It’s been a long hot summer and it's time to prepare your turf for winter with some Autumn lawn care. Even though the days are getting shorter and cooler, the soil temperature is still warm enough to stimulate growth making it the perfect time for some maintenance before the turf slows down for winter dormancy (warm season grass).
Maintaining your turf now will ensure it survives Winter and is ready to bounce back and thrive once spring arrives. For best results, aim to have your lawn in order by Easter.
OUR AUTUMN LAWN CARE TIPS
As the weather begins to cool down your lawn will require less watering. Since you won't be losing as much from evaporation, you will be able to cut down the water use usage by about 25%, but the look of your lawn will tell you how much water it will need.
As you would in Summer, the best time to water is in the morning rather than night. Watering in the evening can increase the chance of fungal diseases if the lawn stays wet on long, cold nights.
Summer is a time where your lawn gets high traffic. Combined with the Summer heat, the soil becomes hard and compacted. With hard, compacted soil, the lawn roots cannot absorb the water, food and air it needs to survive. When this happens, the lawn suffers and weeds will start to invade. The solution: Aerate your lawn.
- Take a screw driver or garden fork and push it into the soil in a few spots over your lawn. If the fork slides in easily (up to half way) then it' s OK, but if it doesn’t, then you have a problem and need to take action.
- If your yard is small, simply use a garden fork. Push it into the soil and wiggle it back and forth. Alternatively, hire a spiked roller if you have a very large space.
By aerating your lawn, you reverse the compaction of your soil giving your lawn the water, food and air it needs to stay healthy.
Like plants, grass needs sun to grow. Less sunlight means less energy which leads to less growth leaving your grass with brown patches and overrun with weeds.
Some varieties of lawn require more sunlight than others, trim back any tree branches that may cast shade over your turf during winter, rake up any leaves that may have fallen from deciduous trees. Too much shade can lead to fungal problems in some turf.
Many of the lawn issues we try to rectify in Spring comes from the lawn not doing so well throughout the cooler months which means the solution is simple! Feed it right in Autumn and it will be healthy enough to tolerate the shorter hours of sunlight and the cooler weather.
Fertilising your lawn now will prepare your lawn for winter by encouraging strong root development, thick growth, and extending it' s colour. It will also be in a better position to resist weeds. Soilworx recommends Lawn Solutions Australia Premium Lawn Food.
Some pests, such as Lawn Grub or Curl Grub are very active this time of the year. These pests eat the roots of your turf and plants causing widespread damage use Munns Lawn Grub and Beetle Killer.
The general rule for mowing grass is to keep the blades long enough to maximise photosynthesis which means over the cooler months, you should keep your lawn a little longer. The longer blades will also help with weed suppression.
Mowing tip: use a catcher when mowing so that your clippings aren't left sitting on top of your lawn. In warmer weather, grass cuttings will break down quickly and add nutrients to the soil, however, once it cools down the decomposition slows down and if left to sit on the lawn too long, it will very likely end up with fungal problems.
A common mistake people make when it comes to weeding is waiting until Spring. By this time, the weeds would have had the chance to grow, flourish and take over your lawn while it lays dormant.
Autumn is the best time to get rid of the weeds, when they are young and are just developing.
If you wait until after rain or watering, the soil will be be looser, making the weeds easier to remove, roots and all. If you are opting to use a weed killer, make sure the one you choose is suitable for your lawn, otherwise you may cause irreversible damage.
AUTUMN LAWN AFTERCARE
Following a few simple tips will have your lawn ready to thrive come spring time. In addition to this list, try not to walk on the lawn and remember to clear any fallen leaves. The fallen leaves make great habitats for garden pests and will also weaken the grass as it suffocates lawn.