At this time of year, you may be starting to think about how to look after your garden, preparing for the coming winter months. September is a great time to start carrying out some maintenance on your lawn but it is best to wait until the end of the month to ensure weather is cool and wet enough to begin.
If you have noticed that moss has become an issue for your lawn, it is a good idea to start treatment with an application of autumn fertiliser and moss killer. Another problem that can occur in the late summer and autumn months is the reddish tinge that develops on patches of grass. This tinge then turns to a lighter brown colour.
Visible fungal growth can also become an issue in wet or humid weather but can be simply treated, alongside these other problems, with some handy techniques.
Scarifying the lawn simply means raking out dead growth, moss and old grass stems from your garden. This is especially important if moss killer has been applied. Scarifying a lawn regularly will keep the levels of debris, otherwise known as thatch, at a suitable level. If the layers are deeper than 1cm, water and fertiliser penetration can be hindered.
Scarifying should not be left too late as there is a danger of the grass stopping growing and the turf not recovering until spring. It is recommended that you gently scarify your lawn a few times from mid-spring so you don’t have to work extra hard in autumn.
A spring-tined rake will work well on smaller areas and power tools are better for larger garden lawns. Be careful not to scarify too deeply though as over-doing it may damage your garden turf!
The lawn also needs aerating in order to allow water to drain from the surface of the lawn and encourage air and water to move properly around the roots. This process will prevent the growth of moss and make your lawn manage better during periods of drought or waterlogging.
Aerate your lawn by making holes in the soil, using a garden fork. Focus on the areas that typically remain wet and that receive the most wear. Making these holes will relieve compaction in the soil. An average sized lawn should be aerated every two to three years to receive the greatest benefits.
After your lawn has gone through the scarifying and aerating processes, it is then time to spread your top-dressing over your lawn. Top-dressing consists of bulky organic material such as sand and rotted organic matter and is used in order to correct surface irregularities and improve the texture of difficult soils.
Spread a thin layer of the top-dressing over the top of your lawn and work it well into the surface with a broom or rake.