How should you care for your lawn as autumn approaches? September is the best time to treat your lawn for all kinds of problems. Follow this easy how-to guide, and your lawn turf will be set up for spring next year!
1) Stop feeding
Yes, really. It’s time to stop applying summer fertiliser to your lawn now. Any more nitrogen-rich feeding will encourage soft growth that will be prone to infections as well as frost damage.
Scarifying means raking your lawn, either with a lawn rake, or an electric scarifier. This will remove the thatch, the under-layer of grass, which consists of dead grass, moss and so on. Its removal will allow light and moisture to get to the grass roots, making it healthier. (Do not scarify newly laid lawns)
Spiking your lawn with a garden fork at regular intervals improves the drainage, which in turn improves the health of the lawn turf, and makes it less likely to succumb to fungal diseases. If your soil is very heavy or waterlogged, it is worth using a hollow-tine aerator every few years, to remove plugs of soil, and really make sure the water can drain.
4) Top dressing
The Royal Horticultural Society recommends top dressing in autumn with a mixture of three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part compost or leaf mould, at a density of 2-3kg per square metre, worked in well with the back of a rake. This will help improve the soil, and encourage strong roots.
5) Correcting lumps and dips
If your lawn suffers from large dips and bumps, now is a good time to sort that out. Use a spade or an edging tool to slice through the turf in the dips and gently lever it back. Loosen the soil underneath, and then add more topsoil where necessary to fill in the dip. Carefully replace the turf, pressing down the edges, and water it to encourage the roots to grow.
6) Re-turf any struggling areas
You can buy turf from turf suppliers in small amounts for patching, and it is well worth doing this now, before winter, to give your new turf a chance to establish itself over winter. Have a look at our quick guide to patching for more advice.
So there you have it, a quick guide to autumn lawn care. Not all of these tasks will be necessary every year, by any means, but most lawns will benefit from all of them sooner or later. If you bear this list in mind during September, and be ready with the tools if your lawn looks like it could do with a helping hand, then your grass will reward you richly come spring and summer next year.