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So that your lawn is prepped and ready for the harsh winter conditions there are a few jobs you’ll need to carry out to strengthen its roots throughout autumn. They not only make sure your lawn survives the cold temperature and poor growth but also allow you to get to work right from the get-go in the following spring without any setbacks. Just follow my advice below and you’ll be well on your way to a properly prepared lawn.
As the growing conditions get worse as the year goes on, you’re going to have to reduce how often you mow your lawn to account for slower growing grass.
For example, if you mow on a weekly basis, once autumn hits and you begin to see slower growth, then you could start mowing every 10 days at the beginning and work your way down from there.
The key is to do this gradually.
Now in most cases you want to keep the mowing height quite high to make sure you don’t cut the grass too short.
Although, this isn’t the case for the last two mowings.
You can actually set the height lower than usual to promote better sunlight exposure for the grass blades, especially the shortest ones, which therefore promotes better growth.
This also makes it less likely for your grass to turn brown.
Your lawn is most going to go through quite a tough time during winter so it’s best to strengthen its roots as much as possible, this means giving it the nutrients it really needs is essential. By applying a fertiliser you’ll help strengthen its roots to promote better growth and help it combat diseases, just make sure you use an organic mix as the results produced with synthetics will be short lived and don’t contribute to the long term health of your lawn. You might not see immediate results but it’ll be well worth it in spring.
Also make sure you use a fertiliser designed for autumn instead of one designed for spring. Autumn lawn fertilisers are high in potash and potassium which help protect the lawn in frosty and icy conditions. Spring fertiliser on the other hand are high nitrogen which promotes soft and sappy grass growth, this will fall victim to the frost resulting in either disease or damage or both. As I said, you want to begin spring without any setbacks and applying the correct fertiliser is crucial in order for you to do so.
If your lawn has any slight bumps and hollows then applying a topdressing can even it out – as well as correcting surface irregularities, improving the texture of the soil and thickening out the turf. You want to apply the topdressing is dry and make sure you add a mix that is three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part compost. Work in using the back of your rake until it covers all bumps and try to get a coverage of about 2-3 kg per sq metre. For more info on applying your topdressing get out my post “How to Top Dress Your Lawn“.
Layers of thatch can prevent proper penetration of water and fertiliser to your grass roots so clearing the amount of dead grass, dead moss etc. found on your lawn is very beneficial. To dig up all the thatch drag a spring-tined rake through the grass until you have covered the whole lawn, or until you feel you’ve dug it all up. This will free up loads of space for you to access the grass roots so you’re best applying your fertiliser after you’ve cleared up all the remaining thatch.
Autumn is a much better time to do this rather than spring. The lawn is far less delicate now than it would’ve been near the start of the year so you can dig a little deeper and rake less delicately.
This is another process that opens up access to the grass roots. This is great for reducing soil compaction, helps the lawn cope better with drought and heavy rainfall, and allows for better movement of air, water and nutrients within the soil. If you don’t have any severe problems then you will be fine using a garden rake to puncture the holes (aim for about 10-15 cm apart), but you need to treat damage caused by water-logging or soil compaction then you’re better going with a hollow-tined aerator. The extracts plugs of turf which gives even better access to the roots, just make sure you rake them all up and apply your topdressing afterwards.
Levelling The Lawn
If you have bumps and hollows that are little too big and deep to be dealt with topdressing then you’ll need to make adjustments to the lawn.
- With a spade slice down the centre of the bump or hollow to split it in half.
- Now push your spade underneath one side of the turf to cut its roots and then pull it back in a strip. Do the same for the other side.
- Either remove (for a bump) or add (for a hollow) soil to the required height and then fold the strip back and stamp down on the turf using the spade.
- Make sure you’re using the same soil, or at least similar, to that of your lawn. If you have both bumps and hollows then you can just recycle the removed soil.
Make sure you keep these watered over the next few weeks to ensure proper growth.
With all these jobs carried out properly I’m positive you’ll have something great to look forward to next spring!
If you found this post interesting then maybe you’d like to see some of my other content, like my robomower reviews? If so then head over to my Robot Lawn Mower Review Page, I’ve reviewed various models all designed for different purposes so if you’re in the market there won’t be a better place to go than here!