After a long hot summer, your lawn will be compacted and there will be a build up of ‘thatch’ on the surface, its important to get rid of this as it will impact on drainage and encourage garden pests. After the deluge we have had this very wet year , no need to wait for early autumn/winter rain, time to tackle it NOW!
If you have shaded areas under the shadow of trees especially, have a look for moss. Spread a moss killer evenly across the areas and around them, wait about 2 weeks, when it will have taken effect, with the moss turning a dark or blackish colour. If you can, tackle the underlying cause by lopping off low branches, to allow more sunlight in.
Next , using a spring type rake, put some effort in to scarify the lawn surface, you will be able to remove a lot of old dead clippings and other debris, which has built up over the last growing season. This is the stuff which hinders good drainage and so encourages pests and weeds like moss. Try to be as thorough as possible, it will pay off next season. All that rubbish makes great compost by the way, if you haven’t already, get a compost heap going.
To complete the task aerate the whole lawn surface. Depending on how big your area of lawn, you might only need to use a standard garden fork, or may have to purchase a rotary aerator, I can’t emphasise enough how much of an improvement aeration will do for your next years lawn. This is doubly important if your lawn is used by the family and is compacted down. Simply use a fork to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and repeat all over the lawn every 4 inches. This can be quite hard work, so as I mentioned above, if the summer has been hot ( not 2012 which was wet wet wet !) its best to wait for a good period of rain first, to soften up the ground. It is such an important task, I recommend an aeration tool to make the task a little easier, especially for our senior readers.
Ideally you can also brush in a top dressing in, filling the aeration holes but allowing air and water in the ground but keeping pests out. If the lawn is looking a little worn, it may be an idea to add a little lawn feed. Use one which is rich in phosphates and potash NOT the high Nitrogen type, you want to encourage root growth at this time, not leaf growth.
One novel product which does a great job, definitely less effort than a fork is the Lawn Aerating Shoes:
Just strap on and walk over the lawn area…. job done! No backache.