'Last chance' to prepare your lawn for winter – Key jobs to do now

Swapping our jackets for our winter coats is most definitely a sign that the cold weather is here and it’s time to enjoy all the festivities of the autumn months. However, as the weather gets even colder in October, it’s our last chance to prepare our lawns for the winter. Carlos Real, lawn care expert and managing director of TotalLawn, reveals the jobs we should be doing this October to protect our lawns.

He said: “Many believe that October sees our lawn care to-do list decreasing, but that’s not true!

“There’s plenty you should be doing to prepare your lawn for those harsh winter months, including scarifying, aerating, mowing and giving your lawn an all-round tidy up”

Rake away

“Throughout the growing season, thatch will have gathered at the base of your grass plant, which is bad for your lawn as it prevents oxygen, water, and nutrients from getting to the soil,” said Carlos.

“Mild weather conditions make the perfect time to scarify your lawn, that way your lawn isn’t too hot/dry or cold/damp – meaning early October is ideal.

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“Whether you’re using a rake or a motorised scarifier, go up and down your lawn and gently pull up any moss or thatch – try not to use too much force, as leaving a little thatch behind will help to protect your lawn. Dispose of any debris.

“Now that you’ve removed the top layer, switch direction and use a little more pressure, pushing your rake into the soil.

“The reason you need to switch direction is because you’ll catch any debris that has been pushed back into the soil on your first go.”

One last spike

Carlos explained: “Aeration is also a key job that should be done for the final time, in October.

“The soil will have become compacted over the summer months due to heavy foot traffic and when this happens, oxygen is unable to reach beneath the surface to the bacteria and the fungi that rely on it to keep your lawn healthy.

“Spiking your lawn with a motorised or manual aerator will encourage the oxygen to reach beneath the surface, helping your grass plant to be healthy.

“This job is usually done after scarifying your lawn, just don’t forget to give your lawn a good feed and watering afterwards as the process will have put your lawn under serious stress.”

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Change up your feed

Carlos explained: “You don’t need to feed your lawn with a high nitrogen feed, like you should have been doing in the summer, because you don’t want to encourage too much growth over the winter months, or your lawn will become more susceptible to disease.

“Instead, you should use a feed with high Potassium and high Phosphorus, as these ingredients will assist with the overall function of the plant and support healthy root growth, which is what you’ll be needing during those winter months!”

Don’t mow for the sake of it

Carlos said: “In October it’s the prime time to slow down your lawn mowing routine and reduce how much you mow.

“During the winter months, you will eventually only need to mow your lawn every five or six weeks, so in October it’s important to gradually reduce how often you mow – play it by ear, if your lawn is looking a little too long then give it a cut.

“It’s important to use your initiative this month and don’t just mow for the sake of it.

“October is the perfect time to finish up any lawn jobs from the summer and prepare your lawn for the cold winter months ahead. Remember not to leave anything on your lawn, including furniture or gardening tools, and sweep away any leaves or branches.

“If you don’t keep your lawn as tidy as possible, it will most certainly cause you more issues when springtime comes back around. “

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