How to aerate and top dress your lawn

leighton shearer
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How to aerate and top dress your lawn

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Project Overview

It’s time to get your grass growing again. The best way to do this is to aerate it and apply a quality top dressing to your lawn. Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Mow the lawn
2 Aerate the lawn
3 Pour the top dressing on the lawn
4 Spread the top dressing
5 Water the lawn
  • Step 1. Mow the lawn

    Before we can aerate the lawn, we need to mow it. When you do cut it, make sure it’s not too short or too long, just a trim, leaving the length of the grass at 40–45mm. Don’t leave any grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Step 2. Aerate the lawn

    The idea behind aerating your lawn is to create holes so that water, air and nutrients can more easily get to the roots. It also stops the top layer of the soil from becoming too compacted. Work your way around the lawn in a line with the aerator, making sure nowhere gets missed. Overlapping by up to 50 per cent is also a good idea. If you used a petrol driven aerating machine, you will have plugs of grass and soil on the top of your lawn. You can either leave them to break down or run them over with your lawnmower.

  • Step 3. Pour the top dressing on the lawn

    A bag of top dressing covers about 1–2 square metres. When you choose one, make sure it’s a good quality soil, compost and nutrient mix, with no lumps and clumps. There are two ways to put the top dressing on the lawn: you can load it into a wheelbarrow and shovel it onto the lawn in piles about the size of a pillow. Or you can place the bags on the lawn, cut them open and pour top dressing out in piles. When handling top dressing always wear a dust mask, safety glasses and gloves.

  • Step 4. Spread the top dressing

    Use the back of a steel rake to evenly spread the top dressing across the lawn. You want it to be 1–2cm deep across the lawn and down near the roots, not covering the lawn.

  • Step 5. Water the lawn

    Once you’re happy with the even level and spread of top dressing, it’s time to water it in. You can either turn your sprinkler or reticulation system on or water the top dressing in well with a hose. Once the dressing is well watered in, don’t walk on it or mow it for a week. But when you do mow it, you’ll notice your lawn is healthier, richer and greener.

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Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint Test.
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