Experts and BHG readers answer.
If my lawn is deteriorating do I need to spread topsoil over the lawn and reseed again?
You are likely correct to peg your grass-growing woes on sandy soil. Sandy soil dries out quickly and doesn’t hold nutrients well. Little water combined with almost no food severely stresses a lawn. The grass you seed on such a site never has a chance to get established. To improve sandy soil, spread compost or topsoil over the existing lawn. A thin layer will help, but several inches would be better. Mix the compost or topsoil into your existing soil by rototilling it into the top 6-8 inches. Leaving a distinct layer of good topsoil on top of the poor, sandy soil will prevent grass roots from penetrating deeply into the soil. When reseeding, use a variety of grass tolerant to dry conditions. Your local seed supplier can recommend a cultivar for your area. Turf-type tall fescue may be a good choice for midlatitudes (the Transition Zone); buffalograss or crested wheatgrass for the Great Plains.