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Autumn Lawncare Guide

Autumn Lawncare Guide

September is often cited as the month to prepare your lawn for the coming winter but, with 2018's  scorching hot summer showing no signs of abating you may wish to delay any autumn lawn preperation until some substantial rain has fallen to avoid over stressing your alreadty delicate grass.  

A diligent regime of maintenance and preparation in the latter half of the year will pay dividends with a healthier lawn come the spring. The main tasks can be broken down as follows:

Aerating

Aerating (or spiking) a lawn improves the flow of air and water down into the all-important root zone.
A lawn that is properly aerated is far better able to cope with the extremes of drought and waterlogging - both of which have been features of this years weather.
Smaller areas  can be spiked with a simple garden fork but for larger lawns a spiked sorrel roller such as the SCH model here is far more efficient. Sizeable lawns will require a large, towed sorrel roller such as this.


Aerate with a fork

Scarifying

With the passage  of time established lawns can build up levels of thatch (horizontal grass stems, moss and assorted debris) at soil level. This thatch stops nutrients and water reaching the grass roots, weakening the lawn and encouraging the growth of weeds and moss.
Scarifying a lawn involves using a rake or blades to break up and extract the thatch, encouraging new and rigorous grass growth. Smaller areas can be scarified with a simple hand-held spring tine rake but  larger areas will require a specialised wheeled scarifier such as these examples from John Deere and Apache.

Newly scarified areas will initially look like you've destroyed the lawn, but rest assured the grass will spring back surprisingly quickly. Try to avoid scarifying in spring if possible, when you will be better off with just a light raking to remove any dead grass from the winter

 

Scarification

Top Dressing

Top dressing involves the application of loam, organic matter, and sand onto a lawn to improve the  soil and to smooth out any uneven areas. Top dressing encourages rooting and helps to thicken the turf. An average top dressing mix is made up of three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand, and one part compost or leaf mould. Apply the top dressing at 4-6lbs per 10 sq. ft. and work will into the lawn with the back of a rake.