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Autumn lawn maintenance tasks

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Autumn is one of the best times of year to tackle some really important lawn care tasks.  Efforts now will pay off in the warmer months with a lawn any neighbour would kill for.  Tasks to undertake now include:

Removal of fallen leaves

Beautiful autumn leaves may look lovely on the lawn with the contrasts of colours that they provide.  However these leaves can be very detrimental to the continued health of the lawn, blocking out light and eventually crushing the grass under a wet soggy layer.  This layer will starve out the grass plants and cause localized yellowing and eventual die back of areas. It is for this reason that leaves should be cleared away from turf and not be allowed to sit for extended periods of time.  Of course it is great to use these leaves in your compost heap or be added to beds as free extra organic matter.


Autumn is a great time to get on top of weed populations.  Weeds you had trouble with in the warmer months maybe simple to eradicate during this period of slowing growth.  Hand weeding out larger individuals or spraying with selective or non-selective herbicides.  Less weeds now means less weeds later.


Scarification is often undertaken as part of Autumn turf maintenance schedules.  As turf plants grow they slowly accumulate layers of dead material underneith called thatch.  These thatch layers curtail the growth of grass plants and allow a perfect environment for the growth of many pests and diseases.  So the process of scarification strips out much of this dead thatch material leaving more room for the growth of healthy new plant material.  Scarification is essential for the continued vigour of a turf areas.  This process leaves the turf looking fairly roughed up for a period of time but it soon recovers and is much healthier for it in the months to come.


Aeration or coring is important in the relief of  soil compaction that is caused by normal everyday use or to alleiviate soil structure related issues.  Grass plants need free draining soil with a nice open structure to allow gaseous exchange for the roots to flourish.  Problems with soil structure can also contribute to poor turf growth, clay soils can form solid pans that do not allow for good root growth, penetration of water or oxygen.

All of these issues can be relieved with regular Aeration or Coring.  This process involves using either a machine or manual tools which punch ‘cores’ of soil and turf out of the surface.  This process removes build ups of thatch and a section of the sub soil, leaving open holes all over the lawn area.  It is through these holes that oxygen and water can now penetrate.  These new hole allow you a great opportunity to replace some of that soil with either sand or soil blends (to improve drainage) or to add some organic fertilizers and wetting agents.  The holes will over time be filled in with new roots and stems.  By coring every year you are improving the structure of the soil under the turf.

Depending on the issues present in your turf areas you may want to both Scarify and Aerate/Core.  Both methods will allow the removal of dead thatch and compaction, freshening up the area for new growth to take hold.  It is after these treatments while the soil is scuffed up that you have an opportunity to plant winter grass seed.

Over sowing

If you have a warm season grass that will go into some kind dormancy and maybe even brown off a little during the winter now is a great time to over sow with a winter grass species seed.  The remaining warmth and humidity in Autumn can be perfect for germinating seed.  With less competition from weed growth it is easier for seedlings to gain a foothold and establish before the colder times ahead. In this way you can have a green grass all through those winter months.  This is also a great time to plant new turf areas or patch up holes that exist.

All of these tasks add up to premium lawn through winter into spring.  As we keep saying here at Inscape Horticultural gardens in Melbourne never really stop completely, our Autumns and Winters just aren’t that cold.  The colder months still offer great opportunities for development and improvement within the garden.

Inscape Horticultural offers full lawn care opportunities.  We can help you have the perfect lawn you’ve always wanted to enjoy.  Nothing better than laying on those perfect green blades.

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