First Day of Autumn; how to care for your lawn

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Even though we had a mild summer we can officially say today is the first day of autumn. The days are sadly getting shorter and the weather although still warm is starting to change. Autumn is the perfect time of year to give your lawn the TLC it deserves after a summer of wear and tear and time to prepare your lawn for the onset of winter to reduce the effects the winter weather brings. 

Fertilise

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Autumn is the perfect time to fertilise to encourage strong root development, winter colour & overall health. Fertilising in March or April, or earlier if it’s a cooler climate; the fertiliser won’t be as effective if the ground temperature gets too cool.

The best fertiliser to use is a good slow-release NPK fertiliser such as the Sir Walter Fertiliser. It contains optimum levels of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) plus essential minerals and trace elements, to provide nutrients to maintain a healthy lawn.

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PRO TIP: Synthetic fertilisers can change the pH levels of soil, so test the soil using a simple soil test kit. The optimum level is around 6.5. If it’s lower, then “sweeten” the soil with lime and dolomite. For a higher pH, add a gradual application of sulphate of ammonia to rebalance.

Grubs and Worms

Check for lawn grubs that are active late in summer into autumn. These can cause a lot of damage. Treat them immediately to minimise damage. If necessary, fertilise afterward to help the lawn repair itself before winter.

Soil Compaction

Soil compaction may exist from extensive rainfall, or in heavily shaded areas that tend to stay damp. When the soil becomes compacted, the roots aren’t able to breathe, and the lawn will thin out and eventually die. Use a pitch fork or strap-on aerator sandals to aerate the soil. For clay soils, apply some lime and gypsum as well.

Soil PH

Synthetic fertilisers can change the pH levels of soil, so regularly test the soil using a simple soil test kit. The optimum level is around 6.5. If it’s lower, then “sweeten” the soil with lime and dolomite. For a higher pH, add a gradual applications of sulphate ammonia to rebalance.

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PRO TIP:Mow less frequently in autumn. Leave more length on the leaf to allow the lawn to be better equipped for photosynthesis and therefore weed suppression. When it comes to shaded areas, the longer the length, the better chance it will have against frostbite.