Benefits of Top Dressing with Compost

There are several ways to renovate your lawn, one of the most important is top dressing your lawn with organic compost. The best times to repair a lawn are spring and fall. Adding compost as a top dressing is one of the most natural, organic ways of improving the overall quality of your lawn and soil. Combining this technique with aeration, over-seeding, and fertilizer is one of the best solutions for bare spots, weeds, lack of color, or an unhealthy lawn in general. The best top-dressing method is to spread a 1/4-inch layer of organic compost over the entire lawn.

What is compost or composting?

Composting is the aerobic decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms. It transforms raw materials – such leaves, grass clippings, garden trimmings, food scraps, animal manure, and agricultural residues – into compost, a valuable earthy-smelling soil conditioner, teeming with life.

composting materials

More than 50% of typical municipal garbage set out at the curb is compostable.


Adding a top-dressing layer to your lawn to help it recover after a long winter, the best material is organic compost because it adds nutrients to improve the overall structure of your lawn. Adding a top-dressing of compost that includes leaves, grass clippings, and yard waste has many benefits.

Reduces need for fertilizers

First, compost reduces the need for fertilizers that are more expensive and potentially unhealthy for the environment. Compost is made up of organic materials, including manure and will be integrated into the existing soil to improve its overall quality. Fertilizers, on the other hand, boost the growth of the grass by adding topical nutrients that will be washed away when it rains or when you irrigate your lawn. In studies, organic compost has been found to offer superior nutrition to the turf than fertilizers because it is higher in nitrogen.

Increases soil fertility

A top layer of compost increases soil fertility by adding nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and potassium, as well as microorganisms that help control weeds, pests, and diseases. Your turf will be healthier looking and will grow better.

Improves water retention

Topdressing improves water retention and water absorption, it reduces the need to irrigate. This leads to less water waste through run-off. Research has found that soil amended with compost can retain up to 30% more water. Turf that has been enhanced with compost will be protected during a drought.

Compost works hand in hand with fertilizer to enhance your lawn

Compost reduces weeds and diseases, making the use of fertilizers and pesticides less frequent. Applying a thin layer of compost to your lawn in the spring and again in the fall is a good practice to keep it growing well and looking healthy. You will save time and money by being less reliant on pesticides and fertilizers.

Reduces storm water runoff

A top-dressing layer of compost on your lawn helps to reduce storm-water runoff because the turf can absorb more water due to the improved soil quality.
Compost reduces erosion due to storm water run-off because it increases the pore space within the soil, so that the soil can better filter the water down to where it is needed by the plants’ roots. Compost also introduces microorganisms that produce binding agents to create large soil particles which are larger and sturdier, so they are less likely to be carried away by flowing water. Adding compost to clay soil reduces density by adding air which makes the soil less likely to be compacted, thus, more able to retain water and nutrients.

Expands the soil’s ability to store nutrients

Because the compost layer is incorporated into the soil, the overall nutrients are increased and the quality of the soil is improved, which means your grass will be greener and have a healthier appearance.

Increases microbial activity

Microbes constantly function to breakdown compost, which produces heat and kills pathogens and weeds leading to reduced diseases and pests. A great benefit of compost is introducing healthy flora to nourish your lawn.

Top dressing with compost reduces thatch and lawn diseases

The microorganisms present in the compost help to decompose the thatch layer. Thatch is the layer of organic material that grows between the soil and the new growth. Compost topdressings can reduce the thatch, improving the health and appearance of your lawn.

Compost Info-graphic

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