Four lawn care tasks to do now to ‘strengthen’ grass ready for winter

Daisy Payne provides advice on lawn care over winter

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With autumn well and truly here, it’s important gardeners start preparing their lawns for the cooler weather ahead. While lawns may not be at the top of people’s priority lists, looking after it now will ensure it looks its best when spring returns. September is the best time to start caring for lawns ahead of winter. 

However, the beginning of September is often too warm, so now, nearing the end of the month is the best place to start an autumn lawn care routine.

The experts at The Grass People have shared the four jobs Britons need to do now to keep lawns “healthy” ahead of cold weather.

Tackle moss and thatch

Moss is often found in moist and shaded areas on lawns and can end up spreading quickly to other areas.

The best way to treat moss is to use a feed, weed and moss killer product across the affected areas of the lawn. Within “two weeks”, moss will die and “turn black”.

The experts said: “You can then remove the dead moss by vigorously raking the surface with a spring-tined lawn rake.

“Consider future-proofing your lawn from further moss by removing the sun blockers such as trimming hedges, or by improving drainage.”

Remove debris

Gardeners should also remove old grass clippings, leaves and other layers of thatch which can cover the surface of the lawn.

If left, these can encourage weeds to grow and can cause diseases to set in because the drainage will be poor and the soil will be clogged.

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Aerate the lawn

Over the summer months, lawns can become particularly compacted with children playing and people trampling across the grass. A compacted lawn can cause problems with drainage, weeds and moss.

Aeration will add air holes which helps soil compaction and allows the water to move through the soil more easily.

To aerate a lawn, push a garden fork 30mm into the surface of the soil and wiggle it backwards and forwards before pulling it out.

Repeat this process for every 10cm across the lawn. Aeration can be done at any time of year but the best time is in the spring or early autumn.

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Fertilise the lawn

Fertilising the lawn in autumn will supply grass with the essential nutrients it needs to “strengthen itself for winter”.

The experts said: “As autumn progresses, damp, still conditions can lead to diseases such as fusarium patch (snow mould infection).

“Applying an autumn lawn feed such as slow release autumn and winter fertiliser or quick release autumn and winter fertiliser in early autumn will help combat these by strengthening the grass plants as well as giving your lawn an attractive green colour.”

One of the key signs of snow mould is small patches of yellowish, dying grass that later turns brown.

The patches will increase in size and could reach 30cm or 12 inches in diameter. The patches then risk merging together to create even larger areas.

The best way to treat snow mould is to allow the grass to grow by applying fertiliser and mowing it.

Hand-raking the patches also encourages the grass to grow quickly.

It can last for a month or so but wind and rain can help kill it off because the wind can help dry it out.

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