Autumn is the perfect time to get your lawn healthy in preparation for winter. Your lawn will be better able to survive the rigours of the cold and you will enjoy your lawn come spring, instead of having to work on it.
Our warming climate and moist autumn conditions encourage fungal diseases in lawns. If you notice mottled brown patches, circles of dead grass, pink colouration or other symptoms, identify the problem and treat it.
LawnPro Fungus Control for lawns is an excellent new product for control of a broad range of lawn fungal diseases.
De-Thatch Your Lawn
Thatch is the layer of organic material that builds up in a lawn below the grass foliage and above the soil surface. It is largely made from dead grass clippings, stems and surface roots.
In a healthy lawn the build-up of this dead material is balanced by the breakdown of the material by bacteria and fungi. Nutrients released and returned to the soil help reduce the need for adding fertiliser to the lawn. A thatch layer about 5-10 mm thick is good; it helps reduce moisture loss from the soil surface, acts to reduce weed emergence and insulates the soil and grass roots from frost damage.
However, if the build-up of thatch is faster than the breakdown, too much thatch can stop oxygen and moisture reaching the roots, and moisture trapped in the thatch encourages fungal disease.
So, examine the amount of thatch on the soil under the grass. If the thatch is thicker than 5-10 mm then consider de-thatching. You can naturally de-thatch your lawn by applying LawnPro D-Thatch to feed the micro-organisms that break the thatch down. D-Thatch is also in LawnPro Turfclean & Green +D-Thatch so you can weed, feed and de-thatch your lawn in one easy application.
Alternatively, you can use a sharp-tined thatching rake that rips the thatch out of the lawn. Rake the grass, digging deep to penetrate the thatch and loosen it. This is best done in early spring.
Aerate the Lawn
Autumn is a good time to aerate your lawn to improve oxygen around grass roots and improve drainage through the winter period. Push a garden fork 10-15 cm into the lawn and gently pull back on the fork to open the soil structure. Do this over the whole lawn or particularly compacted areas.
Give your lawn potassium and phosphorus, needed for root growth and frost tolerance. Sweeten (raise the pH of) acidic soils that encourage moss and weeds over the cooler months.
For more advice visit kiwicare.co.nz for articles on lawn care.