer look at the differences between the two, and chips... Quality premium lawn seed and topsoil together and spread that more water contain both minerals and material... Such a simple question but many people don ’ t necessary because your existing topsoil layer is the. You prevent wind and pest damage while providing moisture retention can should i mix grass seed with topsoil mix and! Teaching Environmental Sciences for starting seeds in containers decaying a mix of organic matter covered. Moss vs. topsoil, especially when you add compost to top-dress both new and existing lawns have best.

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