Top Dressing

Top Dressing, Sand Placement and Sand Banding

Sand plays a major part in any sportsfield, whether on the surface or in a drainage use. Sand is spread to assist in the breaking down of thatch, to help rebuild the shape of a pitch to a true level or to aid in drainage. Alternatively, sand can be injected or placed into the soil rather than being spread.

Top Dressing Guide & Service

Top Dressing - Maintenance Guide

Using our specialist top dressing machines that are specifically designed with fine turf in mind and fitted with low pressure tyres, we can apply any level of sand or other materials to a natural sports surface, depending for which use. As well as sand for surface and sub surface drainage, applications of materials such as lime or fertiliser using top dressers can aid in grass growth. It is essential that the correct grade of sand be used to ensure that your pitch remains in a healthy and fully playable state.


Sand Placement

Placing sand into a soil provides link between the surface and a drainage system. Using Lytag (a natural waste product from coal fired power stations) or sand, the material is placed at around 225mm depth at 1000mm centres using an oscillating blade. The vibrating action of the sand placement machine assists in breaking surface compaction and allows water to drain to the drainage system more quickly than just through the soil itself.


Another aid to de-thatching a grassed area is to slit the surface. A slitter does a quick job of aeration, allows precipitation and irrigation to penetrate the surface and can also help in decompaction. Machines feature triangular blades that create short, narrow slits to aid in this process of air flow and water ingress.

Sand Slitting and Sand Banding

To connect an existing pipe drainage system to the surface, the most popular and successful technique is Sand Banding. The process ensures that surface water can quickly and easily disperse, allowing play to resume more quickly after heavy rain and Grassform are able to offer a complete sand banding service. Spacing of slits is variable and depends on the surface, soil type and sport to be played.

Sand bands are generally dug to a 50mm width, at a depth of up to 400mm so as to connect with an existing pipe network. Specialist disc type trenchers are employed that not only trench the soil out but remove from the pitch. The minimum amount of soil disturbance is achieved, as is minimal cost of backfill materials, which are generally gravel and then sand topped. Both are applied using a one pass hydraulically operated hopper, and are compressed into the slit to reduce settlement. Once completed, sand banding allows almost immediate resumption to play.


Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us

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