Have outdoor summer parties, backyard cricket and games of football left your lawn looking a little – or a lot – worse for wear?
Autumn is the ideal time to get your lawn looking it’s best. It’s been a long, hot summer and your lawn has probably taken a beating over the last few months, so it would no doubt appreciate some care and attention now. The shorter days and cooler nights of autumn give your lawn a great chance to recover from the high traffic, heat and harsh weather of summer. Right now, your lawn is busily absorbing nutrients, moisture and energy to help it get through winter. You can help this process along and restore your lawn to good health now, and it will reward you with a great display come spring. In fact, autumn is one of the most important times of the year in terms of lawn care, so don’t miss this chance to get your lawn in top shape before winter rolls around.
Not only are the days a bit cooler now, making being in the garden much more pleasant, but with everyone being forced into self-isolation, there’s no better time to get out into your yard. Here you can self-isolate as much as you like, and social distancing is no problem. Plus, it gives you something better to do than endlessly watching re-runs on Netflix. If you’re bored with staying indoors, get outside and use your time productively to get your lawn back into peak condition and the best of health. That way you’ll have something to show when the lockdown comes to an end.
Ideally, you want to have your lawn in top condition by the end of April, so that it can best survive and thrive throughout winter. Follow these tips to help.
Fertilising in autumn is super important, to help replace the nutrients that leached out of the soil during a wetter summer. Autumn is the most important time to feed your lawn, as a lawn running on empty going into winter will quickly lose colour, show more wear and become a target for invading weeds and pests.
The best fertiliser to use in autumn is a high-quality, granular slow-release lawn food, used at the full recommended rate. This will provide a steady trickle of nutrients over several weeks. For even better results, apply a second application of fertiliser six weeks after the initial application, at half the label rates. This will give your lawn a great boost and stimulate deep root growth coming into winter. Make sure you water the fertiliser in well to give your grass every advantage and try not to miss any spots when applying the fertiliser.
Shade can be a problem for your lawn in the cooler months, when shorter days cause insufficient sunlight to reach the grass. To help your lawn out, allow as much sunlight onto your lawn as you can. It’s time for a bit of gardening, so trim back any overhanging trees or shrubs which are shading the grass.
Keep it clear
Autumn means leaf falls, which, while fun to play in, can deprive the lawn of sunlight and energy. Clear your lawn of fallen leaves and other debris as soon as is practical, so that they don’t morph into a slushy mess that suffocates the grass and breeds nasty fungal diseases.
Better yet, use the leaves to create compost, which you can use later on in your garden.
Let some air in
Autumn is a great time to break up any lawn compaction and drive more oxygen, fertiliser and water down to the grassroots. Aerators are inexpensive to hire, or you can do it yourself using a garden fork or aerator shoes to punch holes in the soil.
Mow the right way
Summer’s crazy growth period is over, and the growth of your grass should be slowing down a little, so you’ll need to change the way you mow it. It’s better to leave a bit more length on your lawn now, in preparation for the winter growth slow-down, so raise your mower blades. This helps to insulate the soil after watering and discourage weeds. Check that your mower blades are sharp and in good condition before you mow too.
For more on how to get the most out of your lawnmowing, click here.
While you don’t need to water your lawn as much now that the weather is getting cooler, you’ll still need to monitor the lawn and water when necessary. Warmer days are still lingering around, and if your grass is starting to look discoloured and wilted, it’s overdue for a drink. Try and water in the morning, especially as the weather cools down, to give the water a chance to absorb before nightfall and prevent fungal problems from occurring.
Find out more do’s and don’ts of watering your lawn here.
Don’t let weeds get a foothold
Some of the most annoying weeds you’ll encounter in your lawn, such as bindi, take hold in autumn – so now is the time to get on top of any weed infestations that rear their ugly heads. Fertilising the lawn properly will help it grow healthy and strong and outgrow any weeds that may appear, but you may still find weed infestations developing. If you notice any, dig them out before they really get a foothold, or apply a chemical treatment for larger infestations.
Lay some new turf to hide bare spots
If areas of your lawn are looking worn and tired, it really ruins the look of your yard. Rather than trying to nurse the grass back to health in these areas, it might be best to cut your losses, and just lay some new turf where you need to. Order your fresh turf from Horsham, cut it to shape and carefully lay in place. One tip to keep in mind – make sure you buy turf that matches the grass you already have, or your lawn will end up looking very patchy.
Put in a bit of time, effort and TLC now and your lawn will stay in great shape well into next summer.
Read more about lawn jobs for autumn here.