How To Look After Your Lawn During The Autumn
In autumn, after the action your lawn sees during summer, your grass might be looking a little worse for wear. However, don’t worry, autumn is the best season to reinvigorate your lawn. The soil is still warm enough to encourage new growth ready for next year, and there are plenty of tools to help you achieve perfection, as we explain in our autumn lawn care guide.
Lawn Care Top Tips
Your lawn may need a bit of extra TLC throughout the autumn months as the cold sets in. Now is the time to watch out for changes in the weather, any signs of disease in your grass and prevent any weeds from taking hold.
Watching The Weather
Autumn weather is increasingly changeable. One day it is warm and dry, the next it is cold and raining. Whatever the weather, you can give your lawn a helping hand with these three tips:
- Aerate your lawn to improve drainage on rainy days
- Cut back overhanging branches to make the most of the winter sun
- Give your lawn a drink during dry spells
Weeds are a big problem for lawns, but there are plenty of ways to tackle them without causing more damage:
- Use a specific weed killer to target weeds but leave grass healthy
- Dig out larger weeds such as dandelions and refill the soil, adding grass seeds if necessary
- Scarify the lawn using an electric lawn rake to remove moss, thatch and other debris
- Feed and aerate the lawn to encourage more growth
- Mow less frequently to encourage the grass to grow thicker
Thatch is made up of old grass cuttings and other organic material that has settled on top of new grass blocking sunlight and moisture. If left for too long thatch causes problems with the grass below, limiting its growth and potentially exposing it to disease.
To de-thatch or scarify your lawn, all you need to do is rake over your grass with a spring tine rake or, for an easy method, use a Flymo Lawn Rake Compact 3400. De-thatching removes the dead material leaving your grass in prime condition for the winter.
Flymo Lawnrake Compact 3400
Removing Fallen Leaves
Like thatch and moss, fallen leaves prevent sunlight from getting to your lawn and can also make the soil boggy. Leaves fall throughout the autumn months so it is important that you keep on top and remove them while they are dry. You can use a spring tined garden rake to remove leaves but a garden vacuum or leaf blower like a Flymo GardenVac 2700 will speed the process up considerably. Once you have collected your fallen leaves, make the most of them by adding them to the compost heap or making leaf mould.
Flattening Out Lumps
A lumpy lawn makes mowing much more difficult, so flattening is a good idea. The method is simple:
- Use a spade to cut out the section of turf over the dip
- Lift away turf and place to one side
- Fill the dip with enough soil to make a small mound
- Replace the section of turf
- Firm by treading
The small mound of soil will gradually sink and become level with the rest of your lawn. However, it is important not to overfill the dip, leaving a mound in its place.
Relieve Lawn Compaction
Over the summer months, your lawn may become compacted due to all the activity taking place on top. Children’s play areas and grass pathways are particularly susceptible as lots of feet compress the soil below. This may cause your lawn to thin and even become bare as the grass roots struggle for air and nutrients.
Lawn compaction is an easily solved problem. All you need to do is aerate your lawn like this:
- Use a garden to push down into the lawn
- Pull the fork back to slightly lift the turf
- Pull the fork back out
- Repeat every 3 or 4 inches
Autumn’s wet weather brings with it the potential for disease so be on the lookout for any symptoms that your lawn isn’t too healthy. These might include:
- A bald patch in the grass
- Mushy stems
- Fine white threads visible in the soil
Treating a disease before becomes widespread is vital. You don’t want to have to replace the soil as well as the turf, after all! Use fungicides to kill off any infection and remove any infected soil. Use fresh soil and grass seeds to revitalise the area.
Lawn Care Products
Taking proper care of your lawn is made easier with the right tools to hand. If the purpose of the garden is to enjoy it, why wouldn’t you make it as easy and pleasurable as possible? .
The rake is a basic piece of garden equipment which is perfect for scarifying your lawn, removing fallen leaves and spreading top dressing too. There are various types of rakes, but a spring tine rake is perfect for scarifying.
The easiest way to scarify your lawn is with an electric rake like the Flymo electric rake. This rake works similarly to a pedestrian lawn mower, so all you have to do is walk it around your lawn. Any moss, thatch or other debris is collected in the collection box.
You could use all sorts of different methods for aerating your lawn but the garden fork is an obvious choice as it’s likely you’ll already have one in the shed.
Pedestrian Lawn Mower With A Rear Roller
It may be a bit of a mouthful to say but a pedestrian lawn mower with a rear roller is a multi-functional tool, perfect for every garden. These lawn mowers are perfect for adding stripes to your lawn. The roller can also be used to gently roll your lawn after top dressing and seeding.
Lawn Edger And Grass Trimmer
You could use a spade and a plank of wood to edge your grass, but using a lawn edger like the Flymo Contour XT will really speed things along. Simply guide the edging wheel along the edge of your lawn for better results achieved with much less effort!
Autumn Lawn Care FAQ
What Is Scarifying?
Scarifying is the process used to get rid of unwanted moss and small garden debris from your lawn. You could use a rake, but it is much easier to use an electric lawn rake which does all the hard work for you. It gathers the moss, thatch and leaves into its collection box for easy removal.
How Do You Aerate A Lawn?
Once you have scarified your lawn, aerating it allows vital nutrients and water to get to your grassroots. The process is straightforward: use a garden fork to plunge holes in your lawn every 3 or 4 inches until the whole lawn has been covered. There are other tools on the market, such as aeration shoes and mechanical aerators, but this old-fashioned method is the cheapest.
How Do You Create A Straight Edge?
If your lawn has overgrown and started to lean into your borders, you can redefine your edges using a plank of wood as a guide for your spade. Move along the edge of the grass methodically, taking the plank with you as you go. For greater speed and ease, try using a Flymo Contour XT for perfect edges. If your lawn edge is curved, this is certainly a much easier method.
When Should You Apply Top Dressing?
Top dressing should be added after you have scarified the lawn or if you are looking to top it up with new grass seed. You should always leave around 75% of your grass leaf visible so only add a centimetre or so of the top dressing of your choice. Use a rake to gently spread it over your grass and then scatter grass seeds over the top.
What Is Over-Seeding?
Once you have scarified your lawn to remove moss and thatch, add extra grass seed to prevent moss growth. Lawns that are thicker with plenty of grass blades growing closer together are less susceptible to moss and other pests too.
When Should You Roll A Lawn?
Unless you have a cricket pitch for a garden, you won’t need a heavy roller for your lawn. In fact, all you need is a pedestrian lawn mower with a rear roller. Rolling firms the ground so it is a good idea to roll a lawn after applying a top dressing and seeds to help them bed in.
Should You Fertilise The Lawn In Autumn?
Yes! Nitrogen is vital to your lawn’s growth but the extra cutting throughout the summer will have deprived the soil of this natural resource. Autumn is a great time for lawn feeding as you reduce the frequency of mowing. Make sure you use an autumn lawn fertiliser which is high in phosphates and potash to help strong roots grow. If you have a problem with moss, you could try using a fertiliser that contains moss killer to get any areas that were missed during scarification.
Should You Reduce Your Mowing Frequency Through Autumn?
Definitely. As the weather turns colder, you should allow your grass to grow a little bit longer than usual. This will help to protect your grass from moss growth as well as other pests during the winter.