Topdressing to Level a Lawn
Use a blend of sand and compost to topdress your yard to create a smooth, even lawn surface, without bumps or depressions. This is called leveling and it's particularly necessary on new lawns and sports fields.
The technique is similar to topdressing with compost to add nutrition, but it's done for a different reason - to make the lawn flatter - and uses a different compost blend.
Why Topdress Turf to Level It?
- Topdressing with sand is done to level turf and create a smooth, even lawn.
- Sometimes it is necessary to topdress a few months after new sod is laid, because no matter how hard you try to create an even lawn to begin with, over time settling may occur causing depressions.
- Depressions make mowing difficult, causing scalping with the mower.
- Another reason to use sand as topdressing is to even wear and tear on sports fields, creating a safe, even surface for athletic games.
What to Use to Level a Lawn
Sand has traditionally been used, but lately landscapers have been mixing their own blends of sand and compost. The compost is used to add nutrition and beneficial microorganisms.
Leveling is a simple process, but the mixing is an obstacle. We created Level Mix to make it even easier to get it done . . . you don't have to mix the sand and compost yourself.
Using Level Mix will not only give your lawn an even surface, but it will also boost your grass health. Rather than covering your grass with sand alone, use our mix (30% Soil³ and 70% sand) to fertilize your lawn with natural nutrients while providing a smooth, flat structure.
Level Mix Ingredients:
- 30% Soil³ humus compost made of organic matter for slow-release nutrition
- 70% medium-textured, quartz, golf course sand for the structure needed to level a lawn
How to Level Your Yard
Here are the steps for topdressing to level your lawn:
- Before you topdress with Level Mix, be sure to mow and dethatch to prevent a spongy layer of turf.
- Broadcast Level Mix over the lawn with a shovel.
- Spread Level Mix to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch.
- Feel your way along the turf and let the topdressing find its way into the lower parts.
- Never completely cover your grass with Level Mix. Grass blades need sunlight to grow.
- Use a push broom to expose the foliage and work the topdressing into the grass.
- After you’ve topdressed, water your lawn to promote growth. Watering also helps pull the Level Mix into the grass canopy and fill air pockets.
Ron Henry, one of our turfgrass friends, filmed all the leveling steps, including different ways to spread Level Mix, the use of a specialized leveling rake, plus how to use frisbees to protect your sprinklers from grit. You don't want to miss his advice in this video.
What Types of Yards Can Be Leveled
Don't Level Tall Fescue by Topdressing
The most common cool season lawn in the Southeast is Tall Fescue. It doesn't recover well from leveling because it grows in clumps, rather than by runners.
Tall Fescue is cut higher (at 2.5 to 3" rather than the .5 to 2" of warm season grasses) and at that height you don't typically see the low spots so you won't have the aesthetic issue of small-scale bumps and depressions visually interrupting the smooth surface. Plus, Tall Fescue is not typically used as a sports turf, so the safety issue of bumps/depressions to address.
If you have an issue with large low areas in your Tall Fescue, then raise the grade by filling in the area with one big layer of topsoil and then seed or sod over the top of it. Autumn is a great time of year for this method as it is the ideal time to plant Tall Fescue seed; Tall Fescue sod can be laid in autumn through early spring (any month when the temperatures are cool).
Go For It With Warm Season Lawns
Warm season lawns that spread via stolons and rhizomes (runners), such as Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, and Centipedegrass, respond well to leveling with sand/compost mixtures like Level Mix. The runners are tough and recover from having "dirt" applied on top of them.
When to Topdress to Level
Topdress to level a warm season lawn when it's actively growing, after spring green-up and before autumn when the grass slows down in growth.
Rate: 1 cubic yard of Level Mix will level 500 to 1000 square feet of lawn, depending on the situation. Consult with a specialist at Super-Sod.
Ready to order?
You can order Soil3 Level Mix online or from your local dealer and we will deliver it right to the spot you need it.
Soil3 alone can be used to compost topdress to provide fertility, rather than lawn leveling.
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