Caring for Your Lawn Year-Round

Use this seasonal guide to keep your lawn and other outdoor spaces healthy throughout all four seasons.

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Shred Raked Leaves and Add to Compost DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

1. Feeding: Whereas spring feeds are high in nitrogen to encourage the lawn to grow, the key ingredient in fall feeds is potassium because this encourages strong growth and will toughen up the grass for winter.

2. Top-dressing: Spread a good quality top-dressing evenly over the lawn, and then brush into the holes created by aerating; ensure that it is all brushed in, otherwise it will kill the grass. Commercial mixes can be bought, but you can make your own by mixing sand, good quality compost, and loam.

3. Mowing: Lawns will still need an occasional cut on a high setting. The last cut of the year should be in late fall.

4. Raking: Once you have raked up fallen leaves, shred them using a rotary mower and add them to the compost.

5. Scarifying: Use a spring-tined rake or a mechanical scarifier to rip the thatch out of the lawn. Scarify in two directions, the second time deeper than the first; this scarification should be more vigorous than the spring scarification. Rake up all the removed thatch, and add it to the compost heap.

6. Aerating: The lawn should be spiked down to about 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) with either a fork or a mechanical aerator. Solid tining should be done every year, and about every three or four years hollow tining can be performed instead.

7. Renovating turf: This is a good time to lay turf or seed the lawn since the soil will be warm. This should also allow enough time for the lawn to establish itself before the onset of winter. Patches can be returfed, and hollows and bumps smoothed out. Sow grass seed on bare patches of lawn.

Winter

There is little to do with the lawn during winter; avoid walking on it during frosty periods since this can leave black marks where the grass will eventually die back.

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