Once a hurricane or tropical storm has passed and you are surveying your ‘new’ landscape, here are some steps to help restore your yard.
Tallahasseeans love a nice, thick, green lawn. And the only way that is possible is with the base of healthy, rich soil from which to grow. If the latest storm (the severe season is now estimated to run through the end of November) has washed out or torn up your beautiful vegetable garden or landscaping handiwork, consider restoration with the technique of “top-dressing.”
Top dressing is adding a thin layer of soil over your lawn, improving the soil without killing the existing turf. Top-dressing addresses some of the common storm aftermath, including:
• Bare spots from the storm wash away
• Low spots due to rotting tree roots, settling after storm sinks, underground pipe or cable installation, or erosion
• Uneven terrain caused by winter freezing and thawing, water runoff, tunneling critters, or general soil settling over time
• Compacted soil in high-traffic areas or low-lying places where water pools after a flood
• Depletion of nutrients due to leaching, neglect, or repeated use of chemical fertilizers.
When to Top-Dress
Most landowners in our area enlist Top Dressing after the worst of the storm season has passed, and at the beginning of the spring when the new soil and garden can take strong hold. It can be done all at once, by picking soil and compost up from our facility near Silver Lake and working in patches, or having a truckload of the top dressing mixture brought out to your house to work it all at once.
Top dressing involves some physical labor, but the process is really just a few simple steps:
Step 1: Aerate
Step 2: Laying down the high-quality top dressing, topsoil, compost, and landscaping rock – bought in small bulk, an economical option.
Step 3: Apply Top-Dressing
Working a few square feet at a time, shovel out a small mound (maybe 2-3 shovelfuls) of mixture onto your lawn. Spread the soil using something flat, like the back side of a heavy garden rake, working it into aeration holes and covering low spots. Make sure the top-dressing is no more than 1” deep (preferably ½” or less) over the existing grass.
Step 4: Water and Adjust
At this point, you’re technically finished, but in our experience, a good top-dressing mixture does some settling. I would recommend watering the area well (or top-dressing before a nice rain), letting the mixture settle for a day or two, then go back with your rake and smoothing out any little hollows or bumps that may develop.
Step 5: Plant Grass, Flowers, or Vegetables if Desired!
Your choice of the above should be able to grow through as much as an inch of top-dressing.
A Little More About Topsoil
What do I need to know about Topsoil?
Essentially topsoil is good clean healthy soil that has been sifted and screened to remove any sticks, rocks, or other contaminants. While topsoil is not usually infused with fertilizer it is a good rich soil by itself and a wonderful additive to any gardening and lawn planting. We offer rich Mushroom Compost which can be mixed in with your Topsoil for a robust garden or lawn mix!
1. It’s great to improve your overall soil quality:
If you have an area with poor soil quality and want to make it into a good growing area, mix topsoil and compost with the soil that is already there. This works well with clay and sandy soils.
2. For new plants and flowers:
When you place new plants in the ground they need good soil to develop a good root base and growth pattern. Placing topsoil in the hole and around the base of the plant will help with stable growth and provide an ideal medium for starting seeds, cultivating flower bulbs or shoots, and grass seedings. Purchased topsoil is used in vegetable gardens when the existing soil is mostly sand or clay. Additionally, topsoil is used in raised bed vegetable gardens Popular with a new generation of “Victory Gardeners” picture your beautiful bright flowers and tasty, colorful vegetables coming from your very own, thriving garden.
When the rain and extreme weather has passed, here is how we can help you restore your gardens and landscape:
Repairing your Dirt Driveway and Gardens
You can repair your washed out flower or vegetable gardens or dirt driveway with minimal cost, by doing it yourself. You’ll need:
• Dirt or Soil
• Dirt or soil
• Tamper tool
• Mushroom compost and topsoil for the garden
1. Garden: Collect the washed-out plants as soon as possible and place their roots with the dirt still attached, in water.
2. Garden and Driveway: Rake excess stones or debris from the garden or driveway pothole. Use a shovel to further define the edges, firming and straightening as you go.
3. Garden: Re-fill the garden or pothole using topsoil and compost for the garden, or dirt mixed with grave for the driveway. Make holes and carefully place your flowers or vegetables back in and pat the dirt around the roots, stabilizing the plant.
4. Driveway: Press down and compact as you fill, using the back of the shovel or a tamper tool. Fill it to a few inches above the pothole or rut.
5. Garden: Water the area carefully so your plant’s roots may reattach more easily. Driveway: Water the dirt down, continuing to compact it as you do so. This step may require the addition of more dirt-mixed gravel. As you feel the spot firming, walk over it several times.
6. Driveway: Rake the spot, blending in the new mixture of dirt and gravel with the existing soil and stone of the natural driveway.
7. Seal the rut or pothole by driving over it repeatedly with your car or truck. This last compacting should do the trick.