Last-minute lawn care
As October cools the air and fall foliage begins to set in, lawn care season is slowly coming to an end. However, there are still a few tasks that homeowners can complete to prepare their lawns for winter and ensure their green spaces return to life the following spring. Whether it’s a quick rake of leaves or a final cut of the grass, taking care of your lawn in the fall can save you time and money in the long run. It’s basically the last chance to work on your grass before the weather gets too wet and cold and prepare for any problems that winter can bring.
Doing a bit of prep work now will not only keep your grass looking good throughout autumn, but also helps it fare better during the winter and bounce-back stronger in the spring. You’re okay to carry out your lawn care as long as the soil isn’t waterlogged, and the weather isn’t wet or frosty. This time of year, the temperature should still be warm enough to stimulate grass growth. Not to mention it’s usually around now that toadstools and fairy rings can appear- good lawn maintenance will typically keep fungi at bay.
Keeping your lawn clear of debris is key to keeping it healthy. Make sure you remove things like fallen leaves so that they don’t end up smothering the grass, which blocks crucial light and moisture. A good leaf rake should be enough to do the job, but for larger outdoor areas a leaf-blower will make things easier. If you want to take it to the next level, scarifying the lawn gets rid of built-up debris to make sure water and fertiliser can reach the roots and the soil. The Autumn presents the opportunity to rake a bit deeper than you would be able to in the spring, where you’d need to be more delicate because of the young growth.
This is one of the last chances you’ll get to cut your grass before the winter, where the ground can freeze and growth slows right down. Because it has already started to slow, raise your cutting height to 2 to 4cm higher than it is in the summer. You might find that the cooler wet weather has caused a resurgence of moss, in which case you’ll need to raise the height even further to make sure at least 1 to 2cm of grass shows above the moss after cutting. One final mow will also help to deal with any annual weeds that have popped up, which happens in new lawns sown earlier in the autumn.
Having more frequent rain and wet weather can easily lead to your grass getting waterlogged. One of the ways to combat this is by aerating your lawn. It involves spiking the ground to allow for better drainage, which lets more air, water and nutrients reach the roots as opposed to sitting at the surface. Use a garden fork and space out each set of holes so that they’re 10 to 15cm apart. Go as deep as you can, ideally the full depth of the tines of your fork. Wiggle the fork back and forth when it’s in the ground to enlarge the holes. G scattering of top dressing after aerating helps to improve the texture and drainage of your soil, which should give you denser grass.