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Autumn lawn care


by Adam Pasco

Thinking back to the brown expanse that took centre stage in my garden during the summer drought, and how subsequent rainfall brought it back from the dead, I marvel at the resilience of grass.


Adam Pasco carrying a container full of lawn clippingsThinking back to the brown expanse that took centre stage in my garden during the summer drought, and how subsequent rainfall brought it back from the dead, I marvel at the resilience of grass.

Well, the doubting Thomases among you may have thought their lawn was dead (well, mine did look dead) when I wrote about drought damage in the garden in my July blog, but didn't I tell you it would recover once rain came? Not that I'm feeling smug with my prediction. It's just that plants are great survivors, and most have evolved tactics to overcome whatever the weather throws at them.

After such a 'challenging' year I'm treating my lawn this autumn to a combined lawn feed and weed. Autumn fertilisers are available with just the right balance of nutrients to boost root development and strengthen growth before the onset of winter, and from the way my lawn has performed this year I feel it deserves the investment.

We expect a lot from our lawns. They need to look good all-year-round and withstand regular mowing and family wear and tear. Surprising then that many gardeners never dream of putting something back - returning some of the nutrients removed during mowing. After all, lawns don't live on thin air! I won't ask for a show of hands, but the lawn abusers among you know who you are.

Don't hold me to it, but September is traditionally a warm month punctuated by regular showers. That makes it an ideal time to sow grass seed to start new lawns or repair bare patches. It's also the month to indulge in the mystical gardening art of overseeding. This is a simple way to thicken-up your lawn, revitalising growth by sprinkling over some fresh grass seed.

Start by raking over the lawn or using a powered lawn rake or scarifier. This removes any accumulated moss or debris and lightly teases and loosens the soil surface. Now choose a suitable grass seed and sprinkle over the whole lawn. If you want you can mix seed with some potting compost to help see where you've been. Finish by watering the area to help settle seed down into the soil, and repeat every couple of days if conditions remain dry. This grass seed should germinate with a couple of weeks, helping fill gaps and thicken growth.

Job done, and your lawn will repay you for your efforts by both looking and performing better in future. Long live the lawn!



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Gardeners' World Web User 21/09/2010 at 14:44

My lawn looked awful during the summer, but has greened-up wonderfully. Think I'll take your advice and give it an autumn feed. How about top dressing? Shouldn't I be doing that now?

Gardeners' World Web User 21/09/2010 at 17:17

this has nothing to do with grass,but today on my grass there are loads of ,,,well i dont know what they are but they look like frogspawn but without the black tadpole in the middle .... clear small clumps of jelly like balls,they were by my pond.... what could they be... anyone know?????????

Gardeners' World Web User 21/09/2010 at 17:23

this has nothing to do with grass,but today on my grass there is well i dont know what they are but theses jelly like clear balls like frogspawn but without the black tadpole in the middle,they are by my pond ..... any ideas................

Gardeners' World Web User 23/09/2010 at 11:47

Greatadvice - thanks. Our lawn also dried up over the summer and although it's come back to life we'll use your advice to maintain it.

Gardeners' World Web User 23/09/2010 at 14:38

Bee, that sounds like slug eggs or similar, though I've only ever come across them when digging. Do they look like this?: http://www.google.com/images?q=slug+eggs&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1282&bih=903

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