At the end of the summer, your lawn may have had a lot of traffic and be in need of some care and attention to take it through the winter months. It is important that you take some steps now to prepare for the cold, wet months ahead. Below are some autumn lawn care tips to keep your lawn looking healthy and get it ready for the next spring.
How often should you mow your lawn in Autumn?
This very much depends on the weather although temperatures will more than likely be falling by September. Keep your blades high so as not to expose the roots to the sun as we can still experience warm weather in early autumn. You should be able to keep it down to every fortnight at this time of year as the growth slows.
WHEN TO SCARFIY YOUR LAWN IN AUTUMN
It is a good idea to get this done in the early autumn, so that you are prepared for wet weather. It entails removing the thatch from your lawn that has built up over the summer. Thatch is just a build-up of growth underneath the normal growth of the grass. Grass spreads by sending out side shoots or ‘runners’ and it is this that can build up near the roots. To remove the thatch from your lawn, give it a good rake getting right down to the roots and then just throw it into your compost. Alternatively, if you have a Mantis tiller, you can use the dethatcher attachment.
AERATING YOUR LAWN IN AUTUMN
Once all the thatch has been removed, aerate your lawn by making small holes in it uniformly with a garden fork. This will allow air to penetrate into the soil and will also increase the lawns drainage, something that will probably be very important during the winter months. Using the aerator attachment with your Mantis tiller will make this job much quicker and easier.
Autumn Moss Control
If you are finding there is a moss problem on your lawn, treat it with a moss killer (always follow the manufacturer’s instructions). A liquid killer applied from a watering can is probably best and will turn the moss black. You can then rake it out. Once you have cleared the moss, throw some grass seed down to repair any areas left bald by the moss killer.
hOW AND when TO APPLY AUTUMN LAWN FEED
You will need to use an autumn lawn feed or fertiliser from the end of August onwards, which is high in potassium and phosphates. This will strengthen the grass, as opposed to a spring lawn feed that is high in nitrogen to encourage lush growth. Using a good autumn lawn feed now will strengthen the roots and enable it to survive through the winter in a healthy condition, ready for the spring.
Prior to feeding your lawn, ensure you have removed any moss from under trees or bushes (see section ‘Autumn moss control’) and don’t start work on it if there has been a period of drought during the summer – wait until there has been a good bout of rain and the lawn is growing again before treating it.
Leaves will start to fall now so you will need to keep removing them off the surface of your lawn. Leaving them to pile up for a length of time, can be detrimental to the health of your lawn and lead to bare patches in the spring. Get into the habit of clearing them once or twice a week. You can pop them into your compost as they make a fantastic carbon addition to your mix.
Alternatively if you don’t have a composter or compost heap, putting them directly onto your soil under trees and shrubs as mulch will protect the soil and will insulate the roots of plants during the winter. They can also be turned into leaf mould by either placing them in a pile or into a container and then used to enhance your soil. A fast way to do this is to place the leaves into plastic bin bags with small air holes in. This will produce leaf mould in around 6 – 12 months as opposed to a couple of years in a heap.
the effects of Autumn weather
There are a number of weather conditions during the autumn/winter months that can adversely affect your lawn. Here are a few tips for protecting against more common weather conditions:
- Cover the ground around the base of shrubs and trees with mulch or bark to try to prevent the frost from permeating the ground and damaging the roots.
- If snow falls, it isn’t necessarily going to do any damage to your lawn. However, snow mould can sometimes occur once the snow has melted. This usually occurs in areas where snow has been piled up for long periods such as at the side of paths that have been cleared or where a snowman has sat for a while. It is grey in appearance and occurs in round patches, which turn brown as the ground warms up. You can try to prevent it by doing all the things described in this article as well as avoiding piling up the snow and ensuring that the grass is short before the snow falls, as snow mould spores like lush grass to breed in. If you do suffer from it, you can kill it off by covering the area in polythene (solarising it) to kill the disease off. However, the affected grass will be killed so it will be a case of reseeding these areas once it has cleared up.
- Frost will more than likely occur during autumn and winter months. Avoid walking on the lawn when it is frosty as, although frost itself doesn’t harm the grass, walking on it whilst its frosty will damage the blades by rupturing the leaf cells
- Aerating will provide better drainage for your lawn and help to prevent standing water during heavy downfalls.
- It may be worth considering installing a drainage system if your garden is prone to flooding.
- Severe winds combined with frost can dehydrate your lawn. Unfortunately there is little you can do to prevent this except to ensure you have scarified and aerated the lawn in the early autumn so that moisture and oxygen can still find their way to the soil.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our autumn lawn care tips. Following these few short guidelines will help to ensure that you get the best from your lawn at the latter part of the year and make sure it is lush and healthy by the next summer.