Gardening mistakes to avoid now for a ‘healthy’ lawn
How to remove weeds and moss from lawns
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Now that it’s autumn it’s important gardeners start preparing their lawns for the colder weather ahead, especially for those who want their grass to look its best when spring returns. September is the perfect time to start, but the start of the month can still be warm, so the best time to get these jobs done is right now as we approach the end of the month. Experts at The Grass People have shared their top tips for keeping lawns healthy ahead of cold weather.
1. Failing to tackle moss and thatch
Lawn moss can form dense mats outcompeting grass for water and nutrients and making the lawn uneven and spongy to walk on.
These primitive plants thrive in damp shady conditions and can quickly spread in struggling lawns.
The experts advised: “Moss is often found in moist and shaded areas and can spread very quickly. Treat by spreading a chemical such as Feed, Weed and Mosskiller across the affected areas of lawn and within two weeks the weed will have died and turned black.
“You can then remove the dead moss by vigorously raking the surface with a spring-tined lawn rake.”
Gardeners should consider future-proofing their lawn from further moss by removing the sun blockers such as trimming hedges or by improving drainage.
2. Leaving debris to fester on lawns
Leaf litter and debris can be anything from leaves, twigs, seeds and nuts or just human rubbish.
The lawn pros warned: “Along with raking away moss regularly remove old grass clippings, leaves and other layers of thatch which can cover the surface of the lawn.
“If left this will encourage weeds and disease to set in as drainage will be poor and the soil will be clogged.”
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Fallen leaves need to be raked up and removed from the grass because they block sunlight, causing yellowing patches, and can also harbour pests and diseases.
The timely leaf drop is nature’s way of getting rid of waste, but it also gives gardeners the opportunity to make leaf mould, which is one of the best soil improvers available.
If gardeners want to learn how to make leaf mould, simply rake up and store fallen leaves somewhere. A wooden framework with wire mesh sides is ideal or, for those who don’t have space, put them in black bin liners with holes pricked in the side and store them somewhere out of the way.
Leaves can take a couple of years to break down but the end result is gorgeous crumbly leaf mould that soil will love.
3. Not aerating lawns
If gardeners do not aerate their lawn, grass may become more prone to compaction which will stunt its growth over time and prevent proper drainage. Just a shallow layer of compaction can have a negative effect on the overall look and health of lawns.
A summer has just passed, it is likely that most UK lawns have become compacted. The experts warned: “This can also cause problems with drainage, weeds and moss.”
They explained: “Aeration will create air pores to help soil compaction and allow the water to move through the soil, in turn creating a healthy lawn.
“Using a garden fork push into the surface around 30mm deep, wiggle it backwards and forwards and then pull out. Repeat this every 10cm across the lawn.”
4. Improper fertilising
While most homeowners know it’s important to fertilise a lawn, few really do it.
Applying the wrong fertiliser or applying too much fertiliser can do more harm than good. Even the correct fertiliser can be ineffective if applied too sparingly or at the wrong time of year.
The grass pros said: “Fertilising the lawn in autumn will supply your grass with the essential nutrients it needs to strengthen itself for winter.
“As autumn progresses damp, still conditions can lead to diseases such as fusarium patch (snow mould infection). Applying an autumn lawn feed in early autumn will help combat these by strengthening the grass plants as well as giving your lawn an attractive green colour.”
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