‘Essential’ task to achieve ‘greener’ and ‘healthier’ lawn for winter

‘Essential’ task to achieve ‘greener’ and ‘healthier’ lawn for winter


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Autumn is a key time for your garden, and knowing which tasks you should prioritise and when to do them can make all the difference to the overall look of your garden the following year. Knowing when to fertilise a lawn in autumn can help grass survive the winter as well as bolster growth over the coming year.  Here, lawn and gardening experts have shared their advice on the best time to fertilise a lawn in the autumn, as well as divulged the benefits of this lawn care practice. 

The best time to fertilise a lawn in autumn can depend on the climate in which you live and how temperate autumn and winters are. 

Jonathan Hill, lawn expert at Rolawn recommended: “September and October are the best months for applying autumn fertiliser but it should ideally be applied in early autumn (September) when possible.

“As the season progresses the increased risk of damp, cold conditions can lead to several issues, including diseases.”

Tim Marshall, head gardener at Raby Castle advised fertilising a lawn four times throughout the year.

He explained: “The first is in spring as growth begins to start, then twice during the main growing season, and lastly in October or November

“Generally, I would avoid feeding a lawn after the end of November unless the weather is very mild. 

“A good autumn feed will help protect your lawn against disease, and moss and keep it nice and green over the winter period.”

Jonathan also agreed that the temperature is important for knowing when to fertilise lawns. He said: “Regional temperatures and weather conditions vary greatly so your own judgment should be used as to when it is too late in the season to apply fertiliser but it should be done well before the weather becomes too cold in your part of the world.

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“Do not fertilise your lawn when the ground is frozen, for example, as it will not absorb enough to be effective.”

As a general rule of thumb, it is best to apply fertiliser approximately six to eight weeks before the first frost in your area. 

There are a lot of lawn care tasks to take care of in autumn, so it is important to know how to fertilise lawns, especially if gardeners are carrying out other tasks such as overseeding.

Just like fertilising evergreens, fertilising a lawn in autumn has a range of benefits that gardeners will continue to see the results of into the next year and beyond. In fact, it is one of the main ways to make a lawn green and thick.

Jonathan clarified: “Autumn fertilisation supplies your lawn with essential nutrients it needs to help strengthen the roots ready for winter.

“Improving your lawn’s general health will help protect it from severe weather conditions, boost its resilience to weeds and diseases such as fusarium patch, and will result in a healthier, greener sward once growth begins the following spring.”

Tim added: “Autumn feeding allows lawns to still look aesthetically pleasing over the winter months. It will also prepare them to grow rapidly and strongly once temperatures rise in the spring.”

For autumn feeds, the gardening expert noted that it is important to use a fertiliser that has a lower level of nitrogen than the spring and summer feeds, but a higher level of potassium and phosphorus to encourage good root growth and general hardiness. 

He added: “The application of iron with the fertiliser will help control any moss present and also give the grass sward a good rich green colour.”

As well as feeding lawns in autumn, Tim suggested that gardens combine it with scarifying (raking), aerating (spiking), top dressing with fresh compost, and rolling to fulfil the end-of-year maintenance program for important and heavily used lawn areas.

The best fertiliser to apply to a lawn in autumn is high in nitrogen, especially for those who have a cool season grass in their garden. Aim to apply one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. 

For those who are seeding a new lawn or looking into overseeding their lawn, always fertilise before sowing new seeds. It is best to apply them immediately after one another for the best effect and to help the new seeds germinate and take root.

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