Caring for Lawns in Autumn

Autumn is a good time to prepare your lawn for the year ahead, and the best time to tackle any long-term improvements. Tasks such as raking out lawn debris as well as feeding and aerating will improve the quality of your lawn greatly if they are carried out every year.

1: Over the years, grass clippings and debris form a ‘thatch’ on the surface of your lawn. This affects growth of the grass and should be removed with a lawn rake.

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2: If grass growth is poor, the soil beneath may have become compacted, preventing oxygen reaching the plant roots. You can aerate the lawn by pushing the prongs of a garden fork about 15cm (6in) into the ground.

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3: Brush a soil improver into the holes made by the fork. Use sand or a mixture of fine soil and sand if the ground is poorly drained. Alternatively, use peat or a peat-substitute, or very fine, well-rotted garden compost if the ground is sandy.

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4: If your lawn is in poor condition and needs reviving, apply an autumn lawn feed. It is essential that you use one formulated for autumn use, as spring and summer feeds will contain too much nitrogen.

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5: You can tidy an uneven lawn edge at any time, but doing it in autumn will mean one less job to do at busier times of year. Use a half-moon edger against a board held in position with your feet. This is not an annual job.

Mechanical aids

Working on large areas such as lawns can be exhausting and back-breaking work. Raking out thatch is a particularly tiring job. If you have a fairly large lawn area, it is definitely worth investing in a powered lawn rake. This will remove the thatch both rapidly and efficiently for you.

You can also take the sheer drudgery out of aerating your lawn by using a hollow-tined aerator that removes a core of soil effortlessly and efficiently.

If you need to remove a large quantity of leaves from your lawn in the autumn, you also might prefer to invest in a special leaf sweeper or blower.