No matter how well you look after your lawn, by the end of the summer it’s looking a bit tired and traumatised! Even if you haven’t had a hosepipe ban in your area, chances are some parts of the lawn are a bit scorched. There’s also bound to have been a few too many games of swingball and maybe a barbecue or two that got out of hand and onto the grass. Plus, the grass will have used up most of the nutrients in the soil; so, your lawn needs some serious love and attention before winter sets in.
Start in October and November
Start off by raking up dead leaves, fallen twigs, old pumpkins from Halloween and any other detritus that’s accumulated. Then you should give the lawn its final mowing of the year – just enough to take the tops off the blades to let some sun into the bases so they don’t turn yellow.
Let some air in
With a garden fork, give the lawn a pricking to break up the soil and get some air into the lower layers. If possible, add some grit to the holes to keep them open for a while longer; this also improves drainage for the wet winter.
Give the lawn an autumn feed
Once the lawn is raked, trimmed and aerated, it’s time for a feed. There’s lots of specialist autumnal feeds on the market, including preparations that kill off weeds and moss while feeding the grass. If you’re targeting moss and weeds in this way, make sure they’re dead before raking them out because you could end up spreading them if they’re still (barely) alive!
Fill in bare patches
If you have some sparse or bare patches of lawn, whether they’re caused by poor soil, too many games of swingball or an errant barbecue, then autumn is your last chance to deal with them.
With patching kits from companies like The Grass People you get everything you need to repair your worse-for-wear lawn. You need to follow all the instructions carefully to make sure you get the right coverage. If you scatter the seeds too sparsely, you won’t get the results you’re after and if you scatter them too thickly, the seeds will be competing for inadequate resources and will either not grow well or not grow at all. Either way, you’ll be going into winter with bare patches and by then it’ll be too late to really do anything about them.
Make sure your family and pets keep off the grass
Your dogs, cats, kids, backyard goats and you should walk on the grass as little as possible. If you have a path through the lawn, then stick to it! Newly-growing grass is very fragile and a knock or a squashing can damage it permanently. You won’t need to water it too much, though, unless it’s a particularly dry autumn or an Indian summer.
Once you’ve done all this, then you can relax, get through the winter and wait for your lovely new lawn to show itself in spring.