The Importance of Top Dressing Before Winter

The Importance of Top Dressing Before Winter

At Mirage Landscaping of Calgary, we have over three generations in the business of helping our clients grow healthy lawns on residential and commercial properties in all areas of the city. We have always emphasized the benefits of a fall fertilization ahead of the sometimes very harsh southern Albertan winter, and if we’ve had a less-than-perfect summer (plus another bad winter before that) it often makes a ton of sense to bulk up the root system of your grass with added top dressing before the temperatures dip and send your lawn into its winter sleep. Also, if you have not scheduled a sprinkler system blowout, it is time to get on our calendar, ahead of a freeze.

Top Dressing, What Is It?

Top dressing is the addition of a thin layer of top soil worked into your lawn, primarily in the early fall, when there are still three to four standard mows remaining before the winter.

Fast and hard rain showers or storms in most years punctuate the often hot and dry summers of Calgary. Such alternate baking and saturation takes its toll upon the topsoil. When it hasn’t rained for a time, the ground hardens and dust blows. That dust is a fraction of the top soil. Then, as the skies dump rainfall, the remaining soil is subject to run off. Every drop of water that exceeds your local water table’s carrying capacity starts heading for an eventual date with Calgary’s storm drain system, carrying vital nutrients away forever. 

You can combat wind and water caused soil erosion elsewhere through the use of ground cover, such as by spreading mulch. Unfortunately, though, this only works for garden areas. 

Another thought people turn over in their minds for a distressed patch of lawn is to spread compost upon it. But remember that though a well-made compost is rich smelling and properly crumbly when handled, it is not soil and shouldn’t be used as such. 

Top dressing is the proper effort to make when combating environmental stress upon your lawn’s topsoil by amending it with fresh soil. Fall landscaping packages from Mirage can combine the benefits of aeration, fertilization and top dressing for a beautiful lawn come spring.

Top Dressing, How It Is Done

A properly performed top dressing begins with a thorough power raking of the dead thatch in your lawn. Thatch is not only unattractive dead grass, it physically blocks fertilizer salts, allowing for them to be run off by rain or sprinkler water.

Then we perform what is called a core aeration. This aeration punches slits into the earth to allow for air to reach the roots of the grass, and, and also reverses the effects of soil compaction. This step is critical because the coming soil addition needs to be worked into the lawn and these voids will become loosely filled by the new soil.

A thin layer of nutrient rich soil is then applied to the lawn, more in areas that have demonstrated higher stress due to traffic or pet deposits. The new soil can also be applied in greater concentration to build up low spots where water pools. Then the power rake is reapplied to ensure the new soil becomes one with your lawn.

Come spring, with a clean up, feeding, and regular lawn maintenance, your grass becomes the envy of your Calgary neighbourhood.

Year-Round Landscaping Services from Mirage

Mirage Landscaping has provided professional Calgary lawn care and maintenance services to our customers for over a decade throughout every season. Our commercial and residential lawn care and maintenance plans include year-round care of your property.

Learn more about us with a free quote, and schedule us for fall landscaping services.


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