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Autumn work for your lawn

By Derek W. Walder, Turf Expert. Now is the ideal time to take a close look at your lawn after the ravages of the summer.

Your lawn has many roles in your gardens life and now needs to have some loving care and attention ready to face the same strains and stresses next year. Renovation is the answer. This is not as bad as it sounds; it is basically a 'repair' job.

These days you can obtain the same type of machinery that the professionals use to carry out what used to be hard work by hand.

Start by cutting your lawn down to a height of 15 - 20mm.

Only carry out the tasks if the weather is dry but the soil is moist.

Take stock of what you see on your lawn, if there is weed or moss, treat these before carrying out the remedial work, at least three weeks before you plan to start, do not scarify or rake if you have moss and it has not been treated, this will only spread the problem.

Scarification is the key task, this is the same as raking the lawn with a wire rake but more severe and more effective and less hard work. Scarification gets rid of all of the dead fiber and rubbish and allows the lawn to breath. It also helps to keep a level surface and creates a seed bed for over sowing with grass seed.

You will by doing this operation get a whole load of rubbish out of your lawn so do not be afraid that you have killed the grass, you have not. Do not compost

Do this job in at least two or three directions.

If you have time and the budget allows hire a spiker and aerate the lawn, hire it for a day and use it for a day, this will relive the compaction from the constant use through the summer and also allow the ground to drain better during the coming winter months.

Scarify lawn

The next job is to over sow the lawns bare areas with a good quality ryegrass mixture, these mixtures are dwarf leaved and give good color and are hard wearing. If you have a fine lawns then use a mixture without ryegrass.

To finish the job off and give it that extra special treatment again if time and the budget allows top dress any bare areas or areas were there are slight depressions, you can apply top dressing, which is obtainable from all good garden centers, this is a mixture of loam, sand and compost.

Apply top dressing over the whole area and work into the surface either with the back of a garden rake or by dragging a rubber or cocoanut mat across the area where it has been applied.

It may be beneficial when hiring these machines to chat to your neighbors and see if they also would like to share the cost over a weekend; this could also apply to purchasing larger quantities of top dressing.

Good luck and remember your lawn will repay your attention with a lawn to be proud of next Spring.

After completing these tasks. Send your mower, rotary, cylinder or hover for sharpening and a good overhaul.

By Derek Walder B.E.M.