Autumn lawn care
With the temperatures starting to drop and the weather starting to turn, autumn is an excellent time to get on top of lawn care. Lawns may be looking tired and patchy following the summer but with very little effort can be prepared for the onset of winter and ready to start spring looking great.
Scarifying is probably one of the most beneficial jobs and is well worth the effort. If you do just one thing to your lawn this Autumn, make sure it’s to scarify. This encourages fresh regrowth by removing dead grass which inhibits the movement of air, water and nutrients to the roots. With a spring-tined rake, comb through the lawn, removing the ‘thatch’ as you go. To ensure the whole lawn is covered systematically, work in lines, collecting up the that into a wheelbarrow regularly.
Aerating reinvigorates the lawn by decompacting the surface just below the grass and allowing water to drain away more easily so the grass roots don’t rot. Compaction can be a problem in particularly heavily used areas, such as near a play area or under seating. The lawn can be aerated with a garden fork. Push the fork in approximately 100mm and wiggle back and forth to create a hole about 20mm diameterProblem patches need to be aerated every autumn but typical lawns only need aerating every 2-3 years.
Topdressing a lawn with timely graded topdress encourages strong roots, thicker blades of grass and helps regulate and smooth out the surface of the lawn. Apply just after aerating.
Moss in lawns is generally controlled using a variety of products. The traditional way to kill mosses is through using chemicals. If it is just spot treatment then use a trowel to scatter the chemicals onto the area. For larger treatment areas use a wheeled applicator to ensure an even spread. Some will require watering in, so make sure you check before application to avoid any lawn scorch. Mosses thrive in areas of dense shade and in badly drained, low-nutrient soils. Unless addressed, these issues, the moss will become the dominant feature of the lawn.
Autumn is a good time of year to start the restoration of poor lawns. Autum lawn fertilisers are higher in potash to promote strong root development in mild areas over the autumn winter that give the lawn a great start in Spring. Most lawn feeds should be applied either just before rainfall or watered in afterward. Ensure the fertiliser is kept away from borders, paving and driveways as it can stain. In spring, weed and feed is an excellent way to kick start your lawn and capitalise on the autumn feed and moss treatment.
To give a well defined sharpness to your garden, edge the lawn with a ‘half moon’ edging iron. This not only defines the lawn, but it also stops the grass from spreading into your borders and makes clipping easier.
If the lawn is patchy and/or sparse, overseed the areas affected. Lightly fork over and break up the surface and rake to a fine tilth. For overseeding, use half the normal full seed rate. Gently rake over the to cover the seed and if possible roll or gently use the back of your spade. New patches of grass can sometimes look quite obvious, so overlap your seed scattering onto existing lawn to create a more natural blend.