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Taking care of your lawn during Autumn

Date posted: 24 October 2013

When autumn arrives, check your lawn for signs of post-summer wear-and-tear and, if necessary, apply treatments to help restore it before winter sets in. September is usually a good time to do this – when temperatures are still milder, giving grass the chance to respond while it's still growing. Once temperatures drop, grass growth stops and your lawn will not respond as well to any treatments. As your lawn's growth slows, you will also need to adjust mowing frequency and raise the cutting height of your mower. Watch the weather and let that guide you, because this affects the lawn's growth rates.

Here are some of the top tasks to carry out in the autumn in order to keep your lawn in great condition:

Clear away any surface debris

Remove fallen leaves and any other plant debris from your lawn, otherwise these will cause it to turn brown. A thick layer of moist, rotting vegetation smothers the lawn and harms the grass, while at the same time offering winter shelter for garden pests that could do further damage.

Scarify the surface

This process involves removing the dead layer of grass and any grass clippings that have built up during the summer, potentially getting in the way of new growth when the spring arrives. If you spot any moss, apply a moss killer before you start scarifying.  If you don’t treat the moss before you rake it out, you may inadvertently spread moss spores across your lawn, exacerbating the problem.

You can scarify manually using a rake with spring tines (a splayed head), but you will need to do it vigorously for it to be effective – which is hard work and time consuming! For larger lawns it makes sense to use a powered scarifier such as a petrol scarifier, which you can hire from garden tool hire centres. Work the machine across the lawn in the same way as you would a mower, and cross the lawn in two directions to achieve the best result.

Aerate (or 'spike') your lawn

This process involves making holes in the lawn to help deliver fresh oxygen to the lawn's root system, encouraging them to grow deeper. It also helps to prevent the ground from becoming compacted, and improves the overall drainage.

If you have a small lawn (or a lot of time!) you can simply use a garden fork, making even holes (pushing down as deep as possible) across the lawn's entire surface. Alternatively, rent a lawn aerator or spiking machine from your local garden tool hire centre.

Top-dressing

Once you've aerated, apply a top-dressing by brushing it across the surface of the lawn so that it fills the holes, allowing air and water into the lawn. Top-dressing is a blend of loam, sand and well-rotted organic matter, and you can buy ready-mixed bags from garden centres. It will improve the soil texture, correct surface irregularities, and encourage better rooting and a thickening of turf.

Feed your lawn

Apply an autumn lawn fertiliser to replace lost nutrients . Make sure you buy a product tailored for autumn application, as this will contain a different mix of the relevant nutrients (high in phosphates and potash) to one you would buy to use in spring. This helps strong roots to grow, which produces healthy grass.

Reseed sparse areas

Drought, summer wear and harsh mower settings can all cause dead patches in a lawn - as can pet urine. Autumn is the time to re-seed these sparse or bare patches. All you have to do is prick the surface of each patch with a garden fork to a depth of one inch, and then rake the soil to create a fine seed bed. Scatter the grass seed evenly over the patch and cover it with a thin layer of moist compost. Using the back of a spade, gently pat down the area and then water it regularly.

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How to hire?

Best at hire is your local tool hire centre. We stock a wide range of tools and equipment for hire.

Collect from your local store or have your item delivered direct to your door. UK Wide delivery available.

To hire Call 0344 288 8088 or hire online today.

Need to speak to an expert or have a question? Call us today; our hire team is waiting to take your call.

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