A Comprehensive Guide to Aerating, Seeding, and Topdressing with Compost in Des Moines, IA

As we approach renovation season, we thought it might be a good idea to explain a little about Soil Quality restoration and what is involved. Your city likely has funding available to reduce your costs.

As a dedicated lawn care company in the Des Moines area, we understand the significance of maintaining healthy soil for lush, green lawns. Over time, soil can become compacted, nutrient-depleted, and unable to support the vibrant growth your clients desire. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the process of soil quality restoration, specifically focusing on aerating, seeding, and topdressing with compost, three essential steps to revitalize your lawn and achieve lasting results.

  1. Understanding Soil Compaction
    Compacted soil is a common issue that affects many lawns, particularly in areas with high foot traffic or heavy machinery usage. Compaction restricts the movement of air, water, and essential nutrients within the soil, hindering the root development of grass and other plants. Aerating the soil is a crucial first step in the restoration process.
  1. The Importance of Aeration
    Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to alleviate compaction and allow better air and water circulation. This process creates pores for the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil, promoting stronger and healthier turf and soil biology. Late summer and fall are the ideal times to aerate the lawn in the Des Moines area, as the weather conditions are favorable for recovery and germination.
  1. Overseeding for a Thick, Resilient Lawn
    Over time, lawns can become thin and sparse due to factors like weather, pests, and diseases. Seeding helps replenish the grass population, filling in bare spots and enhancing the overall density of the lawn. Select high-quality grass seed varieties that are well-suited to Des Moines’ climate and soil conditions for the best results. After aeration, the freshly created holes provide an excellent environment for the new seeds to establish themselves.
  1. Topdressing with Compost
    Once the soil is aerated and overseeded, the next step is topdressing with compost. Compost is a nutrient-rich, organic material that enhances soil structure and fertility. It acts as a slow-release fertilizer, providing essential nutrients to the grass over time. Additionally, compost aids in moisture retention, which is particularly beneficial during dry periods in Des Moines.

To topdress with compost, follow these steps:

  1. Select high-quality compost: Choose compost that is well-aged, weed-free, and free from any contaminants. Look for compost that contains a blend of various organic materials to ensure a diverse range of nutrients.
  2. Apply compost evenly: Spread a thin layer (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch) of compost over the entire lawn surface. Avoid piling up compost in certain areas to prevent suffocating the grass.
  3. Incorporate compost into the soil: After application, raking compost into the aerated holes and the top layer of soil. This helps in better integration of compost with the existing soil and lets the existing turf poke through the compost.

Watering and Maintenance

Proper watering is essential during the soil restoration process. Keep the newly aerated and seeded lawn consistently moist but not waterlogged. Frequent, light watering is preferable until the grass becomes well-established.

Moreover, regular lawn maintenance practices like mowing at the correct height, fertilizing as needed, and controlling weeds and pests will contribute to the long-term success of the soil quality restoration efforts.


Soil quality restoration through aeration, overseeding, and topdressing with compost is a powerful approach to rejuvenating lawns in the Des Moines area. By addressing soil compaction, enhancing grass growth, and enriching the soil with valuable nutrients, your lawn will thrive and flourish.