Top Dressing FAQs

It’s fall in southwest Michigan…a time when lawns are being put to bed before the first big snow, leaves are burning, and the mower deck has been replaced with a snow thrower. Fall in southwest Michigan also is the ideal time to think about repairing or renovating your lawn. In the fall, services like topdressing, overseeding, aeration, and lawn leveling can prepare your yard for the coming growing season, starting right now. Topdressing (or top dressing) is one way to get started!

What Is topdressing?

According to, topdressing is a sand or prepared compost soil mix applied at ? to ? inch depth across the surface of your lawn. The term “topdressing” also is used for the process of applying the organic compost material. Topdressing can be used to fill holes or level your lawn. It may also be used following seeding to help seeds establish starting growth. Topdressing may protect windswept areas from desiccation or the drying out of the soil. This is how Mother Nature intended our lawns and plants to get their nutrients through the biology in our soil, NOT from man-made chemicals that destroy the microbes in our soils.

When Should You Topdress Your Lawn in Southwest Michigan?

You can top dress at any time during the year, but in Southwest Michigan, topdressing is typically done in the spring or fall and usually after aeration to obtain the quickest insertion into the soil profile. We use aged leaf compost predominantly. As a general rule to, we recommend top dressing with compost at least once a year along with core aeration.

Several factors may determine the frequency of aeration and top dressing application:
* The amount of usage that a lawn gets
* The health of the soil of the lawn
* The number of applications of compost tea or organic soil correcting fertilizer

Heavily used lawns and unhealthy soils will benefit from more frequent applications.

Why is Topdressing with Compost so Effective?

Natural is best! Using aged leaf compost provides nutrients and microbes to feed and revitalize your lawn over an extended period of time. Topdressing increases your soil’s water retention and is the best slow-releasing soil amendment that contains everything your soil needs to thrive.

How is Compost Topdressing Applied?

If needed, your lawn will be mowed to 2 inches (the ideal height for top dressing) before application. We’ll then spread an even ? inch of our aged leaf compost topdressing to your lawn using our specialized ECOLAWN 250 Duel Spinner Top Dresser for even coverage. For quick activation, we recommend aeration before and watering the lawn well after for the next two days. Watch this quick video of our cool Big Blue Spreader (other guys are doing this by hand for an inconsistent and clumpy coverage).


Nature’s Cure is the only company to offer topdressing using this equipment that guarantees a uniform layer of dressing on your lawn.

  • For maintaining your lawn: Our recommended top dressing rate is 1 cubic yard over 2,000 sq. ft. of lawn
  • For renovating your lawn: We recommend 1 cubic yard over 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn
  • For repairing holes or divots in your lawn: Repairs or leveling require differing combinations of top soil and top dressing; we will work with you to determine the proper amounts.

What Material Should You Use for Top Dressing?

We recommend you use only high-quality screened aged leaf compost for topdressing your yard. REMEMBER aged compost doesn’t have an odor so it can be used anytime or anywhere.

Aged leaf compost has a fine crumbly structure and a homogenous texture. It must be well-screened and have a high content of stable organic matter to work fully. The compost we use has been lab tested and meets our requirements. We have found for efficient and easy application the compost moisture level should be at around 50%. Any dryer and take longer to break down; any wetter and it’s possible for the mixture to rot.

KLS compost soil

We partner with KLS Landscaping for our aged leaf compost for top dressings. KLS’s leaf compost has been lab tested and analyzed for fungi and bacterial components and meets our specifications.

How Much Does Topdressing Cost?

Compost topdressing costs are usually calculated by the area to be covered. As an example, for lawns under 5000 sq. ft. that use up to 2.5 yards of leaf compost it is $210 per application. For lawns 5,000-10,000 sq. ft. with up to 5 yards of leaf compost it is $370 per application.

We’ve found that improving soil health with compost topdressing applications to feed the soil will greatly improve your lawn’s health, and diminish weed pressures.

If you want a better yard, naturally, call Nature’s Cure with CleanAir LawnCare for your top dressing, composting, overseeding and aeration needs.

Call 269-501-9254 or visit our website to learn more