Guest post: autumn care tips

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Alex Edwards of Inturf offers a general guide to the upkeep and maintenance of established turf areas during the autumn months.

September

The frequency of mowing should decrease, unless there is an extended warm/dry spell, and the height of cut can be raised gradually to between 6mm (¼”) and 12mm (½”) above the summer height.

If the underlying soil is heavy and firm, start to hollow core (spiking with hollow tines), followed by application of top-dressings.

Bulk top-dressings should be applied evenly with an appropriate machine (if the garden exceeds 500 square metres) or by hand and brushed into the sward. Avoid smothering the grass too much.

Coverage on average should be roughly one bag of soil per 100 square metres, varying the amounts depending on any depressions or irregularities in surface levels.

It is advisable to add a mixture of seed in with the top-dressing material in order to increase the population of grass in any worn areas.

Worms may become active again at this time of the year. If this is a problem, treat the area with a proprietary brand of worm killer, although cultural methods are just as effective such as brushing, switching and regular good management.

Light rolling may be useful, but only if absolutely necessary and if there are no visible worm casts, which can smother the grass if rolled.

It will no longer be necessary to scarify the area, apart from maybe a light raking to remove worm casts, and providing this has been undertaken on a fairly regular basis throughout the spring and summer. Heavy scarification now may cause too much damage and the grass will only recover next spring.

An application of fertiliser can be made towards the end of the month. This will provide the nourishment the grass needs and harden the grass plants, making them less susceptible to disease.

October

Regular mowing gradually comes to an end, although when weather conditions are suitable, mow the area as frequently as demanded by the length of growth.

Keep the area free from debris and leaves and try to use this month to “rest” the area in readiness for the winter months.

A further smaller application of fertiliser may prove useful to really harden the grass plant off for the winter months.

Make sure there are at least four weeks between your September and October applications of fertiliser.

November

During frost-free and fairly dry periods this month, mow the area as and when necessary – the blades now set at their highest level.

Always remove debris from the surface to help prevent disease.

General

No mention has been made of fungicide applications, as we feel that these are only necessary when the first signs of disease are evident. So, although we don’t recommend precautionary treatments of fungicide, it would be recommended that you stock some contact, broad-spectrum fungicide of a proprietary brand and, at the first signs of disease, spray the affected areas very quickly.

Inturf grows turf on farms in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire for applications including amenity landscapes, bowling greens, golf courses, horse racing tracks, parks and playing fields, roof gardens, tennis courts, cricket squares and gardens. The company also supplies fibre reinforced turf, top soils, bark mulch and soil conditioners and has a nationwide network of installation teams. Inturf is a member of the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA).

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