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Fixing Dusty Topsoil

By Elizabeth Knoll ; Updated September 21, 2017
Dried, clay soil

Dusty topsoil is a common problem in the average yard. The root of the problem is most likely compacted soil. What happens is the top layer of soil will loosen up from the underlying compacted soil and blow around in the wind. Seeds won't germinate in this loose, dusty soil because their roots can't penetrate into the compacted soil below. Once you amend the soil and restore it to a healthy condition, you'll be able to get grass or plants to thrive in it and your dust problem will abate.

Break up the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Turn it over with a shovel if it's a small area and rototill it if you have a large area to amend.

Spread 2 inches of organic matter (equal parts peat moss, manure, shredded bark) across the soil. Rototill or hand mix the organic matter into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.

Rake the dirt smooth to remove any bumps and lumps. Spread a small amount of slow-release fertilizer over the entire area and rake into the top 1 or 2 inches of soil.

Plant your grass seed or other desired seeds and keep the seedbed moist until the seeds germinate. Once the plants take hold, you should no longer have a dusty topsoil problem.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Garden rake
  • Organic matter
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Grass seed or other seeds
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Garden hose

Tips

  • Adopt a regular fertilizing schedule to keep your plants healthy. As you mow your grass or continually plant new plants, their dead counterparts will release organic matter into the soil, which will continually improve it.
  • If you soil is heavy clay, mix 1 part coarse sand for each 1 part clay to improve drainage.
  • Don't drive heavy machinery or vehicles over the area. This will compact the soil again and you will have to start the entire process over.