Lawns need ‘extra attention’ in autumn – 4 steps for ‘thicker grass’

Daisy Payne provides advice on lawn care over winter

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Lawn care is a year-long task, and ensuring it is well-maintained in the cooler months will help it looks its best throughout the year. At Capel Manor College in Greater London, head of horticulture and landscaping Tom Cole shared how to care for lawns in autumn in a video for Homebase. Lawns may need “extra attention” after months of hot, dry weather. Maintenance in the autumn, such as clearing weeds, will help to create a “lusher lawn”.

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To care for lawns, gardeners will need topdressing, a stiff broom, a metal rake, a garden fork, a spade and a wheelbarrow (for those that have them).

1. Remove debris

The first thing gardeners need to do is sweep up any debris such as leaves that have fallen onto the lawn using a broom.

The experts said: “You may want to put them in a flowerbed to fertilise the soil as they rot.

“At this stage you can apply weed killer and fertiliser to the lawn but it’s not essential.”

2. Scarify

Next, gardeners need to scarify their lawns. Scarifying is the process of removing organic matter like thatch and moss from the base of the grass.

This process also works to “stimulate” the grass and produce runners and side shoots that will “thicken up” the lawn.

Pull the rake across the lawn towards you when doing this. Raking vigorously will remove any thatch and dead moss.

The tines of the take should reach well into the soil surface. Repeat the raking at a different angle to ensure all dead material has been removed.

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The leftover debris, also known as “rakings”, need to be collected and put on a compost heap, if you have one.

If there isn’t a compost heap, the leftover debris can disposed of in a green bin.

3. Aerate

Next, gardeners need to aerate the soil by spiking the lawn with a garden fork.

The experts explained: “Insert the fork and then lean back to open up the holes to let in more air.

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“Do this in a grid pattern across the lawn with approximately 15cm gaps.”

4. Topdress

After aerating the lawn, gardeners can add topdressing to any holes in the soil.

The mixture will “improve the condition and drainage” of the lawn. Apply the mixture with a shovel on a dry day at a rate of about one kilogram per square metre.

Brush the mixture into spike holes using a stiff broom. Topdressing can be bought in ready-mixed bags from garden centres.

However, gardeners can make their own topdressing using a few simple materials.

Combine six parts of sharp sand with three parts of top soil and one part of peat substitute.

Lawns with heavy clay soil may need more sand added to the topdressing mixture.

“This process will add nutrients to the soil to ensure your lawn stays healthy through the winter,” the experts said.

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