Autumn Lawn Care Summary
Summer 2021 was supposed to be a good one. After the difficult times that was 2020, Brits were looking forward to getting out into their gardens and enjoying some well-earned family time around the BBQ. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, does it, and this summer was obscure to say the least.
With short bouts of sweltering heat followed by weeks at a time of rain and not to mention the strange temperature fluctuations, summer 2021 is one that will go down in history, even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
But following this strange summer, we are now entering what looks set to be a pretty miserable, wet autumn. Before winter kicks in, you’re going to want to find a dry weekend and get outside to prepare your lawn for the cold. And I’m here to give you some top tips.
Why Do I Need To Perform Autumn Lawn Care?
Many people think that, at the end of summer, lawn care comes to a swift standstill, but this is not the case. Prepping your lawn for autumn is one of the most important gardening tasks you will do all year, but why is this?
The reason it is so crucial, is that performing this autumn lawn maintenance will ensure that the roots remain strong and protected over the colder weather. What’s more, when spring rolls around again; and that’ll happen sooner than you think, your lawn will be ready for you to start working on without much preparation, saving you time in the long run.
Step By Step Guide On Autumn Lawn Care
Now that we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lawn throughout the autumn, we need to start thinking about what we will do to take care of it. There are quite a few jobs that you’ll need to do and this can feel overwhelming, but don’t worry, I’ve put together an easy step by step guide to take you through.
Autumn Leaf Removal
One of the first and most important parts of taking care of your lawn in the autumn is to get rid of those pesky fallen leaves. If you have a lot of tree cover in your garden, there may be quite a few, so it can be a trying task.
There are some lawn mowers out there that have a leaf collection function to make life easier, I’d recommend doing this on a dry day. However, these can be pretty pricey, so you may prefer to rake the leaves instead.
There are also options to purchase leaf blowers and vacuums to make the job of clearing leaves of your lawn that much easier. Again, it is better if the leaves are dry, as this will help prevent your leaf vacuum from clogging and aids with the mulching process. Click here to see the best corded electric leaf blowers and the best cordless leaf blowers.
In any case, it is essential that you perform this part of your lawn care otherwise the grass underneath the leaves won’t grow as well and may suffocate due to lack of light and air.
Scarifying might sound like a complex task but it really isn’t. This involves removing any moss or thatch that may have formed on the lawn. Thatch is simply a fancy word for dry grass, moss and other debris that builds up over time.
If this is not removed, there is a very significant chance that the grass roots won’t get the moisture they need as water will be restricted. While it can be tempting to scarify in the spring, this won’t do your grass any favours. It is at this time of the year that new roots are developing and scarifying will damage them.
In the autumn, the roots are very well established and so you will be able to go a little deeper with your rake without the worry of damaging the lawn.
There are several options when it comes to scarifying your lawn. The first is the hard way using a manual wire lawn rake, naturally this is physically demanding and depending on the size of your lawn, may be impossible to get completed. The second option would be to purchase a powered lawn scarifier that will make the job a whole lot quicker and easier. You have further 3 options when looking at powered lawns scarifiers.
- Electric Scarifier
- Cordless Scarifier
- Petrol Scarifier
There are pros and cons of each, so why not take a look at my article “Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews UK – Rakes & Aerators” to ensure that you choose the right tool for you and your garden.
Autumn Mowing and Edging
You aren’t going to need to mow the lawn anywhere near as much in the autumn and over the course of the season you’ll want to gradually reduce this even further.
To begin with, I’d recommend drawing it out by just a few days outside your typical mowing schedule and then leave bigger gaps as you go along. It is also important to keep in mind that the grass won’t grow as quickly at this time of year, so you may want to adjust your cutting height to account for this.
During summer 2021, the weather has meant that your lawn growth may have been a little more sporadic than usual, but now things are starting to level out. By the end of autumn, you’ll want to have two final cuts that are much shorter than you would normally trim the grass. This is preparation for winter and the lower cutting height means that the roots will get better sunlight exposure, further encouraging health and growth.
Before the cold sets in, you will also want to sort out the lawn edges which typically become a little overgrown during summer. You might need to use a large piece of wood to ensure a straight edge and I’d recommend using a more intricate cutting tool like a set of lawn scissors or half moon edging knife to get the neatest finish.
Evening Out The Lawn
While the weather over summer hasn’t been as reliable as we might have expected, we have had some decent sunny spells. If you’re anything like me, you and the family will have made the most of this and will have spent long days in the garden. But this could have had an impact on your lawn especially if the kids and pets have been playing on it.
You’re going to want to try and even out any bumps in the lawn caused by its use over the summer. If you neglect to do this, then there is a risk of flooding in certain areas while others may remain too dry.
To get the best result, a half moon edger should do the trick; you’ll be able to shave uneven areas before laying down fresh turf. Just make sure that you fully aerate the lawn as well. Any dips in the lawn, for example around steps or football goal posts will need to be filled in and built up. This can be done using a good quality weed free top soil and either seeded or turf laid over the top. Remember, this will need to be done before the weather turns too cold and icy.
Anything that is living needs air but the deeper parts of the lawn and its roots may not receive adequate airflow due to soil compaction, so you need to aerate it. This is simply a process of spiking the lawn so that air can pass through and around it more easily.
Using a garden fork is one of the simplest ways to do this, although there are plenty of other methods, if you prefer. See my article “Best type of lawn aerators” if you would like to learn more.
Not only will aerating the lawn ensure that it gets all of the correct nutrients, but it will also help to avoid soil compaction and protect the lawn during extreme periods such as heavy rainfall and drought.
Feeding The Lawn in Autumn
Applying an autumn lawn feed will help to protect your lawn from any diseases that become more of a risk at this time of year. It is important to choose one that is designed for autumn as the mix will be different containing things like additional potassium, which will give the lawn added protection against the frost.
Moreover, these feeds will ensure that the grass stays a healthy colour throughout the season, giving it a far greater aesthetic appeal when most other things in the garden are starting to die off.
In addition to this, the roots will be given a nutrient boost, so your grass will be stronger to deal with the colder and unkind months ahead. There are organic and synthetic lawn feeds, but I would recommend choosing an organic product as these tend to give much more long lasting results. You can learn more about the advantages of using organic fertilisers here.
Not only is it important to feed your lawn in the autumn, but also to have a regular lawn fertiliser schedule to have a healthy, lush and great looking lawn all year round.
Do I need to mow as often in autumn and winter?
As the weather begins to get colder, you won’t need to mow your lawn as often as you did in the spring and summer. This is because the grass won’t grow as long and cutting it too often will not give it the chance to grow.
What is overseeding?
If you have followed all the most essential autumn lawn care tips, then you will have spent a good amount of time removing moss from your lawn. In order to prevent this from forming again over winter, you want to overseed the entire lawn, which will cause it to grow more densely. This makes it much more difficult for moss and thatch to form, giving you less work in the spring.
Do I need to fertilise my lawn in autumn?
Over the summer as you have cut your lawn a lot, much of the essential nitrogen will have been removed (that’s why a mulching mower is always a good idea). Fertilising your lawn in the autumn is a great option as you won’t be cutting the grass as much and so it’ll have a chance to better soak up all those nutrients.
How do I top dress the lawn?
Top dressing is a product made from things like sharp sand and loam and is applied over the surface of the lawn. It has many benefits including improving drainage, improving texture and evening out lumps as well as acting as a fertiliser. Once applied, you will need to rake through the lawn to ensure an even spread.