Dialogue with Tim Garceau, Tuxedo Club, April 2006

     I forgot to ask you about topdressing. I did a heavy topdressing ~ 2 weeks
  ago. Whenever I do, no matter what I do I end up mowing up a bunch of sand
  for the first several mowings. It's hell on the machine. Is there a trick
  to doing it and not picking up a lot of sand and destroying the mower, or
  is it just part of the deal?
  I remember you said you did frequent light topdressings. What rate do you
  apply the material? Before mowing do you water it in? Roll it?



Topdressing -

A, when we topdress heavily, we mow as infrequently as possible.
When we do mow, sometimes we water the greens lightly right before, other
times we mow them in the afternoon when they're bone dry. Either way it's
pretty rough on the mowers.
B, We go out every 7 to 10 days with a light topdressing. We used to
go out with Lesco rotary spreaders wide open. The sand has to be
EXTREMELY DRY. Apply it in the afternoon when it's dry, water it in
the night after and you shouldn't have any trouble.


Topdressing the Greens


Topdressed aerated green growing in after about 1 week and a heavy rain.


Info From the Experts


Posed to James Baird, Ph.D., Agronomist, Northeast Region, USGA Green Section, 3-18-04..

I keep 5 greens on my property and am in the process of ordering topdressing for them. Does the USGA have guidelines regarding topdressing selection? Do you think I would be best served with a straight sand, 90/10 mix, 70/30 mix or other?



Hi Phil:

My recommendation would be to go with straight sand since the turf contributes more than enough OM via natural death of plants.  If your greens were constructed with a suitable sand, then it would be best to use the same source.  Otherwise, look for something that falls within our recommendations for particle size distribution.  Another rule of thumb to keep in mind is apply coarser (topdressing) over finer (root zone mix) in regard to particle size to avoid layering.  Hope this helps.


James H. Baird, Ph.D.

Agronomist, Northeast Region

USGA Green Section

PO Box 4717

Easton, PA 18043

T 610-515-1660

F 610-515-1663