It’s September and, fingers crossed, we get a few more days of sunshine, however, it’s time to start considering preparing your garden for autumn and winter. No matter how attentive you’ve been to your garden lawn over the warm summer months it’s probably going to be looking a little tired after months of sunshine and using up all nutrients in the soil.
Late September and early October is the perfect time to get some tools and feed together and prepare your garden lawn for a successful winter.
What you’ll need:
– Garden Rake
– Garden Fork
– Gardening Gloves
– Autumn Lawn Food
– Grass Seeds
Clear your lawn
The first step is to rake falling autumn leaves from your lawn,
you’ll need to keep doing this to ensure your lawn doesn’t get smothered by them.
If your lawn has patches of moss spread a mosskiller product over the lawn and leave it for 2 weeks. Some lawn feed is also a mosskiller – so you might not have to buy two separate products.
When you are raking leaves from your lawn you’ll also be able to rake the dead moss and thatch that builds on the surface. A build-up of dead leaves and moss hinders drainage of rainwater and can encourage lawn diseases and the growth of weeds. Never rake live moss however as this will spread its spores and grow more moss; you can tell moss is dead because it will go black.
In the autumn mow your grass roughly every 10 to 14 days, different varieties of grass should be mowed to different heights but a general rule is 0.75 inches. This recommended cutting length is long enough to allow the grass to protect itself and reduce fungus growth in the snow.
Aerate your lawn
Where people and animals have walked over your lawn the soil beneath becomes very compacted which makes it harder for your turf to grow and makes it difficult for the drainage of water. Stagnant water sitting on your turf is the ideal place for weeds and moss to start growing.
Aerate your lawn by pushing a garden fork as deep into your lawn as you can and then wiggling it in the soil to create air channels in the earth. Pull the fork out and repeat this process for every 4 inches (10cm) of lawn.
If you have a large lawn a powered aerating machine can be purchased or rented to speed this process up.
Seed bare patches
If your lawn has bald patches from overexposure to sunlight or heavy foot traffic it’s now the perfect time to treat this.
Loosen the top layer of soil with a garden fork, sow grass seed over the bare area, lightly rake over the seeds to mix them with the top layer of soil and then gently water with a fine spray or sprinkler.
Don’t walk over the area and after roughly 10 days you should start to see the new garden turf sprouting.
Feed your lawn
Now you can feed your garden lawn with a bag of autumn lawn feed which will give your grass what it needs to grow stronger roots and toughen itself up for the cold winter months. Autumn lawn feed is readily available in garden centres and supermarkets or can be purchased online by simply searching “autumn lawn feed.”
It’s important to note that autumn lawn feed is not the same as spring feed or fertiliser. Spring lawn feed contains a high level of nitrogen that will encourage soft leaf growth that won’t be able to withstand frost as easily.
With the weather cooling down and the number of hours of daylight dropping you can ease back on the amount that you water your garden turf. Only water your lawn if it’s looking especially dry – if there is regular rain you may not have to water your lawn at all.
Over-watering is an extremely bad thing in winter as it can freeze and damage your garden turf overnight.
Keep pets and people off
Autumn and winter is a great time for your turf to recuperate without footfall trampling it. With the weather getting colder you’ll naturally use your garden a lot less, but be sure to keep pets off of your garden lawn too to give it the best chance of strengthening and surviving the cold winter months.
Once you’ve followed all these steps your garden lawn will be strong and ready to withstand the UK winter, when spring comes next year your lawn will be lush and green much faster.