Should You Use Sand On Your Lawn?

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Golf courses are known for their greener-than-green, perfectly manicured grass. And if you’ve been to one, you may have noticed a layer of sand on links. But unlike those professionally maintained grounds, most people don’t have their own landscaper or groundskeeper, and, as a result, want to take matters into their own hands.

But will putting sand on your lawn make it the greenest grass on the block? Or will it ultimately do more harm than good? Here’s what to know.

When to put sand on your lawn

The practice of spreading a layer of sand on your lawn — sometimes referred to as “topdressing” — can have some serious benefits for your grass, provided it is done correctly. According to RHS-trained gardener Simon Clifford, some examples include:

  • Improving the structure of the topsoil
  • Improving soil drainage
  • Providing the soil with nutrients

But Larry Williams, the residential horticulture agent at the University of Florida Extension Office in Okaloosa County, recommends taking a far more cautious approach to topdressing, noting that homeowners should only use it to fill in low areas or bare areas, as a way to deal with a thatch problem, or cover surface tree roots.

When to avoid putting sand on your lawn

Unfortunately, spreading sand on your lawn can do more harm than good in certain situations. For starters, the practice can introduce weed seeds, nematodes, and disease, depending on its source, according to Williams. Plus, it can be easy to put too much sand in lower parts of your lawn, and end up smothering it, he adds.

But beyond that, he says that most homeowners aren’t equipped or able to keep topdressing their lawn with sand on a regular basis. “It can be difficult to evenly spread the sand in a timely manner,” Williams writes. “Homeowners start with the best intentions of spreading the sand consistently and finishing by the end of the day only to find that the job is slow and difficult.”

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