Top dressing and the power of organic matter Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, March 09, 2021 05:00 AM

Adding organic matter to a lawn or professional turf is arguably the most beneficial, natural soil treatment that science has to offer for lawn care. By returning soils to this natural process and applying ¼” to ½” of screened, highly microbial compost from your local professional organics recycler, you’re restoring the soils to their natural state. Compost top dressing will provide optimal soil water usage and storage, reduce runoff, restore soil structure, and deliver long-lasting biological power.

A professional-grade top dressing compost can hold up to six times its weight in water, dramatically improving the water retention capacity in the soil. You still need to water your lawn, but frequency and duration may be reduced as more water is made available for your grass. Colorado soils contain 1.2% organic matter on average. By rebuilding the soil to a 4-5% organic matter level, the USDA target organic matter for soils, you’re increasing the water retention rate fivefold.

Technology for top dressing continues to improve as more spreaders, blower trucks, and trailer/truck conveyor attachments are available on the market, allowing for compost top dressing application to be a marketable choice to meet homeowners’ growing demand for a sustainable lawn care option.

The benefits are powerful. Certain microorganisms in compost help to suppress common plant diseases, while others are hostile to plant-parasitic nematodes. Negatively charged ions on compost retain nutrients through electrostatic forces, delivering more food to your turf. Microorganisms also convert nutrients into more plant-available forms. Turf treated with compost quickly becomes thicker and stronger and experiences more vigorous root growth in as quickly as two weeks. Because compost helps maximize turf health, your lawn will be able to resist disease, drought and heavy wear more effectively.

Top dressing with compost in the spring and fall is an easy add-on to your arsenal of services for homeowners, HOA’s and athletic sports complexes. This application is the best natural alternative to chemicals and is safe for animals and people right after applying. An even larger benefit is that you’re restoring the soil to its natural, more resilient state. With each compost application you continue to improve the soil, increase the quality of the turf, reduce the amount of water used, and eventually provide a healthy lawn that can support itself naturally with only one annual compost application. Bonus, compost application can green up lawns sooner than a normal seasonal cycle and keep grass green longer into the fall, extending your annual maintenance schedule for clients.

Clinton Sander is the Marketing Manager for A1 Organics. A1 Organics recycles nearly a half a million tons a year of organics and is proud to be the organic waste solution for a more sustainable Colorado.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Communicating with employees about COVID vaccines
Mitigating stress as a business owner: Cindy McCord
Mitigating stress as a business owner: Matt Hiner
Landscape Career Pathways continue, though smaller due to pandemic