Investing time in autumn lawn care will pay dividends next spring and summer. September/October is the perfect time to breath new life back into your lawn. With the warmth of the summer sun still held in the soil and the moisture in the air, it means changes and repairs made now have time to bed in before temperatures drop too low and the growth stops.
Not all lawns are equal and the soil type in your garden plays a big part in its ability to stay healthy and in good condition. Heavy clays are prone to compaction but will keep a lawn greener for longer in hot, dry weather. Grass on sandy, free-draining soil withstands more wear but without irrigation yellows more quickly in dry weather.
So before tackling autumn lawn repairs, cut the grass with lawnmower blades set low to expose areas of weak growth. If you need to top dress or oversow, mow your lawn twice in different directions to catch any grass blades laying flat on the soil.
Choose which maintenance jobs you need to do to your lawn as they are best done in logical order. Begin by dealing with mounds and low spots on your lawn, then scarify, aerate, top dress, feed, kill weeds and moss and, finally, edge.
Dealing with low and high spots
Bald patches that are created by the lawn mower catching mounds and dips in your lawn during the season need to be treated. Cut an ’X’ across the affected area and use a spade to slice under and fold back the turf. Fork over the exposed earth, add or remove more soil as necessary, then firm and check the grass level before closing the turf, tamping it down and watering well.
Scarifying (thatch removal) and aerating
Scarifying is the process of giving the lawn a vigorous comb with a spring-tined lawn rake as it removes dead grass and moss, breaks up the soil surface and divides the tufts of grass, encouraging fresh growth. For larger lawns an electric or petrol-powered scarifier will do all the hard work for you. Call us on 01403 700743 or email us for more information on electric or petrol-powered scarifiers.
Parts for your lawn will have had to deal with varying amounts of use. The soil on play areas, paths and direct routes across lawns often becomes compacted and airless with grass roots becoming shallow and then unable to find enough nutrients and moisture for good growth. Using a garden fork, push into the grass 15cm (6in) deep, spaced 15cm (6in) apart across the lawn to aerate the problem areas. For larger lawns contact us for advice on the best make and model to use to aerate your lawn.
Next month: advice on feeding, topdressing, overseeding and edging your lawn.