Getting your lawn ready for autumn
Good Grief! To think that summer is nearly over already. It seems to have only just started!
As soon as the children are back to school, it’s well worth thinking about preparing your lawn for autumn. While the soil is still warm, you can take the opportunity to repair any damage done over the summer, re-seed any bare patches and make sure that the lawn is well fed and able to fend off disease.
Repairing summer damage
Beneath the paddling pool, where the gazebo stood and under the garden chairs there are likely to be patches of weak or dead grass. You may also be able to see a flattened path where you’ve walked every day to hang out the washing or water the greenhouse. These are the little places that you can easily fix.
First of all, give the lawn a good cut. Even if it’s not grown much lately, trimming off the stalky bits will make it look better instantly.
Next, peruse the list below and see which of these tasks need doing. You may not have any weeds in your lawn and if the sward is good and thick it won’t need overseeding. But all lawns can benefit from aeration in late summer and a good feed is an absolute must.
It’s not unusual for weeds to appear in a lawn over the summer period. The seeds get blown in on the wind or dropped by birds.
If you only have a few weeds, I’d be inclined to dig them out by hand or to spot treat them with glyphosate gel.
If you’re renovating a lawn, now is the time to decide whether you need to call in a company for some expert chemical weed control, or whether to dig it all up and start again.
This is a big job that really will improve your lawn in the long term. Hollow tine aerating lifts out little plugs of turf and soil and allows air to get to the grass roots. It keeps the roots healthy, and if you need to improve the soil under your lawn you can follow aeration with topdressing.
Aerating is especially important on lawns where the soil is compacted by lots of usage and/or if you have a clay soil that gets waterlogged in winter.
You can hire a mechanical aerator for not too much money or you can buy a manual version for less than £20.
Topdressing is a simple way to even out lumps and bumps on the lawn. It helps to prevent thatch forming and it stimulates root growth.
All you do is spread a thin layer (up to 1cm) of a specially blended sand/soil mixture over the lawn and brush it down into the roots.
It’s best done on a dry day otherwise you end up with a muddy mess.
If you’ve just finished aerating the lawn, this will fill the holes left by the machine and improve drainage
Now is the best time of year to tackle those bald bits or areas where the grass is thin. A tired lawn can be completely regenerated by overseeding and it needn’t cost much at all.
Mow the lawn really short, then rake out as much debris as you can. You need to see bare soil and you need to scuff up the surface.
Choose the right sort of grass seed for your lawn and simply sprinkle it on top of the soil. Gently water it in and keep moist until the new plants are growing strongly.
Overseeding also works really well if you do it immediately after topdressing.
ALL lawns will benefit from an autumn feed. Be sure to choose the right formulation of fertiliser. A spring-summer lawn feed will most likely cause disease if it’s applied in autumn. Always use a low-nitrogen autumn-winter lawn feed and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
Autumn feed helps the grass plants to withstand winter frosts and that’s pretty important in Scotland! It will also strengthen the root system so that your lawn will be in better condition next summer.
Trim those edges to give a professional finish and get ready to rake off any autumn leaves as they fall.