Landscape, Garden Design, Construction & Maintenance

Top Dressing

Top Dressing

Usually conducted in the autumn, top dressing is the process of adding a thin layer of sand or sand and soil mixture to the surface of the playing field.

Improving soil quality

Top dressing, particularly if carried out following hollow-core aeration, benefits the turf as it builds up the quality of soil over a period of time making the soil more resistant to drought and improving root development. Another benefit of top dressing playing fields is that the process will help to even out any hollows in the playing surface creating a more readily playable pitch.

There are very few certified / recommended sources for sand for this purpose. It is vital that only this certified top-dressing sand be used for topdressing sports grounds. The incorrect sand will create more problems than it will solve. Other non-recommended sand sources contain silt/small particles, which impede the free flow of water through the surface and will actually cause ponding on the pitch.


Depending on the size of the pitch, an application of 120-150 tonnes (10 tonnes per 1,000 m2) of sand should be applied every year. Topdressing is the best method of stopping the development of an organic layer and that is why it should be done every year. Where it is not done every year, scarification should be carried out to help reduce the quantity of organic matter build up.

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