No matter how diligent you’ve been with your lawn over the summer months, come autumn it’s likely to be looking a little tired, pale and worn out. This is because it has used up most of the nutrients in the soil, as well as suffering wear and tear from children making the most of the summer weather by playing in the garden.
Start preparing your lawn for winter in October - November. Clear any fallen leaves off the lawn and if needed give it one last cut, keep the blades high, just trimming the tops off. If left too long light will be blocked from the base of the grass stems and it will likely turn yellow.
Spike the grass with a garden fork to increase drainage and get some air to the roots. If you have the time.... and energy... it is best to brush some sand or horticultural grit into the holes to prevent them from closing up again. Hollow tine aerators are quite useful as they remove a plug of soil with each hole.
Now you’re ready to use some special autumn lawn food which will help strengthen roots and kill moss, and will give you a beautifully green and lush lawn come spring. You can usually find a product that comes in a ready to use spreader pack, or if you have a big lawn it may be worth investing in a wheeled lawn spreader, not only more accurate but far quicker! If you do kill the moss make sure you rake it out after it has turned black - Never rake live moss, this simply spreads the spores and will give you more of a moss problem.
If you have bare patches caused by summer weather and activities or the removal of moss, now is the time to treat them. You can get special patching kits which have all you need in to do the job, such as compost, seed and fertiliser, or you can buy a bag of good quality top soil and some grass seed and simply follow the instructions on the seed pack to ensure you get the right coverage and don't over-apply the seed, as this can cause weak growth.
Try to keep people, and pets, off the area until the new grass has established. You probably won't need to water much as moisture levels are usually higher at this time of year, but keep an eye on it and water if it looks like it may dry out.
Now just sit back and watch as over the winter your lawn will remain strong and come the spring time you will have a lovely lush green lawn growing back with no patches!