Here we are now in the first week in October and summer has well and truly gone – the cooler temperatures, the blustery weather and the lovely autumn colour on the trees means that leaves are now starting to fall and swirl around the garden. Now is the time to lay the groundwork for a superb lawn next year.
In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice on how to get ahead of the game in your garden this autumn. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the tips, tricks and equipment you need the give your lawn a little autumn maintenance, ready for next year.
How to Look After Your Lawn in Autumn
If you live in parts of the UK that haven’t seen much rain through the summer or even in the early part of autumn, you may find that your garden has really struggled – parts of your lawn may be patchy, browned and burnt off. Now is a great time to do some forward planning and take steps to ensuring that your lawn bounces back in better condition come spring.
You can check your soil condition by digging up a small hole and assessing the soil underneath (don’t worry – you can pop the turf back into the hole and give it a little water to settle it back in once you’ve done). You might find that the soil is very dry if you haven’t had much rain where you live, which can be a problem when it does eventually rain as it will probably not reach down into the soil to give it the moisture it needs.
Use a wire rake to scarify the lawn and help get some air back down into the soil of any areas of dead grass. This will help to easily lift any dead, flat material and expose the soil. Our Expanding Telescopic Rake and Lawn Scarifier tools are perfect for tasks like this. If you’ve got lots of tufty bits of lawn, you can pass a lawnmower over the area on a high blade setting to chop them off to help tidy it up.
If your soil is very dry below, what can sometimes happen – with both clay soils and sandy soils – is that they can become hydrophobic. Hydrophobic means that the water can’t penetrate down into the soil, so when it rains it sits on the surface and doesn’t get down to where it’s needed at the roots. To help combat that, once you’ve scarified the lawn, you can spike the lawn using a garden fork to help any water penetrate deeper into the soil.
Very often we spike a lawn to help with drainage, but the idea with this is completely the opposite. You don’t have to go in deep, just prick the surface with your garden fork or pitchfork by a couple of inches so that, when it does eventually rain, the water has actually got some holes so that it can get down into where the roots are to help improve the lawn for next year.
Finally, give your lawn an autumn feed. The lawn feed you want to put on at this time of year is different to the feed that you would put on in the spring and summer. In the summer, you would normally use a high nitrogen feed to encourage lots of strong green growth to keep the lawn looking lush through the summer months. However, in the autumn, you want to use a low nitrogen, high phosphate and high potash feed to build up the strength of the lawn and the grass underneath, ready for next year. Low nitrogen is so you don’t get that green growth, as it is susceptible to frost damage and disease. Phosphates encourage a strong root system so that the grass will survive the winter better, grow better in the spring and also cope with dry conditions next year. Potash induces winter hardiness and helps with disease resistance.
You can use a spreader to spread the feed mix or just a gloved hand to lightly sprinkle the feed over the soil at around 30 grams per square metre, or an ounce per square yard. Try and keep it as even as you can, and if it doesn’t rain within two or three days of you spreading the mix then give the lawn a very light watering to help activate it and start it dissolving into the soil. Otherwise, if it rains then let nature take its course and wash it in, and the feed will start working busily underground so that, come spring, you’ll have a lawn that is in much better condition.
Where to Buy Darlac Tools
Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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