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September is THE month for autumn lawn care


Mowing


Mow less frequently during autumn, and raise the height of cut as the growth rate of the grass slows down. This will help the lawn to withstand the last of the warm, dry weather, and also keep it resistant to treading as the wet weather arrives.


Feeding

You can harden your lawn up for winter by applying an autumn lawn feed, which is high in potassium. Do this after scarifying and aerating but before applying a top dressing. Do not give summer feeds that are high in nitrogen as this will only result in weak, soft growth, which will be prone to disease in the autumn weather.


Lawn Aeration

Ideally, now is an ideal time to aerate the lawn When experiencing prolonged dry conditions and drought, aeration is recommended. This will improve the passage for water and nutrients to reach the lawns roots when watering is limited.



Lawn Scarification


Overtime your lawn will suffer from a build-up of organic matter eventually forming a ‘Thatch Layer’ on the surface of your lawn. Thatch mostly comes from grass clippings and any other dead or decaying mater. If this is allowed to build up it will have a damaging effect on your lawn, as it will weaken the grass and encourage the growth of both moss and weeds.

The only way to remove this layer is by scarifying your lawn, this is a physical process of removing thatch from the soil surface. To do this by raking is a strenuous and physically demanding task. You might well consider getting someone in to complete this process and I would always say it’s money well spent. As well as removing thatch and dead moss, scarifying will also prune the shoots of the grass plant which will encourage stronger growth.

Scarification of your lawn is a vigorous process, and after the thatch and moss has been removed your lawn may look far worse than before the scarification for a short while before your lawn recovers.


It is important that the scarification of your lawn is only carried out at the correct time to enable your lawn to fully recover. Deep scarification is best carried out in the early Autumn whilst there is still enough growth for your lawn to recover. It is normally carried out as part of your Autumn treatment and is almost always done before Overseeding and Top Dressing takes place. You would not want to enter the winter months with a thin sward that has not had enough time to recover, as this would be an open invitation for disease problems or moss invasion.



Soil improvement


Loam and sand top dressings are usually applied at a rate of 2kg per sq m (4.5lb per sq yd), working them into the lawn with a stiff brush or the back of a garden rake. If the proprietary product you use has specific application instructions, then do follow these closely.



New lawns

This is an ideal time of year to create new lawns from turf or seed.


Troubleshooting

Rectify summer damage by repairing a patchy lawn with turf or seed. Any brown patches caused by drought will quickly green up by themselves when the rain comes and the temperatures fall - usually towards the end of the month. Good autumn lawn care will do much towards solving patches caused by problems such as fungi (e.g. fairy rings), moss and weeds. These problems usually develop on lawns that are already weakened by poor conditions - waterlogging, drought and compaction, for example.


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