How to give tired lawns an autumn boost

How to give tired lawns an autumn boost

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

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is at its best in October

Plant is at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.

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

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

Total time:

Step 1

In autumn, grass grows more slowly, so you can mow less often. Raise the height of your mower blades to 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.

Mowing the lawn
Mowing the lawn

Step 2

Rake the lawn vigorously with a 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.

Raking the lawn with a spring-tined rake
Raking the lawn with a spring-tined rake

Step 3

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.

Spiking the lawn with a fork
Spiking the lawn with a fork

Step 4

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.

Sowing grass seed
Sowing grass seed

Step 5

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.

Applying a lawn feed
Applying a lawn feed
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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.

Roll of turf