Autumn is one of the best times to be tending to your lawn. Especially if you want it to look it’s best the following season.
Matt Adams, Founder of The Relentless Gardener has shared a few tips on what tasks you should do in Autumn and just as importantly what you shouldn’t do.
First let’s look at what you should be doing in Autumn
Rake and Remove Leaves
Chances are, you’ve got deciduous trees above the sward. As the leaves start falling, be sure to rake and remove them from your lawn. A thick layer of leaves will stop the, gradually reducing sunlight from getting through.
Airflow will also be blocked and potentially lead to fungal diseases and dead patches on your grass.
Aerate the Soil
If you haven’t been aerating the soil in the Spring or Summer, then Autumn is an ideal time to do it. The process means you’ll be creating small holes in the soil to improve air, water, and nutrient penetration.
There are different types of tools you can use such as hollow-tine or a simple garden fork. While it can be tedious on large lawns, a bit of aeration goes a long way. It reduces soil compaction and promotes better root growth for healthier grass.
Scarify & Overseed at 25g per m2:
Getting rid of thatch that has built up during the warmth of the Summer needs to be removed and Autumn is the perfect time to do so. After that, if your lawn has bare patches or thin areas, consider overseeding at 25g per m2.
Overseeding involves spreading grass seed over the existing lawn to fill in gaps and promote denser growth. Cooler autumn temperatures and consistent rainfall provide near-perfect conditions for seed germination.
Feed the Lawn:
Apply a slow-release, fertilizer that doesn’t contain too much nitrogen. Matt recommends a product analysis of approximately 10-5-10 +2% MgO (Magnesium) with 30% slow release nitrogen for your Autumn Feed. This helps strengthen the grass roots and provides essential nutrients that will support photosynthesis for healthy growth during the cooler months.
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper application rates.
Mow at the Right Height:
When mowing in the autumn, adjust your lawn mower to a slightly higher setting than you would in the Spring and Summer.
Thus, avoid scalping it too low, as it can stress the lawn – more on this below.
Apply Moss Killer
Moss can thrive in damp Autumn conditions. Applying a moss killer such as iron sulphate will help to keep it green while killing off any protruding moss.
Remember to consider your specific grass type and local climate conditions when implementing this as recommendations may vary.
So, that’s the ‘do’s sorted, but what about what you shouldn’t do?
Here’s what you shouldn’t do to your lawn in Autumn
While it’s important to keep your lawn hydrated, avoid overwatering during autumn. As the temperatures cool down and the growth rate of grass slows, excess moisture can promote fungal diseases.
Adjust your watering schedule to match the changing weather conditions and only water when necessary.
Although fertilizing your lawn is definitely beneficial, avoid applying excessive amounts of fertilizer during autumn.
Late-season fertilization can stimulate new growth, which may not have enough time to harden off before winter.
Overfeeding can make the grass more susceptible to damage from frost and cold temperatures. Follow the recommended application rates and timing on the fertilizer package.
Don’t Cut the Grass Too Short:
Avoid cutting the grass too short at this time of year. Scalping the lawn stresses the grass and makes it more vulnerable to cold weather and weed invasion.
Maintain a moderate mowing height and avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time.
Don’t Ignore Weed Control:
Autumn is a crucial time to address weed issues in your lawn.
Weeds can compete with grass for nutrients and space, so it’s important to control them before they have a chance to spread and establish deeper roots.
Consider using appropriate herbicides or manual removal methods to tackle weeds effectively.