How to Top Dress Your Lawn with Compost?

What is top dressing a lawn?

A top dressing is simply an application of materials that are spread over the surface of the ground or over your lawn. The purpose of this layer is to amend the soil and let the grass grow through the top dressing material. The most common types include: compost, mulch, peat moss, fertilizer, manure, and other organic matter. These can be applied directly to the turf grass itself or mixed into existing soils before planting new plants.

Benefits of Topdressing a Lawn

There are many benefits that come from top dressing a lawn. Some include:

  • Improves soil structure
  • Increases water retention capacity
  • Adds nutrients to the soil
  • Provides an ideal environment for beneficial insects

The Benefits of Topdressing Your Lawn with Compost

Composting has become more popular in recent years as people have realized the benefits of adding organic matter back into their gardens and yards. It’s also becoming easier than ever before, with many companies offering easy-to-use kits that make it simple for anyone to start making their own compost pile.

Compost is an amazing fertilizer that has many benefits when used in your garden or yard. The process of making it from kitchen scraps and other organic matter is simple enough but requires some planning ahead. If you are new to backyard composting,

Composting has been around since the beginning of time, and it’s still one of the most effective ways to improve your garden or yard. It works by breaking down organic matter into smaller particles so they will become more available to plants. This makes them easier for roots to absorb nutrients from. The end result? A healthier plant!

We will give you tips for each stage of the process, as well as help you understand what compost is.

Composting not only helps to keep our environment clean, but it also saves us money by eliminating the need to purchase fresh soil for gardens or plants when we run out of dirt in terrariums. It’s similar to recycling, however it doesn’t have to be limited to the home.

The Benefits of Topdressing Your Lawn with Compost

What Is Composting?

Composting is the process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable feed that can enrich soil and plants. Composting gives ideal environments for decomposing organisms such as worms and sowbugs to do their work, which speeds up the process. Compost is the result of the decomposing matter that ends up looking like fertile garden soil. Compost is often referred to as ‘black gold’ and can be used for gardening, agriculture, and horticulture.

In small-scale community composting systems and industrial-scale composting facilities, organic discards can be processed. Composting is a great way to generate a beneficial soil amendment while also keeping your organic waste out of the landfill.. Which is what this guide focuses on.

How Does Composting Happen?

  • Carbon (C)
  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Moisture
  • Oxygen (O2)
  • Microorganisms

Microbes work in three stages to create compost in the presence of oxygen and water. The length of the process depends on how involved you are, the size of your pile, and what you put into it.

The right balance of ingredients allows the growth of plants to break down carbon and nitrogen so they can release oxygen into the atmosphere. The more water you have in your soil, the more greenery will grow.

The process of composting takes anywhere from a few months to three years, according to Daily Gardener experts. If you want to get your lawn and garden in shape quicker, there are many steps you can take.

Composting is an important part of living a sustainable lifestyle and can help your garden. Here’s how to do it.

How Does Composting Happen?

Stage 1: Initial organic decomposition

The materials begin to break down in the first stage when organisms live in moderate temperatures. The internal temperature of the pile is going to increase over the course of a few days.

Stage 2: Complex organics break down

The second stage begins when the temperature goes too warm for mesophiles.

The higher temperatures allow thermophiles to efficiently break down complex carbohydrates into fine particles. Depending on the conditions in the compost pile, stage two can last several days or months.

Stage 3: Break down

The mesophiles are able to resume control of the process again when the temperature of the pile starts to go down. After breaking down the organic materials, mesophiles allow them to mature into compost.

Composting involves three stages.

  • Temperature 68 – 113°F 113 – 252°F 68 – 113°F
  • Microorganisms Mesophilic Thermophilic Mesophilic
  • The length of time is between five and ten days.
  • The processes occur when materials are broken into small pieces.

Why compost is the best top dressing for a lawn

It can be finely screened, which means no large swaths of it on your lawn after it’s been spread.

The turf is easy to distribute over.

Over time, the balance of macro- and micro-nutrients is slowly released.

The compost has a neutral or neutral pH.

Compost contains beneficial microbes that help feed your grass. The microbes digest the organic matter in the compost and release it into the soil. There is a layer of dead grass stems at the base of the plants. The job microbes digest the grass clippings that come out of your lawn mower and return them to your soil in the form of growth-fueling nitrogen is very important.

Purchasing compost in bags, or buying a truckload from a landscape supply yard can be relatively inexpensive. Where I live, many of our local municipalities give away leaf compost that’s made from our local leaf collections for free.

Compost can be bought by bag or truckload for top dressing lawns. It may be possible to get it for free from your local government.

What is Brown Material for Compost?

What is Brown Material for Compost?

Brown material can be anything that has been used in the home. It could include paper, cardboard, plastic, and even rubber items such as gloves or shoes. If you have a lot of these materials lying around your house, then they are perfect to use when making compost. You will need about 1/3 cup per pound of brown material. This amount varies depending on what type of soil you want to make into compost.

What is Green Material for Compost?

Green Materials consist of fresh vegetable matter such as leaves, vegetables, stems, fruits, etc. These green materials can be used alone or mixed with other types of organic waste like paper yard trimmings, grass clippings, food scraps and animal manure. When using green materials, you want to make sure that they have not been treated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any chemicals. If this has happened, then it will kill all living organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and worms.

Understanding the Materials in a Compost Pile

Depending on their makeup, brown or green materials can be classified in compost piles.

Materials for composting 101:

Compost has a light, fluffy body because of brown materials that provide energy to the organisms in a pile. Wood-based items include dried leaves, branches, stems, sawdust, tree bark, shredded newspaper, corn stalks, wood ash, and pine needles.

Waste materials that are green are nitrogen-based. They provide the necessary ingredients for the organisms to function. Nitrogen-rich green materials include manures, food scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings.

A simple thumb rule is to make sure the compost pile contains 1/3 green and 1/3 brown materials.

Composting outside can be done in a variety of ways. There is a significant difference in how and where you stack your materials. Composting in the backyard can be done in a variety of ways.

The process of Piling is easy to understand. There is a pile of materials that are turned to aerate.

There are either open or enclosed bins that hold compost. The partial structure of open bins allows for aeration while keeping materials confined. You can add materials on one side and turn the pile on the other side.The smell and sight of a compost pile can be eliminated by enclosing the process in bins.

The tombs are a form of enclosed compost bin that is very efficient. Tumblers are cylindrical in shape and include a handle that allows them to be easily spun or tumbled.

Vermicomposting uses red wigglers to break down the materials and is a variation of composting. Composted kitchen waste is the main focus of the program, done in a specialized worm bin.

Depending on their makeup, brown or green materials can be classified in compost piles.

Steps to Build a Simple Compost Pile

Creating a pile in the yard is the most convenient way to compost. If possible, place it in a dry, shady spot close to a water source.

You can expose the bare soil in your yard or garden by clearing a space.

A base layer of straw or twigs is what you should build. A few inches can help with good drainage.

One by one, the brown and green components will be composted.

Start decomposing with a nitrogen source. Some gardeners add nitrogen to their soil.

The pile should remain moist. It’s best if the materials are damp, but not so much that you can’t squeeze the water out.

Turning the compost pile every couple of weeks will warm up the centre of the mound. Aeration helps the composting process by giving oxygen to the organisms.

What Materials Can be Composted?

  • Vegetables and fruit peel.
  • Coffee 
  • Eggshells
  • Tea
  • Leaves
  • Wood
  • Shredded paper
  • Soiled cardboard

What materials are not allowed to be composted?

  • Meat, dairy, bones, and animal waste.
  • Foods rich in fat and oil (i.e., mayonnaise, peanut butter, salad dressing, or vegetable oils)
  • Feces (animal or human)
  • Garden waste treated with pesticides
  • Garden waste from sick plants
  • Weeds
  • Plastics (even biodegradable ones)

Do’s and Don’ts of Composting can be found here.

The balance of brown and green materials in a pile will affect how quickly the process can be accomplished. Keep in mind the following “do’s” and “don’ts” if you want to speed up how quickly items are decomposing in your compost pile.


  • All materials should be chopped into small pieces.
  • If you live in a wet climate, cover the top of the pile.
  • If your brown ratio is too high, you need to add nitrogen.
  • Adding crushed eggshells will increase the calcium in your compost.


  • The top of the pile is a good place to keep food waste.
  • Plant tissue, roots, and pesticide-laden plant matter shouldn’t be in a pile.

Materials to Avoid in Your Compost Pile:

  • Chunks of meat and bones.
  • Dairy products
  • Fats and oils
  • Pet waste
  • Raspberry brambles
  • Large sticks or branches
  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Leaves or twigs from black walnut trees

When is compost finished?

When is compost finished?

The compost stops producing heat when it passes through all the phases. The smell should be more earthly than the original organic materials. The compost should not look the same as the original organic materials. If you see large pieces of organic matter that have not been broken down, it’s likely not ready. There are bigger items that take longer to break down, such as wood chips.

An infrared thermometer is the best way to know if your pile is finished. The temperature will climb from roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the bottom to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the centre. When this occurs, the pile is regarded ready to be used. Then you can add extra material to speed up the decomposition process.

Additional Information

The first step in building a good compost heap is to find an area where it will not freeze during the winter months. If possible, choose a spot with plenty of sun exposure so that moisture does not accumulate on cold days. The ideal temperature range for composting is between 55°F and 120°F. A thermometer placed at different points around the pile will help determine when temperatures reach this level.

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