Remove debris now to ‘future-proof’ your lawn ready for winter

How and when to use lawn feeds and treatments

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Autumn is a great time to start preparing lawns for the cooler winter months. When the weather cools down, grass grows much slower or it may stop growing altogether. To protect lawns and keep them looking their best in the warmer months, gardeners need to tackle four main tasks.

Lawn expert, Chris McIlroy from The Grass People has shared his four tips for keeping your lawn healthy during winter, including tackling moss and thatch, removing debris, aeration and fertilising.

Tackle moss and thatch

Moss is often found in moist and shaded areas of the lawn and can spread very quickly to other parts of the grass.

Moss also grows when the soil is compact and when there is excess thatch. While it may not seem like a problem, moss needs to be removed in order to make sure lawns stay robust, healthy and green.

Chris said: “Treat by spreading a chemical such as Feed, Weed and Moss Killer across the affected areas of the lawn and within two weeks the weed will have died and turned black.

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“Remove the dead moss by vigorously raking the surface with a spring-tined lawn rake.

“Consider future-proofing your lawn from further moss by removing the sun blockers such as trimming hedges or by improving drainage.”

Remove debris

Along with raking away moss regularly, gardeners need to 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” because drainage will be poor leading to the soil being clogged.

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Aerate the lawn

Lawns can become compacted during the summer months, particularly with children playing.

Chris said this can also cause problems with drainage, weeds and moss. To help alleviate compaction, Chris suggested aerating the lawn.

He explained: “Aeration will create air pores to help soil compaction and allow the water to move through the soil.

“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.”

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Fertilise the lawn

Fertilising the lawn in autumn will supply grass with the essential nutrients it needs to strengthen itself for winter.

As autumn progresses, damp and still conditions can lead to diseases such as Fusarium Patch (snow mould infection).

Chris added: “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.”

Snow mould commonly causes brown patches on lawns, especially in the autumn and winter months.

As well as brown patches, the first signs of snow mould include yellowish patches and dying grass.

The patches will increase in size and may reach 30cm or more in diameter. Two patches next to each other may merge together to create one large patch.

When the weather is particularly wet, there may be white or pink fungal growth on the lawn.

However, the fungal growth could be confused with another disease called red thread.

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