Preparing for autumn’s mists

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What goes around come around – gardening is so very cyclical.

September usually brings with it a fall in temperature and more rainfall – which shouldn’t seem all that much different than what’s just gone this summer.

That is unless you have a lawn, because somehow grass (and all plants) know when it’s time to slow down in preparation for winter hibernation.

The first lawn job in September is to adjust the cutting height of the mower blades so the grass is left a little longer at each cut.

And before you mow next it’s a good idea to rake or scarify the whole lawn to pull out any dead material, called thatch, and lift up any grass runners so they can be trimmed by the mower.

A spring-tine rake is the ideal tool for the job and not only does it work wonders on the grass, it can benefit the gardener too – plenty of healthy exercise. After that mowing, you are clear to aerate the surface to allow air into the top few inches of soil. On heavy clay soils, professional groundsmen recommend you use a hollow-tine fork that removes cores of soil rather than simply driving holes into the surface with an ordinary garden fork.

If you remove these cores and fill the holes with something like EverGreen Enriched Lawn Soil or even a washed river sand, you’ll be doing a marvellous job on improving drainage while helping water get to the grass roots.

Following this autumn renovation, think about treating your lawn with a special food to encourage a stronger root system and harden off growth so the grass is tougher and can withstand more extreme conditions. Look on it as feeding a child a plate of porridge before he or she goes to school.

A proprietary fertiliser will work wonders to help the grass withstand the winter. Use one that also contains a mosskiller that will control the first infestations of this weed that spreads so easily in autumn.

For smaller lawns, it can be applied through its own hand-held spreader, or, for larger areas, large bags can be applied evenly and quickly through a spreader. Some may call it a boys’ toy, but if it does the job, don’t knock it or mock it.