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Top Dressing Your Lawn

Lawn Care Essentials - Top Dressing Your Lawn

So your lawn is, patchy, uneven, and worst of all yellow. It might be time for a change. Topdressing your lawn can be a great place to get started.

It’s a relatively simple task that can have massive results.

What exactly is Top-Dressing?

Top dressing is the technique of adding a thin layer of grow media over your lawn.

Topdressing can be done throughout your lawn, but special attention should be placed on uneven areas.

Top Dressing Benefits

Why top dress? The list below should give you enough motivation to go out there and get the job done:

  • Improves drainage and drought resistance
  • Reduces lawn diseases
  • An increase in pest resistance
  • Decrease in the need for lawn maintenance
  • Increase in nutrient retention                                 
  • Increase in water retention






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When should you Top Dress?

It’s important to top-dress while your lawn is growing. Early Spring or Mid-Autumn is ideal.

The lawn will grow through the newly laid soil in these seasons.

Products for Top-Dressing

There are several products which can be used to top dress your lawn.

Lawn mix can be used to top dress which is a mixture of topsoil, composted bark fines and sand. Sand by itself can also be used, although this will not provide as good results.

Most Auckland Lawns are clay based. Generally a good loamy soil will help improve the lawn condition.

You may wish to add fertiliser to your lawn, particularly in a strong growing season. Find our guide to fertilising here.

How do we Top Dress a lawn?

Before top dressing, you need to prepare your lawn. Lightly mow the lawn (use a lawn mower with a catcher) and remove any grass clippings.

You should consider dethatching your lawn before top dressing. Not sure what thatch is? We’ve covered that for you in our dethatching guide.

Spread the mix in the desired area with a shovel and rake. This will make it easy to spread and allow you to get a good coverage.

Keep spreading the mixture with a rake until the grass peeks through and it is even.






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You should not add more than 2 cm of soil to your current lawn.

If you have any bare patches where grass isn’t growing you may want to overseed.

Overseeding is the process of spreading grass seed that matches your existing lawn.

You will find the quantity of seed to spread on the seed package itself.

Do this after the top dressing is done so you don’t bury the seed too deep.

You will need to keep the soil moist until germination.

After germination, wait till the grass is around an inch in length. The wait will generally be 2 weeks.

Still unsure on how to spread the soil? Here’s a great video showing you how it’s done:

How often do I need to Top Dress?

Top dressing can be done annually or every second year. Only the occasional trouble spots may need reapplication before then.

Any problems to look out for?

Make sure the same top dressing material is used throughout the whole process otherwise the inconsistencies can reduce the lawns drainage.

If there are uneven depths of material across the lawn it can affect the water and nutrients making more uneven spots, creating dry and wet areas.

Topdressing is a fairly simple process. It can really help maintain a lawns level and soil structure. And remember your lawn will always reflect the time put into it.

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