After what was one of the hottest and driest summers in recent history for most regions of the UK, autumn is finally here. You might think that now is the time to pack away the lawn mower and leave your lawn to rest until spring? Hang on…
This is not the case! Autumn is actually one of the more important times of the year to renovate your lawn, both to repair any damage caused by the prolonged periods of sun and to prepare your lawn for the new year. Here’s what you should know.
One of the defining characteristics of autumn is the leaves turning to golden hues before eventually falling. While this is undeniably beautiful, it presents a threat to your lawn. Leaf fall and other garden detritus can harm your lawn in a number of ways.
Accumulations of foliage on your lawn block light and nutrients from reaching the grass, at a time when there are already fewer daylight hours. This combination of factors can harm your lawn. When foliage starts to rot it can also become a fertile breeding ground for pervasive fungi that can cause serious harm to your lawn (more on these later).
As such, we advise all of our customers to be proactive at this time of the year and rake away any leaves from their lawn as soon as possible.
Things like lawn furniture, toys and other items can also block the light from reaching your lawn, so it is advisable to consider packing them away for the colder months now. Or at least move them to any patioed or decked portions of the garden!
Part of the make-up of your lawn is its thatch layer. This is an accumulation of old grass stems and other green debris that forms just above the soil. A certain amount of thatch is a good thing because it can work to protect your lawn from harm. However, too much is problematic as it can ‘strangle’ your lawn — depriving it of the nutrients it needs to thrive.
We recommend all customers have a scarification treatment, carried out annually – and autumn can be a great time of year. Every time you mow the lawn you contribute to your lawn’s thatch layer, because mowers don’t collect 100% of the lawn clippings they cut. As your mowing frequency increases over the summer, so does the rate at which the thatch layer increases in size.
You can minimise thatch growth by giving your lawn a thorough raking after each mow, but a scarification treatment is the best course of action.
Our aeration treatments (spiking and hollow tine) allow air and water to reach the grass roots most effectively, helping them to stay healthy and grow with maximum efficiency.
Aeration is important because soil compaction occurs on your lawn over time. This is caused by a number of factors, but one of the biggest is footfall. You’ll probably notice signs of compaction in certain areas before others, such as around the washing line or on the route you take down to the garden shed.
Hollow tine aeration tackles compaction, removing cores and allowing your lawn to ‘breathe’ as well as aiding moisture penetration. Regular, year-round aeration helps your lawn to combat waterlogging in winter and survive drought during the warmer months.
Another thing that comes to mind when we think of autumn is, of course, mushrooms. From the delicious ceps or ‘penny bun’ mushroom we’re used to seeing on our plates, to the colourful toadstools that pop up around the countryside, now is their season to thrive.
Be on the lookout for symptoms — fusarium patch presents itself as circular-looking orange patches, which can grow alarmingly quickly. Red thread, on the other hand, (as the name suggests) displays itself as irregular pinkish/red coloured strands visible on your lawn.
Greensleeves offer a robust fungicide treatment to tackle these problems and a number of other lawn diseases. But it is important to act fast to avoid unnecessary damage – so call your lawn care expert in the first instance!
Finally, late summer and autumn are also the time when leatherjacket and chafer grub infections are most effectively treated. Pupae of the daddy-long-legs and chaffer beetle feast on grass roots – causing serious damage to lawns, which might not be reparable until the spring.
We use an all-natural insecticide treatment that tackles both of these garden pests. Click here to find out more.
Keep on mowing
Finally, keep on mowing!
Many people think that, come October, they can stop mowing their lawn until the spring. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Your lawn will continue to grow throughout the autumn and winter period in periods when the temperature is 5 degrees Celsius or above.
To keep it healthy you should give it the occasional trim. While you don’t need to mow it as often as you would in the summer, we recommend getting out the mower whenever your lawn looks a little shaggy, when the grass feels dry and when the temperature is above five degrees Celsius.
It’s good practice at this time of year to raise your cutting blade up a setting or two. Longer grass blades have a greater surface area to photosynthesise with, which is crucial at this time of year.
Looking for more lawn care tips? Click here for our lawn care calendar.