How to get the lawn of your dreams

Autumn is a really good time to get your lawn back on track and repair the damage done by summer heat and wear and tear.

Check it out First off, take a look at your lawn. Are there paths worn across it where people have cut corners, mossy patches, bare spots or lots of weeds? Now’s the time to fix these problems. 

Moss or bare spots under trees are usually caused by too much shade. Grass generally needs at least six hours of full sun per day to grow well. You can thin the branches of the overhanging tree to let in more light, or reconsider whether you really need to have lawn there. Maybe you could extend your garden into this area and fill it with shade loving plants. If it’s only lightly shaded (an hour or two a day) then you could replace the grass with one that is better suited to shaded conditions. Sir Walter buffalo and Plateau Green couch are more shade tolerant than other varieties.

Fill bare patches by spreading lawn seed or laying turf in rolls. Where you’ve got worn tracks in the grass, it could be worth laying stepping stones or a gravel path – obviously people want to walk that way!

Dethatch After a hot summer the lawn can get filled with thatch, which is a dead layer of grass that builds up on top of the soil. Thatch can encourage fungal disease and, if we get prolonged wet weather, it can cause the grass roots to rot. The best way to get rid of it is to use a metal rake and lift the thatch out from beneath the grass blades with short, sharp strokes. Pile all the collected dead grass into the compost bin.

Aerate It’s really worth aerating the lawn, particularly in compacted areas. It lets air and water into the soil, improving drainage and promoting growth. Don’t try to do it when the soil is dry, you’ll be jumping up and down on the fork and getting nowhere. When the soil is moist after rain, use a garden fork to spike the lawn. Push it in for about 10cm, then give the handle of the fork a wiggle back and forth to slightly widen the hole. If you’ve got lots of lawn, you can hire a mechanical aerator, which makes the job much easier.

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Image courtesy of nuttakit /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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