Summer isn’t the easiest of seasons for lawns – hot, dry days and lots of backyard activity take their toll on even the healthiest sward.
So when autumn arrives, your grass needs a little TLC, both to restore its appearance and, importantly, to put it in good shape for the cool months of winter just around the corner.
Put a little time and effort in now, to get your lawn in tiptop shape and keep it that way.
One of summer’s most annoying lawn weeds – the bindii – takes hold in autumn. By fertilising the lawn, which stimulates dense, healthy growth, you’ll help crowd bindiis out of the scene. But if you notice any baby plants appearing (they look like small ferny rosettes of leaves), then you might need a little chemical help. Spray them with a selective herbicide for lawns weeds, which is available in either trigger-pack form or as a concentrate.
Patch up bare spots
After vigorous summer use, lawns can end up with bare patches here and there, which spoil the look. Early autumn, before the weather cools down too much, is the ideal time to take action and repair them. Large patches can be repaired with fresh turf, cut to shape and carefully dug into place (make sure you buy the matching grass variety). For smaller spots, use a lawn patching product such as Lawn Builder Patch Magic, which is a mixture of lawn seed, slow-release fertiliser and mulch. If the entire lawn is looking a little on the thin side, you can oversow the whole area with a suitable seed variety.
An autumn lawn feeding is essential, to thicken up the turf and help keep it strong through the cool months of winter, when growth slows or stops. Use a slow-release fertiliser, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Concentrated Lawn Food, which provides a gradual trickle of nutrients over many weeks. And because lawn fertilisers can gradually increase the acidity of the soil over time, autumn is also a good time to apply a dressing of dolomite lime, which helps to restore the pH to a more neutral level.
Mow your lawn slowly
Grass growth slows down as the weather cools, so lawns need mowing less frequently. Importantly, set the mower blades a little higher at this time of year, so the grass stays a little taller and a little denser. As well as insulating the soil (which means it stays damp for longer after watering), this also helps to discourage weeds, by eliminating the open patches where they germinate.