Autumn lawn care jobs to ward off ‘disease and moss growth’
How and when to use lawn feeds and treatments
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Gardening expert Joe Harrison (@grow_with_Joe) said the onslaught of winter weather may be “good news” for those who detest the job of mowing the lawn, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other grass care jobs to do this season. “When it comes to your winter lawn, there is no need for any further mowing until the spring,” he told Express.co.uk. “So, the mower can be cleaned and stored.”
However, the cold, damp months can provide a perfect storm for moss and disease that take up residency in grass patches.
Several types of mould can begin to show themselves during the autumn-winter months. The RHS notes Fusarium patch, also called snow mould, as one of the most common causes of brown patches on lawns, particularly in autumn or during mild spells in winter.
Experts from Lawn Weed Expert also note that red thread disease, a year-round fungus, can cause irregularly-shaped areas of pink-tinged grass in the autumn months.
This is why, though your lawnmower may be retired for the season, there are plenty of other lawn care jobs to be getting on with.
“There may be less for us to do in our gardens during the colder months, but there is ‘always’ something to do and we must remember why we get our hands dirty and partake in this wonderful pastime we call gardening,” said Joe, who is a BioScapes biodiversity ambassador working with the company as them as they have developed their biodiversity promoting planters – WildPod, Nature Ark and BioCube.
He continued: “Wet leaves and other debris sitting on top of your lawn can have an adverse effect on the health of your grass. It can cause disease and encourage moss growth, so regular leave raking is advised.”
Piles of leaves will also block out light and prevent moisture from getting to your grass.
Ideally, gardeners should aim to rake their lawns once or twice a week, depending on how many leaves are falling.
Once the snow arrives, it’s important not to let it pile up on top of your grass. “If you have enough snow to build a snowman, when your snowman is passed his best be sure to distribute any piles of leftover snow and ice evenly over your lawn as large lumps can ruin the grass underneath,” explained Joe.
As well as jobs you need to do to maintain your grassy areas, Joe points out there are also some key things to avoid.
“Try and avoid walking on your lawn when wet, after a heavy frost or when there is a thick layer of snow,” he said.
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And even though sunnier days may be few and far between, it’s not necessary to feed your lawn at this time of year.
Joe explained: “Your grass will be almost dormant in winter so a feed is not usually necessary, however, if we do have a very mild and wet winter you can give your lawn a winter feed.”
Even if you can’t get out in the garden, there are jobs you can be doing which will benefit your lawn once the golden spring sunshine arrives.
“Winter is the perfect opportunity to give your tools a good clean and sharpen,” said Joe.
“A little time spent on tool maintenance during winter will ensure there is no build-up of bacteria and can prevent further rust or corrosion.
“Use soapy water to clean off any dried mud and some wire wool for any rust which has accumulated on metal parts and finish with a rub down with some vegetable or olive oil on an old rag.”
Common winter lawn diseases and how to fight them
Fusarium patch, sometimes known as snow mould, is most typically noticed when snow begins to melt away. Grasses that are particularly susceptible to this disease are Annual Meadow-grass, Perennial Ryegrass and Creeping Bent.
To avoid the risk of this lawn disease, avoid using a high-nitrogen fertiliser, spike your turf regularly to alleviate compression and avoid walking on the grass when there is snow or ice.
Fine-leafed grasses are most susceptible to red thread, which shows itself through patches of bleached grass which may later turn pink or red.
Sometimes, this disease gets to work in winter but doesn’t show itself until summer or even autumn.
Prevention is the best cure. This means aerating your soil by spiking the turf and ensuring you feed your lawn in the spring and summer months.
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