• Raking leavesRake fallen leaves from lawns so they don’t smother the grass, blocking out light and moisture. 

  • Mow if necessary during mild weather, as grass continues to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F). But raise the cutting height to 2–4cm (1–1½in) – about 5mm (¼in) higher than in summer. Mowing will also help to deal with any annual weeds that have sprung up in new lawns sown earlier in the autumn.

  • Carry out autumn lawn care if not already completed, as long as the soil isn’t waterlogged and the weather isn’t very wet, snowy or frosty. This will improve the lawn’s resilience and appearance next year.

  • There’s still time to plant spring-flowering bulbs in lawns to add colour and pollinator-friendly flowers – great choices include snowdropscrocuses and daffodils. Just remember that you’ll have to leave the area unmown for several months in spring, from once the foliage starts to appear until it dies back. So it’s usually best to plant in specific areas where the grass can be left unmown, rather than scattering them across the whole lawn. 

  • Straighten lawn edges using a half-moon turf iron and a board, or use sand to mark out a curve, which can then be cut out with the iron. At the same time, create a 7.5cm (3in) ‘gutter’ around the lawn to prevent grass spreading into your borders.

New lawns

Problem solving

  • Stepping stones in the Viking Cruises garden 2014

  • If your lawn gets damaged and muddy due to being walked over regularly in wet weather, consider laying stepping stones across it. Set them level with the soil surface so they don’t interfere with mowing.

  • Avoid walking on a frosty lawn, as this can damage the blades of grass, which go brittle in the cold. It may even leave brown footprints that can take ages to disappear. 

  • Toadstools and fairy rings often appear on lawns at this time of year. Most are harmless saprophytic fungi that feed on decaying organic matter and do little if any damage. However, do remove toadstools if the lawn is accessible to small children. Good lawn maintenance will generally deter fungal colonies.

  • Dig out any unwanted lawn weeds by hand – it’s too late to apply lawn weedkiller, as it would have little effect at this time of year.  

  • If moss is a problem (usually only in damp, poorly drained lawns) and you want to get rid of it, try removing with a spring-tined rake first. If that isn't successful, you could apply a chemical moss killer, then rake out the debris after a couple of weeks. See our guide to moss in lawns.    

  • Look out for waterlogging as the weather gets wetter. To improve drainage, spike the lawn with a garden fork or mechanical aerator, then brush a mix of sharp sand and loam into the holes. See our guide to autumn lawn care, or tackle in spring, depending on the weather.

  • Algae can appear on lawns with poor drainage or excessive shade, or under the drip-line of trees.

  • Yellow or brown patches at this time of year may be caused by the fungal disease fusarium patch, especially in wet weather and in overfed, lush lawns that have been left a bit too long.

  • Worm casts are a sign of healthy soil, but if you don’t like them on your lawn, brush them off with a hard broom once they dry out.

  • See all our lawn care advice.

Gardeners' calendar

Find out what to do this month with our gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.