After a long and mostly wet summer, we got some use out of our gardens when the sun was out! However, it is time to start preparing our lawns for winter with some autumn lawn care. Autumn is a good time of year to begin lawn treatments. Soil temperature is still warm enough to stimulate grass growth but less than in summer. Below are our tips on how to maintain your lawn this Autumn.
Autumn lawn care treatments
The treatments that your lawn needs, depends greatly on how much wear and tear it went through over the summer months. If you have children or pets (the foot traffic is constant) then it is highly likely that there will be a great deal of treatment required.
Scarifying lawn in autumn
The first step is to scarify your lawn. This is when you take a rake and basically rake your lawn to reduce the layers of thatch. Thatch is all the debris like dead grass and old moss that can prevent water and fertiliser from penetrating the roots of the grass.
Trim back lawn and bed edges
Over Spring and certainly Summer, the edges of your lawn may have gotten a tad overgrown. Again Autumn the perfect time of year to trim all the edges. For edges in beds where the soil is neatly trimmed but the grass has grown over horizontally, use lawn scissors to cut back the grass. For edges that are not straight use a piece of wood and use it as a giant ruler with a spade and trim along for a perfectly straight edge.
Flatten and roll flat uneven areas
More often than not with kids and pets running around and playing on the lawn. There are areas that have been neglected and become uneven. For areas that are particularly bumpy, you should use a half-moon edging iron (or a spade if you don’t have one) and shave the ground level. Once you have done this aerate the soil underneath and relay turf level to the rest of the lawn. Dips/troughs in the garden should also follow this process until the whole lawn is level.
Aerate your lawn
Aeration is one of the foundations of having a well-maintained lawn. Aerating is essentially spiking the lawn to allow for more air and nutrients (including water) to get to the roots of the grass. Aeration will also help your lawn survive through more extreme conditions such as waterlogging (any Winter in Ireland) and or drought.
Fork compacted areas
The heavy traffic areas of your lawn will likely be very compacted. It will need forking to break up the soil and improve the drainage when the rain starts to pour. When undertaking this step, ensure that you push the fork between four and six inches into the ground to get the proper aeration and drainage.
Apply a top dressing
Once the lawn has been flattened and aerated, it is the ideal time to put some top dressing down. Topdressing improves soil structure and encourages strong root development, this helps to support a healthy lawn. Spread the lawn dressing evenly over the grass with the back of a rake, working it well into the holes created by spiking.
Apply autumn lawn weed and feed product
Once your lawn has been treated and is in pristine condition. The next step is to spread lawn feed to ensure that the roots are still growing strong throughout the winter. The fertilizer you use for Autumn should be different to when preparing your lawn in the spring. These products are best applied using a tool such as a lawn spreader to ensure even application. Autumn lawn fertiliser tends to be high in potash and phosphates which will better protect the grass from frost and icy conditions. High Nitrogen spring/summer feeds will encourage top growth, which is soft and easily damaged by frosts, which is not ideal for autumn lawn feeding.
There are a couple of things you can do to help the health of your lawn following your autumn lawn care. Not to state the obvious but avoiding walking on the lawn. If you have areas of your garden that you need to get to in the winter then please think about this beforehand such as building a pathway or putting down stepping stones.