What to topdress Bermuda with?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

When it comes to topdressing Bermuda grass, there are a few options to consider. It’s important to choose the right material that will enhance the soil’s biological activity and provide the necessary nutrients for the grass to thrive. In my experience, there are a few topdressing materials that work well for Bermuda grass.

1. Mature compost: This is an excellent option for topdressing Bermuda grass. Mature compost is rich in organic matter and beneficial microorganisms, which can improve the soil structure and nutrient availability. When topdressing with compost, a layer of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch is typically sufficient. This thickness allows the compost to penetrate the soil surface and interact with the underlying soil ecosystem.

2. Sludge-compost mixture: Another option to consider is a sludge-compost mixture. Sludge, which is the byproduct of wastewater treatment plants, can be combined with compost to create a nutrient-rich topdressing material. This mixture provides a balance of organic matter, nutrients, and microbial activity. Similar to compost, a layer of 1/8 to 1/4 inch is generally recommended for topdressing with a sludge-compost mixture.

3. Sand-based topdressing: While compost and sludge-compost mixtures are beneficial for soil health, some turf managers prefer a sand-based topdressing for Bermuda grass. Sand helps to improve soil drainage and reduce compaction, which can be particularly advantageous for Bermuda grass. When using sand as a topdressing material, it’s important to choose a high-quality, well-draining sand and apply it in a thin layer to prevent suffocating the grass.

In my personal experience, I have found that a combination of compost and sand works well for topdressing Bermuda grass. By blending the two materials, you can harness the benefits of both organic matter and improved drainage. However, every turf situation is unique, and it’s essential to consider factors such as soil composition, grass health, and local climate when selecting a topdressing material.

To summarize, when topdressing Bermuda grass, options such as mature compost, sludge-compost mixtures, and sand-based topdressing can all be effective. The key is to choose a material that enhances soil biology, provides nutrients, and improves soil structure. Applying a thin layer of 1/8 to 1/4 inch is generally recommended for optimal results. Ultimately, it’s important to assess your specific turf needs and consult with local experts to determine the best topdressing material for your Bermuda grass.