Autumn lawn care & maintenance

The correct autumn lawn care maintenance program will help prepare you lawn for winter giving it a better chance of going into the following spring in a healthier condition.

The ideal time for the autumn lawn care maintenance program is late August – early September. The reason for this, is ground is still warm and there is still plenty of growth to aid recovery from the autumn lawn maintenance program.

The lawn will also recieve less disruption in the form of mechanical operation and chemicals applications such as lawn weed control. Once all these tasks and treatments have been completed it gives the lawn a better chance of recovery.

Scarifying your lawn

During the course of the growing season in the summer, thatch can build up in the lawn. If this is not controlled with regular raking or scarifying it can be come a problem and have an adverse affect on the health of the lawn. 10mm of thatch would be an acceptable level, any more than that and your lawn will start to suffer. Autumn is the ideal time to carry out this operation as the growth is still vigorous and there is still time for the lawn to make a full recovery. For more information on this operation please go to our Scarification page.

Aerating the lawn

Compaction is one most common symptoms associated with poor quality turf and lawns, therefore a regular aeration program is necessary to relieve compaction. How much your lawn needs can depend on how much use the lawn gets and the soil type. For an average lawn, a once a year aeration program should be enough to keep your lawn in a healthy condition.

The two most common types of aeration used on lawns are hollow tining (coring) and solid tining (spiking). Hollow tining involves removing small cores through a series of hollow tubes mounted on a frame of a machine. This operation is very beneficial if your lawn has thatch problem, as it physically removes thatch from the lawn.

It is also beneficial if you want to change the soil type, as top dressing can be brushed down the holes into the soil profile. Spiking is the process if inserting a series of solid tines or prongs into the lawn to create holes, but nothing is removed. Aim to go about 100mm deep with both operations and try and create a square pattern with the tine holes. We have more information on these techniques on our Aeration page.

Overseeding the lawn

Late summer – early autumn is the ideal time to do any overseeding on your lawn that you deem necessary. This is because the ground is still warm and ideal for successful germination. There is also less chance of a drought (that would affect new seedlings) as we head towards winter. However if your lawn has a healthy grass coverage you may not need to overseed. On the other hand if you have any weak or bare areas overseeding may be necessary to thicken up the sward before the winter arrives. Check out our overseeding section for more information on this topic.

Top dressing the lawn

After your lawn has been scarified, aerated and overseeded (if necessary), the next step is to top dress the lawn with a suitable material. Top dressing helps true up the lawn, improve the texture of the soil, dilute the thatch layer and thicken up the sward. For more information on application rates and suitable materials please visit out Top Dressing section.

Mowing the lawn

Raise the height of cut on your mower before the growth slows down. This will help keep the grass healthier during the winter and also discourages any damaging lawn disease such as fusarium.

Feeding the lawn

Apply a suitable autumn lawn fertiliser to help maintain a healthy lawn throughout the winter and into the following spring. The fertiliser should be very low in nitrogen and high in phosphate and potash. Regular applications of sulphate of iron every 6 – 8 weeks during the winter will prevent moss invading and keep the grass a nice dark green colour without promoting growth. It will also help discourage worms and disease.

John Storm

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

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