Lawn grass dying turning brown in dry drought hot weather

How to give tired lawns an autumn boost

Is your lawn looking lacklustre after summer? Find out how to give it a boost.

Do it:

Sep, Oct

Takes just:

an afternoon

At its best:

Sep, Oct, Nov

Summer can be tough on lawns, thanks to wear and tear, not to mention a lack of rainfall. But don't despair - autumn is the ideal time to give your lawn some TLC.

Watch Monty Don's video guide to caring for your lawn in autumn.

Giving your lawn a bit of attention now will get it back into good shape before winter sets in.

Revive your lawn, by following these five simple steps.

You will need

  • Lawn mower
  • Long-tined rake
  • Garden fork
  • Lawn seed
  • Hand fork
  • Watering can
  • Autumn lawn feed

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In autumn, grass grows more slowly, so you can mow less regularly. Raise the height of your mower blades by about 1-2cm, so they're at about 4cm. Collect the clippings and put them on the compost heap to prevent possible disease problems in damp weather. Never mow a wet or frosty lawn, as this can damage the grass.

Rake the lawn vigorously with a springy, long-tined lawn rake to remove moss, creeping stems and trodden-in decaying material that has accumulated over the summer. The lawn will end up looking rather ravaged, but not for long - the grass will recover quickly and be more healthy as a result.

Following heavy use over summer, lawns can become compacted, so spike the surface with a garden fork, about 8cm deep every 15cm. This boosts grass root growth and improves surface drainage, preventing waterlogging over the winter.

Autumn is the ideal time to give your lawn some TLC.

After suffering drought and lots of wear over the summer, lawns are often left with bald or thinning patches. To repair them, simply loosen the bare soil with a fork and scatter grass seed over the surface. Cover with compost then water in, and the bald patches will green up again before winter sets in. Read our step-by-step guide to repairing a bare patch in a lawn.

After a rainy spell, sprinkle autumn lawn feed or organic fertiliser all over the lawn, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will toughen up the grass and encourage strong roots, without causing soft growth that needs extra mowing.

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Roll of turf

Lay a new lawn

Autumn is also a great time to sow a new lawn or lay turf. Find out how to grow a lawn from seed and how to lay turf.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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