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Autumn Lawn Care

Autumn Lawn Care 21 Sep 2021

Autumn Lawn Care

How to look after your lawn during the autumn

Autumn is a crucial time for lawn care. It's the perfect chance to tackle and repair signs of wear that have shown up during the summer. You can address issues that could get worse during the colder weather, and treatments have a chance of success before winter comes along and stunts growth. Using proper lawn care practices to get your lawn in shape during the early autumn months lays the perfect foundation for the following spring. Your lawn will be in the best condition to flourish during the growing season.

The lawn care jobs you can do in September can have a high impact. At this time of the year, the ground is soft and dry enough to work with easily. Soil and grass have enough time to respond well to anything you do, too, just before it gets too cold. Below are some of the jobs that you might need to get done this month! All tasks are suitable for all kinds a grassy areas, from small domestic gardens to well-kempt grounds, hard-wearing park spaces, and more.

Clear your lawn

Your lawn can use all the sun it can get in the early autumn months before the short, cold days of winter arrive. To ensure your entire lawn gets as much sunlight as possible, remove any obstructions. For example, you might have outdoor furniture, DIY materials, children's toys, and other objects hanging around from making the most of any hot weather.

Rake the lawn regularly to remove any debris and leaves which may have fallen onto the lawn. This will help to prevent the yard from 'yellowing' due to a lack of sunlight. Doing this can also avoid waterlogging.

Weed, moss & pest problems

Weeds and moss take up space that would otherwise be filled by beautiful green grass and starve the area around them of the vital nutrients in the soil. So, removing weeds and moss is a job you need to schedule if you want your space to look perfect.

Remove large weeds from your lawn with a trowel or small garden fork. Treat any mossy areas with a specialist moss product. Autumn is also a good time to resolve any fungal or pest problems. Any grassy area can suffer from red thread, fairy ring, take-all patch, slime-mould, and lawn lichens. You can read up on what they are and what causes them, so you know how to remove and prevent them in future.

Common garden pests like leatherjackets and chafer grubs are something you might need to be aware of. In addition, you can also look out for worm casts, which are caused by some species of earthworms, and can look a little messy sometimes.

Scarify your lawn

Scarifying helps to remove thatch from the lawn. Thatch is made up of all kinds of nasties, like old grass stems, moss, weeds, and other debris. Unwanted organic matter can look messy and prevent full, healthy grass growth. If a layer of thatch is more than 1cm deep, it can limit water and fertiliser penetration. Scarifying your lawn strips back any unwanted organic matter. It prunes the grass and allows fresh grass seed the space to grow and flourish.

You can scarify using a standard garden rake. Drag a rake with spring-tines carefully but vigorously through the grass to dethatch it. If the area is large, you can use an electric or petrol lawn scarifierYou might find our How to Use a Scarifier blog interesting for more information and a thorough guide.

Aerate your lawn

Aerating improves drainage and allows nutrients and air into the soil. Autumn is the ideal time to aerate because the grass is still growing, and the weather is not too dry, so the lawn has the chance to recover.

An aerated lawn copes better with dry or wet periods. If you focus on areas that become most compacted, your lawn will do much better in a drought and can avoid waterlogging.

You can spike small areas of grass with an ordinary garden fork. Simply push the prongs into the ground, spacing the holes apart by about 6 inches. For a larger garden, you'll find using a petrol aerator much quicker and easier.  A hollow tine machine punches hollow tines into the ground, which remove cores of dirt from the lawn. These cores should then be raked up and collected to keep the area clear.

For more advice on aeration, read our blog, How To Aerate Your Lawn.

Level your lawn

Bumpy and uneven spots of your garden lawn can happen naturally and gradually. But, because it’s a slow process, it can happen without you even noticing. 

The dips of high and low spots can cause problems. These little areas can become hotspots for weeds, moss, trapped moisture, bald patches, hard lumps, and uneven grass. These aren’t the most attractive features of a garden.

Depending on the size of the job, there is a range of tools you might buy or hire to make the project more manageable. For example, garden rollers and plate compactors make the job a lot easier. For an in-depth guide, you might find our blog How to Level a Garden Lawn helpful!

Apply top-dressing, seed & fertiliser

Adding a mix of loam, sand, and compost can correct bumpy surfaces, fill low spots, and improve some heavy soils' texture. If you have used an aerator with hollow tines, a top-dressing fills the holes, allowing grassroots to grow.

If you have scarified, you can then overseed your lawn by spreading grass seed over the entire space, giving special attention to bare spots. You can also feed your lawn with a high-quality autumn fertiliser — low in nitrogen and high in potash. This will help to strengthen your lawn and toughen it up for the harsh winter months.

Autumn fertiliser can be applied any time from September to mid-November. When the weather is fair, the soil is moist, and the grass is dry and frost-free, as these are the perfect conditions for your lawn to recover following the quite harsh processes of aeration and scarifying.