well cared for lawn

Ideal Lawn Care For Autumn

Autumn has recently been gaining favour with gardeners as the benefits of the moist, nutrient-rich soil come to light[i], but it’s essential not to neglect your lawn when you’re wrapped up in planting all those warm soil loving bulbs. On average, British people spend almost two months of their lifespan mowing the lawn[ii]; however, it seems that many people stop as soon as summer ends. Although the days are getting colder and inside is becoming more appealing, autumn lawn care is important to help prepare it for winter and guarantee its health going into next year. Luckily for you, we have just the guide that will see you and your lawn from September through to November – and you’ll be glad to know it’s not as much maintenance as you might think. Have a read through our advice to get ahead on your lawn this autumn.

Scarify The Lawn

Scarifying is the process of raking the thatch (the yellowing patches) from your lawn. Thatch is a layer of dead stems, leaves and roots that, if left to grow too thickly, will block water and fertilizer from getting to the grassroots. This will lead to the eventual death of the grass and is likely to damage the soil too, so it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. Autumn is the ideal time to scarify the lawn because you can rake deeper than you can in spring, when all the grass seed requires delicacy so as not to stunt the growth. Since the grass will have matured and grown stronger by autumn, you won’t have to worry so much about being too careful.    

To scarify your lawn, all you have to do is:

  • Take a rake and rake it over your entire lawn in one direction to remove the upper bit of loose thatch.
  • Follow this with another pass over going in the opposite direction – you should find that the thatch is looser this time around.
  • If you have a particularly thick growth of thatch, pass over it with the rake one more time. A bit of thatch is beneficial to your lawn, so try not to go over the top when scarifying.
  • Dethatched thatch can be added to a compost bin, picked up with a lawn sweeper or thrown away.

Even It Out

With people and animals constantly going over your lawn in summer and parts of your garden being slowly neglected, it can become uneven very quickly. If you have bumpy sections of your lawn that you want to get rid of, autumn is the best time to even it out. Flattening the ground is in your best interest as winter approaches because uneven earth will likely result in dry areas or flooding when the harsh rains come in.

For particularly rough bits, take a spade and cut off the excess soil until it hits ground level. Fork out any compacted areas to break up the dirt and spread it out evenly across the lawn.

Trim The Edges

Overgrown edges can make an otherwise perfect lawn look unkempt and ragged, with odd clumps of grass expanding into surrounding borders and pathways to create a cluttered environment. Simply trim back any overgrown edges around the lawn using a pair of shears until they are neatly back at ground level and in line with the rest of your lawn. Ideally, this should be done after each mow of the grass but keeping on top of it throughout the autumn will encourage the proper growth in the coming months. Collect the grass trimmings and dispose of them either in the compost or biodegradable waste bin.

Aerate

The soil of your lawn becomes compacted over time, which reduces the flow of essential nutrients that support thicker, healthier grass and decreases healthy circulation of air and water. Aerating your lawn will allow the water, oxygen and vital nutrients to perforate clumped up grass or growing thatch and encourage that fresh, healthy grass to spring up in its place. Your grass is likely to struggle without aeration due to the lack of these crucial elements, plus the fact that heat and lack of rain will cause grass to die quicker without aeration, so it’s an important aspect of your lawn care.

To aerate your lawn, you have to create multiple small holes deep in the soil, and there are several ways of doing this. The most readily available would be to use a garden fork – spike the surface to at least 4 cm, wiggle it around a little and then pull it back out. Repeat this around your lawn. Alternatively, you can get aerating products that will do most of the grunt work for you – they are available in several different formats, including spike, slicing and core.

Add Some Top Dressing

Topdressing is a mixture of sand and good quality topsoil, and it smooths and levels the surface of your lawn, improves the condition of the soil and nurtures strong root development. Although it’s not essential, top dressing is recommended to encourage a healthy lawn that will last through winter. Topdressing is readily available online and in garden stores. Apply no more than 1 cm to your lawn and then spread it evenly with the back of a rake, focusing mainly on working it into the aeration holes so it can get to the roots.

Apply Autumn Lawn Feed

During autumn, your lawn requires a different kind of feed than it does in summer. Autumn feed contains different phosphates and potash, which helps protect your grass and ensures that the roots will continue to grow strongly through the harsher winter conditions. Feeds used for spring and summer are packed with nitrogen to encourage top growth, which is easily damaged by frosts and unbeneficial for the colder months. Spread the feed evenly across your entire lawn to prevent any damage – you could use a lawn spreader for this to ensure an even application, but it’s not essential.

Lawn Aftercare

Now that your autumnal lawn care is complete, you can mostly sit back until spring rolls around, safe in the knowledge that your lawn is ready to take on the coldest months of the year. There are some things to remember once you have treated your lawn for autumn though, and this aftercare is important to the overall health of your grass in the long-term so, whenever the weather is playing fair, try to keep on top of these things.

Overseed Any Patches Or Worn Areas

Get the fresh grass seed down now for it to start growing and be ready for next spring. Germination should take between 7 – 21 days if the conditions are right, so the closer to the beginning of the season you get fresh seed down, the better.

Don’t Go Mad On The Weeding

Pulling out weeds too harshly could damage the protected roots and most chemicals used in weed control products are likely to harm the grass. Weeds will be declining in growth in autumn anyway, so they’re not something you really need to worry about.

Rake Often

Rake your lawn regularly throughout autumn to get rid of the fallen leaves. Although they may turn lovely shades, autumn leaves often attract unwanted pests into your garden, suffocate the grass and can cause flooding in bad rainfalls. Add raked up leaves to your compost heap.

Avoid Walking On The Lawn

Once you have added the top dressing and lawn feed, avoid walking on the treated grass as this can influence the effect the products will have on your grass and could potentially ruin it. Also, avoid walking on your lawn when it is frosted over because this will damage the grass

General Maintenance

Throughout autumn, you should continue general maintenance on your lawn, including things like:

  • Mowing
  • Fertilizing
  • Watering
  • Removing debris
  • Scarifying

Getting Ready For Next Year

Although autumnal lawn care is much more lenient than in summer, it doesn’t mean you should completely abandon it all together. Keeping on top of the general health of your lawn through the colder months will promote a healthier growth through the next year, so you’ll be able to enjoy your lush grass for months in summer with only a bit of work right now.

Got any questions about looking after your lawn this autumn? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see what we can do!

  [i] https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/garden/plants/a34070218/autumn-gardening/

[ii] https://www.prolandscapermagazine.com/almost-two-months-of-our-lives-spent-mowing-the-lawn/

 

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