AUTUMN LAWN CARE
Autumn is the time for lawn renovations. The soil is still warm and the grass has entered a vegetative growth stage, meaning it has finished trying to flower and is preparing itself for the coming colder weather by making more carbohydrates and growing more shoots instead of leaf. Renovation work can be hard on the grass, but it recovers quickly if renovation work is carried out before the colder temperatures arrive.
The main works are:
- Scarification to remove the build-up of surface organic matter. Too much organic matter, called thatch, retains surface water and nutrients, resulting soft, shallow rooted lawns that are susceptible to drought and cannot recover from wear. You can hire a machine, use a lawncare contractor, or rake the grass hard with a garden rake. You will amazed at how much material comes out and – no, you have NOT killed your lawn! It will recover.
- Aeration – either hollow coring or solid spike. Hollow coring takes out thatch and allows air to circulate into the soil for healthy roots and soil environment. If thatch is not a concern then solid spikes, which penetrate 75-100mm, will also help to aerate the soil. Small areas can be aerated with a garden fork, but remember not to turn the soil over! You are not creating a vegetable patch. Water the lawn and allow to drian, then dig the fork in as far as you can and lift straight out. Larger areas will need the use a mechanical aerator or the services of a lawncare company.
- Feed the grass with a low nitrogen fertiliser, e.g. one with a NPK analysis of 8:2:6. Nitrogen content of more than 10% at this time of the year will only result in soft leaf tissue that is susceptible to disease attack during the cooler temperatures and wetter climate.
- In partnership with using the correct fertiliser, help to protect your lawn from the ravages of winter by using TurfSolv. The biostimulants in TurfSolv help to enhance the plant’s natural defences against freezing temperatures and fungal disease attack.
Worms are the biological tools that aerate soils, i.e. creating a link between the above surface atmosphere and the soil environment. This allows the release of CO2 from respiration of grass roots and soil microbes to be released into the air, and for air to be drawn into the soil for healthy grass growth and soil conditions. Worms, however, are not encouraged in lawns as they leave casts that are flattened when mowing that are then open areas for weed seeds to establish. Mechanical aeration can be a costly operation but is essential in producing high quality lawns, and there are different used.
- Hollow coring – the aerator machine is fitted with strong steel tubes that remove cores of thatch. This method also helps with compacted soil, with the remaining soil collapsing into the space created by removing cores of soil. This operation can be carried out once or twice per year depending on the amount of thatch.
- Solid spiking – the aerator is fitted with strong steel spikes, typically 4 inches long, that punch a hole in the soil. This method is advantageous if the surface is compacted but the underneath is in good condition. This allows surface water to drain through the surface and air to infiltrate into the soil.
Scarifying is the term used to describe the removal of thatch and surface organic matter using a machine or hand rake. This can be done on lawns in spring and autumn when the soil is moist, and the grass is growing so that it can recover. The amount of thatch removed can look dramatic but is worth the effort.
Topdressing is the term used to describe the application of a thin layer of sandy soil to the lawn surface. The material is normally applied after aeration so that it fills the holes and links with the underlying soil to avoid layers of materials. Topdressing mixes with the thatch layer preventing it becoming a solid layer of impenetrable organic matter, and it helps to keep the lawn surface smooth.
There are many reasons for unhealthy grass. Highly concentrated TurfSolv® products alleviate, restore and help the recovery from damage. We have identified the four most common causes. Insect lavae such as chafer grubs and leatherjackets. Disease, plant parasitic nematodes and fairy rings.
TurfSolv® is an accompaniment to traditional fertilisers, weed killers, moss killers and lawn fertilisers which gardeners seem to think they need without realising they may be dealing with lawn pests and disease.
Find more information on how to use TurfSolv®