September is upon us and the weather forecasters are predicting an early autumn for Scotland. No Indian summers are predicted for 2017. Just milder temperatures, a few rain showers and some blustery days.
But that’s OK, with little risk of drought it means that autumn lawn care regimes can start now.
It goes without saying that autumn leaves need to be removed from lawns regularly. The leaves starve the grass plants of sunlight making them weak and susceptible to disease.
Autumn Mowing Regime
The experts say that growth will begin to slow this month and you’ll need to mow less often. I’ve not noticed that happening in my garden and I’m still out there every 4-5 days. Mow your lawn when it needs it. If you’re not planning on scarifying or topdressing, start to increase the cutting height a little. Longer grass is more robust in a harsh Scottish winter.
Feeding Your Lawn in Autumn
It’s time to switch to an autumn/winter lawn feed. If you’re scarifying, do that before you feed and the extra nutrients will help the grasses flourish afterwards.
Stewarts Turf Rejuvenator Autumn/Winter feed has exactly the right balance of nutrients to encourage strong root growth. At the same time it won’t encourage the blades of grass to become so lush that they’re susceptible to damage by frost or disease.
Lawn Scarification: Autumn is Ideal TIme
When you see pictures of scarification online it looks brutal. It also looks as though it’s hard work. If you’re doing it by hand using a springtine rake it’ll certainly give you a good workout. Shoulders, biceps, triceps AND cardio.
Having said that scarification can turn an ordinary (or a poor) lawn into something beautiful. It takes out the dead grass and the moss that accumulate on top of the soil. That allows water to percolate into the lawn and drain away quicker. It also gives the roots a breath of fresh air.
Greenkeepers will scarify several times a year. For a lawn though, once a year should be enough. Autumn is the perfect time of year because the grass can recover overwinter and really spring into life next year.
When it’s my turn to scarify, I hire a machine to do it. I’m tempted this year to hire a lawn care company to help. They’ve got the equipment, they’re in better physical shape than me and they do all the tidying afterwards while I provide tea and cakes.
Hollow tine aeration will help with drainage. But don’t do it if the weather is likely to be hot and dry in the next few weeks. There’s a danger that the lawn could dry out.
If you’re bothered by lumps and bumps in the surface of your lawn, it’s a good idea to follow aeration by topdressing. Topdressing involves spreading a thin layer of nutritious but well-draining soil on the surface of the lawn. It will level the surface and improve the soil beneath the lawn.
Watch out For Lawn Diseases
Be on the alert for disease. There’s nothing you can do to prevent it other than keeping your mower blades sharp, not letting the lawn get too long (or too short) and ensuring the plants are well fed. A healthy lawn is better at resisting disease in the same way that a healthy child doesn’t get as many winter colds.
If you spot the signs of fusarium patch disease, frost will normally kill the fungus that causes it. However you can avoid spreading it by disinfecting your lawn mower blades and trying not to walk through infected patches. If you’re really worried – consult your local lawn-care company. They may have a chemical treatment for it (there are none that are licenced for sale in garden centres etc)
Toadstools in Your Lawn?
This blog should tell you all you need to know
In essence, don’t panic, toadstools in the lawn are nearly always harmless. Don’t fry them up for breakfast though unless they’ve been identified by an expert.
Seeding and Turfing
Autumn brings the perfect weather conditions for sowing grass seed or laying turf. So now is the time to repair baldy bits and replace really tired lawns.