How to Treat Your Lawn in the Fall

Keep your lawn healthy in the fall and learn how to repair damaged turf with these step-by-step instructions.
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After a summer of heavy use many lawns start showing signs of wear and tear by the end of the season. Early autumn is a great time to repair the damage and to ensure that your turf is in good condition for the year ahead.

Rake Out Moss

Kill off any moss with a lawn moss herbicide before vigorously scratching out dead material (thatch) from the lawn with a spring-tined rake; rent a motorized scarifier for large lawns. Raking improves the look and health of the turf.

Raking Improves Health of Lawn

Raking Improves Health of Lawn

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Aerate the Soil

Open up air channels in a compacted lawn by pushing a border fork into the soil, or use a hollow tiner, which pulls out plugs of soil. Work across the lawn at 4-inch intervals. Repeat this process every two years.

Aerate Compacted Soil with Border Fork

Aerate Compacted Soil with Border Fork

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Apply Top Dressing

After raking and aerating the lawn, work a top dressing into the holes. You can buy this premixed from garden centers and hardware stores, but it's easy and cost effective on large lawns to make your own.

Apply Top Dressing to Aerated Lawn

Apply Top Dressing to Aerated Lawn

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Brush in Dressing

Work in the top dressing thoroughly using a stiff brush or besom, lightly filling the new aeration channels, and covering the ground to encourage strong rooting. Apply it evenly and make sure the grass isn't smothered.

Use Stiff Brush to Work Top Dressing into Lawn

Use Stiff Brush to Work Top Dressing into Lawn

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Feed and Sow

Wearing gloves, apply a granular autumn lawn fertilizer evenly over marked out squares. Water in if no rain falls within three days of applying it. In early autumn, the soil is sufficiently warm and moist to sow grass seed too. Sprinkle seed to match your lawn type at half the recommended rate for new lawns to help thicken up any bald spots.

Spreading Lawn Fertilizer in Autumn

Spreading Lawn Fertilizer in Autumn

Spread granular lawn fertilizer on lawns in the autumn to fill in bald spots, promote root growth, and replace lost nutrients.

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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