School's back - time to repair the lawn!

This year, between the now customary summer drenchings, we’ve had some really dry and warm weather. And I hope that means you’ve been enjoying your garden and lawn! But if you have children – or even just friends who visit with children – your lawn will have worked especially hard this year. So now school’s back it’s time to do some important repair work.

Sounds serious – repair work – but really it’s just routine autumn care, and your lawn will soon look fabulously healthy once more!

You see, while it is still warm and wet, this is a brilliant time to be giving your lawn a make-over – it puts right anything that’s suffered through the summer and it prepares it for the winter ahead.

And, yes, children (and grown-up children) definitely add to the summer wear and tear. A family or play lawn is not much different to a football pitch. We run up and down, compressing the top part of the soil and wearing down the grass; but, unlike at Wembley, we’re not continually helping it to recover afterwards.

So, this autumn you can make up for that! And there’s pretty much nothing that can’t be done at this time of year, so there’s no excuse…

Aerating will loosen up the compressed soil and let in some valuable oxygen. Don’t use a garden fork as the solid prongs just squash the soil even more. Use a hollow-tine aerating fork for small areas, and hire a machine for larger lawns.

Scarifying will remove some of the dusty thatch that has built up through the summer and ensure the autumn rains reach the grass roots.(see our range here)

Feeding a good autumn lawn fertilizer will give the grass a real boost during its autumn growth and build up strength, in preparation for the harsher winter conditions.

Repairs can be done now (as well as creating any new areas of lawn). Seeds will germinate well in mild autumn conditions, and you can usefully introduce new grass varieties too - perhaps some shade-tolerant grass for those dark corners? And while turf can be laid at almost any time of the year, doing it in the autumn can mean less watering - great for saving on water bills!

Top dressing is a good way to finish off your autumn make-over after aerating and scarifying. A good quality top-dressing can really improve the growing conditions, and is also useful for leveling out any small dips and bumps.

You can find out more about all of these basic techniques in my book, Modern Lawn Care. It makes it easy to put together a simple year-round care programme – and it makes it enjoyable to!

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