After a summer of hard wear and periods of dry weather your precious lawn deserves a helping hand so that it can recover this autumn. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your lawn for the winter and make sure it is thick and healthy for a really green start next spring.
Keep the surface clear
If fallen leaves are a problem in your garden try to remove them from the lawn as regularly as possible. If you wait until all the leaves have dropped, your grass will be fighting for survival under a cold damp blanket of moist, rotting vegetation. Try to do the job at least weekly throughout autumn to avoid any problems of disease. A rake, besom broom or mechanical collector will help you collect the leaves for your compost heap. Alternatively choose a lawn mower, which will do the job quickly and easily.
Rake the surface
If you have left the grass box off the mower during the summer or you have a hover machine which doesn’t collect the grass cuttings, then a layer of thatch will have formed on the soil surface. Not only does this layer prevent rain water getting through but it prevents grass plants from spreading and encourages diseases.
There are plenty of tools which can be used to remove this thatch - a spring-tine rake, ordinary garden rake or a mechanical raker. A couple of weeks before you carry out this scarifying, check for moss invasion and treat this with a product that contains a mosskiller such as EverGreen Autumn 2 in 1. If you don’t treat the moss with a suitable mosskiller before raking it out, you may inadvertently spread the spores around the lawn and make the problem worse.
Help the water penetrate
Compaction is one of the biggest problems with lawns. But aeration in autumn will quickly help to strengthen the grass by improving drainage. Drive a fork or other spiked instrument into the top few inches of soil to allow rain and air to penetrate more deeply and at the same time relieve any compaction.
Without help, vital rainwater may run off a dry lawn and be wasted. A hollow-tine fork is ideal for the job because it takes out several plugs of earth to a depth of about four inches. These wide air channels not only relieve the packed-down effect created by pathway walking or children’s feet playing, but also aerates the soil. September is the best time to practice this deep spiking, followed in the spring with shallow pricking with a slitter aerator or solid-tine aerator.
Feed the lawn
After the constant mowing of summer, the grass deserves a feed before the onset of winter so that it is strong and green. Choose a special autumn fertiliser which contains balanced nutrients and some slow release nitrogen. Scotts Lawn Builder Autumn Lawn Food is well known and so is EverGreen Autumn 2 in 1. EverGreen Autumn also contains a useful mosskiller to get rid of any moss that may have returned now that autumn rains have soaked the soil. Whichever product you choose, apply it according to the directions and you will be rewarded with a greener lawn this autumn and in spring with a lawn which is sturdy and refreshed, ready for another summer’s use.
Use the right spreader
If you have a large lawn, then applying lawn feed granules is quicker and more accurate if you use a wheeled spreader.
For medium to large lawns, you can choose from EverGreen Easy Spreader + or Scotts EvenGreen Drop Spreader. They have variable settings for use with a wide range of granular lawn treatments and grass seeds and are the best choice for even results.
If you have a very large lawn, orchard or paddock the Scotts EasyGreen Rotary Spreader produces the widest spread obtained from a domestic lawn applicator with variable settings.
Repair bare patches
Drought, hard wear and animal abuse are all causes of dead patches in a lawn. So is the scalping of the surface by a mower which is set too low to avoid the bumps. Whatever the cause, re-seeding the area during the autumn may be the best remedy. The procedure is simple: Prick the surface of the patch with a garden fork to a depth of 1 inch, and then rake the soil to form a fine seed bed. Scatter grass seed evenly over the area and then cover with a thin layer of moist compost or sifted garden soil. Pat down the area with the back of a spade and then water regularly. There are various mixtures of EverGreen grass seed available for different parts of the garden or you can use EverGreen Lawn Repair Kit to repair these bare patches.
If all the above looks too tricky and time consuming, you can quickly repair unsightly patches of dead dried grass using Miracle-Gro Patch Magic. The unique seed, feed and coir mix will fill any patch and even changes colour to let you know when it needs watering! Or, where dogs have caused the bare areas, repair the damage with Miracle-Gro Patch Magic Dog Spot Repair.