Garden soil

Asked March 9, 2018, 6:06 PM EST

We have an above ground garden that we will be dismantling this spring. Rather than haul the soil away I would prefer to use it on my existing lawn by "spreading" it as a type of top dressing where I can do some over-seeding. Are there downsides to doing this? Are there other considerations I should be aware of?

Carver County Minnesota turfgrass top dressing

1 Response

Thank you for the question. When top dressing a lawn it is important to use a material that is reasonably weed free and of the same texture or coarser than the existing soil it will be dressing. This is to prevent the creation of a layer on top of the existing soil that prevents water and air from entering the soil. Different soils have different pore spaces that allow more or less water and oxygen to pass through. Clay has very tight pores that greatly slow this transportation. Sand has the opposite characteristic. A very fine top dressing has the effect of sealing the native soil off, so often times, course sand or compost is used for top dressing. It should be applied no thicker than 1/2 inch to avoid excessive shading of existing grasses. If your raised bed soil meets these requirements, it should be fine to use.
The following publication contains more information in detail: