Autumn/Winter Lawn Care Tips
Although the Autumn and Winter months mean a quiet time for your garden there is still some preparation that can be done to help keep your lawn healthy during its dormancy stage. November is the perfect time to give your lawn a seasonal boost as it can get pretty worn out from all the Summer activities.
Preparing your Lawn for Winter
Traditionally September was the time to give your lawn that much needed pick me up after the dry conditions of Summer and to ensure it is prepared for the Winter. However with longer Summers, higher temperatures and potential hosepipe bans in some areas November is now the perfect time to begin your Winter preparation. The soil should be moist from the rainfall and you should see your grass beginning to grow again.
Tasks To Prepare Your Lawn
Moss and Thatch:
Your first major tasks is to control moss in your landscape. Moss is usually found in wet, dark patches under trees or hedges and can look very unsightly. Treat the moss with a weed killer, begin by spreading the weed killer evenly on your moss patches and within a few weeks the weed should have been killed off.
Ideally you should take action to prevent the moss from reoccurring in the future. To do this you can remove branches that are causing shade and providing ideal conditions for the moss. Another option is to improve drainage which we will cover later on.
It is important that once the moss has died you should remove it from your lawn by vigorously raking the surface with a lawn rake. This will help remove other debris from your landscape like lawn clippings and leaves, these should also be removed as they can build up and cause a layer of thatch to form on your lawn. Thatch can prevent your lawn from freely draining as well as encouraging weed diseases. Once you have collected the debris you can add it to your compost heap.
Patches of your garden that receive lots of footfall like play areas or dining areas can become very compact which can cause drainage problems as well as encouraging weeds and moss. This can be improved by getting a garden fork and inserting it into the compact area of your lawn. Move the fork back and forth to create air channels. You should repeat this process every 12cm across your affected landscape.
Purchase a top dressing for your lawn to fill in the holes you have created this will also allow air and water into the holes. If you have a large lawn consider hiring an aerating machine that will do the job for you. If you have a heavy lawn you could purchase a powered or manual tining tool that will remove plugs of grass ready for you to fill with the top dressing.
Feed Your Lawn:
To complete your lawn preparation you should give your lawn a feed. Ideally you should use a fertiliser that is specifically designed for use in Autumn, this will contain lots of phosphates. This can help develop strong roots that produce lush healthy leaves. Make sure you do not use a Spring fertiliser as these contain high levels of Nitrogen which can cause leaves to go sappy meaning they are vulnerable to disease and are likely to become damaged when the frost hits.
If you live in a hose pipe ban area you should wait before carrying out any lawn preparation until there has been some rainfall and your grass is moist.
Winter Aftercare Advice
Towards the end of November we will see Autumn turn to Winter, make the most of any dry days by raking the leaves from your lawn and adding them to a compost heap. If you leave a thick layer of leaves on your lawn during Winter this can cause your grass to become weak which could lead to problems next season. A layer of leaves can also encourage unwelcome pests into your landscape.
You should also avoid walking on your lawn when it becomes frosty as this can damage the grass and cause unsightly footprints in your lawn when it comes out of its dormancy stage.
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