After the blazing summer months, the wet and windy autumn weather can be a bit of a shock for your garden. The cooler weather leads to the moisture hanging around for longer, which can lead to pests, moss, and unhappy lawns. But all is not lost, lawn maintenance is something that you can do in the autumn, so let’s take a look at:
- Keeping your lawn tidy
- To mow or not to mow
- Removing moss from lawns
- The benefits of aeration
- Fertilizer, compost, and feeding
- Dealing with pests
- Seeding and topsoil tips
Read these autumn lawn care tips and see if you can improve the quality and look of your garden for spring…
Taking care of and maintaining your lawns is something you can do all year round, but it’s in autumn when we can do the hard and time-consuming jobs. At this time of year, lawns are generally wetter and the grass slows down in its growth, so there are more opportunities to fix problems too. Here are a few ways you can do some autumn lawn care:
Keeping your lawn tidy
Leaving leaves, sticks, and debris on your lawn isn’t a good idea. Just like any other living thing, your grass needs to breathe and move and have healthy airflow to prevent all manner of illnesses.
Leaving loads of leaves strewn all over smothers it and can cause patches and death. They can also trap water and encourage pests, so rake up what you can and keep an eye on the lawn quality.
To mow or not to mow?
In autumn, grass growth tends to slow down as the temperature cools. The grass shoots start to make use of the moist soil to further their root growth and become more established – that’s one of the reasons why is recommended you sow lawns in autumn and not spring.
As a result of this, you can generally stop mowing your lawn short in early autumn and stop entirely in winter.
Removing moss from lawns
Moss can be a problem in moist areas with little sunlight. And just like leaves, it can inhibit air movements and smother your grass, so it’s important to get rid of it while you can.
Early autumn is the best time to start scarifying (the process of clearing moss) and here’s our guide on how to scarify a lawn:
- Apply a moss killer in early autumn.
- Leave it to work for a few days or weeks until it goes brown and dies.
- Then get a good quality spring-tine rake or scarifying rake and vigorously rake the moss and grass until you’ve removed what you can.
It’s hard work and requires patience and consistency, so if you have a large lawn, then a wheeled scarifier may be a good idea, or a hired mechanical option instead.
The benefits of aeration
Sometimes our lawns can become compacted in the summer. It’s more common when everything dries out and we start running or walking on the lawn in the sun and putting weight on the soil. It means there’s little room for water and nutrients to be absorbed to feed the grass, which is why you might see water collecting on the surface.
Aerating the lawn can help ease the symptoms and repair some of the damage. You can get a hollow tine aerator from most garden centers which will remove small cores of soil from the first few inches down. The idea is to use it all over the lawn systematically to give the soil more room to spread out and therefore increase aeration. In the end, this will result in better drainage and improved grass root growth over autumn and winter.
Top Tip: If you don’t have an aerator, or can’t source one, then use a garden fork instead. It won’t remove the cores, but it will still give the soil some movement.
Fertilizer, compost, and feeding
Just because your lawn has stopped visually growing, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need food to help with its root growth. You don’t need to add compost or anything, but it’s a good idea to throw on some autumn lawn food or fertilizer to help prepare it to fight disease and maintain the color.
Dealing with pests
Just like in summer, there are pesky pests and irritating insects all over our gardens that we need to deal with. They’re most noticeable if birds are pecking at your lawn or if areas are yellowing. These are signs of grubs and parasites feeding on your grassroots. Badgers and foxes like to dig for these grubs as well, so it’s good for your lawn to get rid of them before it becomes too much of a problem. Once they’re all dead and the signs have faded, you can repair the grass patches with patch repair kits or new turf.
You can get the natural pest control and grub killers from most garden centers, just try to avoid the chemical ones in case some wildlife ingests it when they shouldn’t.
Seeding and topsoil tips
Once you’ve scarified and aerated and completed all your maintenance, you need to put some nutrients back into the soil and repair any patches. The best way to do that is top dressing. To do this:
- Wait until the soil is dry so it doesn’t stick to any shoots
- Apply a mix of sand, loam, topsoil, or peat all over
- Brush it into the lawn, getting as much down towards to roots as possible
Some people take this opportunity to add some autumn lawn seed as well to fill in any gaps or thin areas that appeared during maintenance.
There are plenty of autumn lawn care tips for you to follow in these cooler months, and the truth is, lawn maintenance, aeration, scarifying, moss removal and more will all help come springtime.
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