Fall Lawn Care: How to Repair After a Drought

Summer can leave lawns hard and patchy. Try these tips for improving a summer-damaged lawn. 

Step 1: Scratch Out Thatch

Scratch Out Thatch

Scratch Out Thatch

"For fall lawn care, start by using a spring-tined rake to vigorously scratch out or ""scarify"" thatch. Treat moss and make sure it is dead before scarifying; raking live moss spreads the problem around."

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use a spring-tined rake to vigorously scratch out or “scarify” thatch. Treat moss and make sure it is dead before scarifying; raking live moss spreads the problem around.

Step 2: Aerate

Aerating Lawn Keeps It Healthy and Productive

Aerating Lawn Keeps It Healthy and Productive

Aerating is the process of inserting holes in the lawn for better water absorption, nutrient absorption and helping in the process of eliminating thatch, making it healthy and productive.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Aerate the lawn every 2–3 years. This is easiest when the soil is moist. Drive in a fork, or on heavy soils use a hollow-tiner to remove cores of soil, every 4 in (10 cm).

Step 3: Apply Dressing

Apply Top Dressing

Apply Top Dressing

For fall lawn care, apply top-dressing directly after aerating, spreading the mixture evenly over the surface.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Apply top-dressing directly after aerating, spreading the mixture evenly over the surface—one bucketful will cover approximately 6 sq yd (5 sq m). Make top-dressing using 3 parts sandy loam, 6 parts horticultural sand, and 1 part peat substitute (such as composted bark or coir).

Step 4: Work it In

Work it In

Work it In

After applying top-dressing work it in with a stiff broom or back of a rake. Allow mixture to dry slightly before brushing it in.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Work the top-dressing well into the grass and the air holes using the back of a rake or a stiff broom. To make the job easier, allow the mixture to dry slightly before brushing it in.

Step 5: Spread at Right Angles

Spread at Right Angles

Spread at Right Angles

In fall, apply a lawn fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package. For an even spread, scatter half in one direction and the other half at right angles to it.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Apply a fall lawn fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package. For an even spread, scatter half the fertilizer in one direction and the other half at right angles to it.

Step 6: Seed Sparse Areas

Seeding Sparse Areas

Seeding Sparse Areas

If the lawn looks sparse, sprinkle it with some seed. Choose a seed type to match the rest of the lawn and use about half of what is recommended for sowing a new lawn.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

If the lawn looks sparse, sprinkle it with some seed. Choose a seed type to match the rest of the lawn and use about half the amount recommended for sowing a new lawn.

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