Maintenance

Raking leavesRake fallen leaves off lawns before they block out light and moisture from the grass.

Grass will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F), so if the weather remains mild it may be necessary to trim the lawn with a mower. Ensure the cut is 3-5mm higher than in summer to prevent turf stress. On average, this means a cutting height of around 4cm (1.5in).

Mowing will help to deal with any annual weeds that have sprung up in new lawns sown earlier in the autumn.

In mild parts of the country, you can still carry out autumn lawn care i.e. scarification, aeration and top dressing as long as the soil isn't waterlogged. This will improve the lawn’s performance next year. Don't do this in frosty weather, very wet weather or snow.


Don'ts

Don't sow seed or feed lawnsAvoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings. It can damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint-shaped marks.

It is now too late to sow grass seed, but new lawns can still be laid from turf if the weather is not too cold.

Don’t feed the lawn with left-over summer feeds. These contain too much nitrogen, which stimulates lush growth; at this time of year, lush growth will be vulnerable to diseases. Use an autumn lawn feed, which contains more potassium and phosphorous, to encourage hardiness and root growth instead.

It is too late to apply lawn weedkillers now – effectiveness will be much reduced.


Troubleshooting

Stepping stones in the Viking Cruises garden 2014Toadstools often appear on lawns at this time of year. They generally do very little damage but are best removed if small children are present. Most are harmless saprophytic fungi.

Some fungi such as fairy rings can lead to reduced availability of water and nutrients to the grass, resulting in a change in colour of affected lawn areas. Lawn maintenance can help deter the occurrence of such fungal problems.

If your lawn suffers dieback from treading during the wet, muddy season, then you may wish to lay stepping-stones through it to allow easy access across it without causing damage. Stones can be laid at a low enough level to avoid interference with mowing.

Watch your lawn for signs of waterlogging as the weather gets wetter. You may be able to remedy this with some maintenance - either now, next spring, or the following autumn, according to the weather.

Fusarium patch (snow mould) may be a problem in wet weather, particularly on overfed and lush lawns that have been left a bit too long.

Algae can be a problem on lawns where there is poor drainage, excessive shade, or under the drip-line of trees.

Worm casts can still be a problem in some areas.
 

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