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Autumn Lawn Care

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
Clariman
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Autumn Lawn Care

#444758

Postby Clariman » September 23rd, 2021, 3:33 pm

As we near the end of the lawn growing season, I have quite a bit of moss and lots of clover that I'd like to reduce before winter. I'm not precious about the lawn but would like to leave it in reasonable shape.

The 4 in 1 type lawn feed-and-weed stuff I put on earlier in the year says it can be used for a second time around now. There is also an Autumn Care product available from the same company. I had read in a couple of places that feeding any nitrogen-rich feed to a lawn at this time of year wasn't good because it stimulates growth at the wrong time of year. I think the Autumn Care product has about 6% nitrogen whereas the other is more than double.

I'm more interested in suppressing weeds at the moment, so what is the best thing to do?

  • Just use the 4-in-1. It will be fine
  • Use Autumn Care. It has less nitrogen so it is good at this time of year
  • Just leave it all to die back and tackle in the spring
  • Something else

Thanks
C

88V8
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444775

Postby 88V8 » September 23rd, 2021, 4:31 pm

Clariman wrote:As we near the end of the lawn growing season, I have quite a bit of moss and lots of clover that I'd like to reduce before winter.

The Autumn stuff will do no harm and may help.

Moss likes damp and poor drainage, you might try spiking it all over with a fork.
Here in the damp south-west we have a lot of moss. Three years ago I bought a powered scarifier and used it in spring, in conjunction with a laborious and carefully measured treatment of ferrous sulphate.
Now, I'd say the moss is as thick as ever was.

Learn to love your moss. And if you let the grass grow a bit longer, the clover will flower... clover, beloved of bees.

V8

Midsmartin
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444783

Postby Midsmartin » September 23rd, 2021, 5:04 pm

I agree. I like the new fashion: embrace biodiversity, and celebrate having as many species in your lawn as you can. The bees, birds and hedgehogs will thank you! We have monocultures in farm fields, and our gardens are places to move away from that. Celebrate a lawn full of clover, daisies, or even dandelions.

Wildlife doesn't really like you applying good to the lawn, as aggressive grasses respond and take over from anything else.

Clariman
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444786

Postby Clariman » September 23rd, 2021, 5:08 pm

Well it's all a question of balance. We have loads of bees because of all the flowering plants and shrubs in the garden .... they would be pretty satisfied without the clover. And we let the birds eat the blueberries before we get to them.

I'm not wanting perfection in the lawn, but a slightly higher percentage of grass would be good.

Dod101
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444795

Postby Dod101 » September 23rd, 2021, 5:32 pm

In south Perthshire in a fairly wet spot I can keep moss under control by feeding in the spring with the 4 in 1 feed. I also either scarify or rake the moss areas before applying the feed in the spring and if it is under control that will do it. Do not use 4 in 1 now. The Autumn feed may help but I am sorry to say that raking out and scarifying and feeding in the spring is the only real way to keep it under control.

I would rake now if that is feasible in terms of the size of the lawn and then apply Autumn feed, but do not leave it too long because it is not possible to do anything in waterlogged conditions or frost.

Dod

scotview
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444810

Postby scotview » September 23rd, 2021, 6:48 pm

In the spring and autumn I sow grass seed directly onto the lawn, liberally in the worst places, and brush it in. This seems to work and defeats the moss to some extent. I use a non-rye mix to bring a degree of fineness to the turf.

I sowed the back end grass a couple of weeks ago and it cost £10, for a poly bag worth, from the local hardware shop.

scrumpyjack
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444820

Postby scrumpyjack » September 23rd, 2021, 7:19 pm

Golf courses spike/hollow core their greens and put loads of sand on them. That helps drainage and helps the grass vs the moss. When we were having some lawn laid decades ago the guys doing it applied huge quantities of sand and said that was very good for lawns.

Dod101
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444829

Postby Dod101 » September 23rd, 2021, 7:54 pm

scrumpyjack wrote:Golf courses spike/hollow core their greens and put loads of sand on them. That helps drainage and helps the grass vs the moss. When we were having some lawn laid decades ago the guys doing it applied huge quantities of sand and said that was very good for lawns.


Yes I see this being done on a regular basis on the local golf courses, but I think that is because they mow them every day and keep the grass very much shorter than anyone would do on a domestic patch. They also spray them with a fertilizer two or three times over the growing season. To be honest I do not think that there is much of a comparison to be made between the treatment of a golf course grass and the domestic equivalent.

Dod

tjh290633
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444833

Postby tjh290633 » September 23rd, 2021, 8:02 pm

I have the opposite problem - grass in my moss. As it happens I have a lot of wild orchids in the lawns, so weedkillers etc. are not possible. This year there have been lots of other flowering species in the grass, like clover, red and white, cranesbill, lesser trefoil, etc. and the usual suspects - daisies and buttercups, plus dandelions. Insect life enjoys it.

TJH

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444866

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » September 23rd, 2021, 10:13 pm

Clariman wrote:As we near the end of the lawn growing season, I have quite a bit of moss and lots of clover that I'd like to reduce before winter. I'm not precious about the lawn but would like to leave it in reasonable shape.

The 4 in 1 type lawn feed-and-weed stuff I put on earlier in the year says it can be used for a second time around now. There is also an Autumn Care product available from the same company. I had read in a couple of places that feeding any nitrogen-rich feed to a lawn at this time of year wasn't good because it stimulates growth at the wrong time of year. I think the Autumn Care product has about 6% nitrogen whereas the other is more than double.

I'm more interested in suppressing weeds at the moment, so what is the best thing to do?

  • Just use the 4-in-1. It will be fine
  • Use Autumn Care. It has less nitrogen so it is good at this time of year
  • Just leave it all to die back and tackle in the spring
  • Something else

Thanks
C

Creating a greener lawn with less weeds is quite a time consuming job. Tackling weeds is the easiest part. Feed and weed will kill off the weeds, but they will regrow. One of the best solutions I found was to lift the blades on my lawn mower to there top setting and then to cut the lawn twice a week. Weeds hate being cut and also the grass with thicken up over a month or two and reduce the opportunities for weeds to thrive. I also used feed and weed and touch weed killers on more tough weeds. It seems counter intuitive to cut a lawn twice a week but it allows the lawn to build up a strong thatch. But the thatch then has to be raked once a year and doing that by hand can be hard work. There are mechanical rakes available though.

Moss will grow in areas of poor drainage where the lawn does not have a strong thatch. Northern lawns overshadowed by buildings don't get much sunlight and they too are a good place for moss to get a grip. Drainage will help but if the thatch is deep enough the moss will also struggle. I think some feed and weeds kill moss too.

AiY

Howard
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444871

Postby Howard » September 23rd, 2021, 10:23 pm

I've tried a number of treatments but over the last 20 years the one that works best for me is lawn sand applied in Spring.

As well as treating the whole lawn it can be used as a spot weed and moss killer later in the year. It's relatively cheap bought in bulk.

I also have a twice yearly visit by a lawn care company but ask them just to apply an appropriate fertiliser. The guy who visits me maybe flatters me by telling me my grass looks good. A couple of years ago he couldn't resist marking the only weed he could find in the lawn.

The grass grows on a chalky soil so it is not waterlogged but even the shady areas are moss free. Whilst the mower stripes the lawn, I don't cut it too low and this helps prevent moss I believe. It is occasionally scarified.

regards

Howard

Dod101
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444873

Postby Dod101 » September 23rd, 2021, 10:28 pm

Howard wrote:I've tried a number of treatments but over the last 20 years the one that works best for me is lawn sand applied in Spring.

As well as treating the whole lawn it can be used as a spot weed and moss killer later in the year. It's relatively cheap bought in bulk.

I also have a twice yearly visit by a lawn care company but ask them just to apply an appropriate fertiliser. The guy who visits me maybe flatters me by telling me my grass looks good. A couple of years ago he couldn't resist marking the only weed he could find in the lawn.

The grass grows on a chalky soil so it is not waterlogged but even the shady areas are moss free. Whilst the mower stripes the lawn, I don't cut it too low and this helps prevent moss I believe. It is occasionally scarified.

regards

Howard


I agree about not too low a cut. Many people I think cut it too finely and as a I said that is why the golf courses need so much attention.

Dod

88V8
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444975

Postby 88V8 » September 24th, 2021, 10:44 am

Dod101 wrote:....why the golf courses need so much attention.

Golf courses are beginning to be regarded as environmentally unfriendly.
A well maintained lawn is probably the most labour-intensive and environmentally harmful part of the garden.
Unfortunately, we do like to see those stripes.

We have ground elder in our grass. That will need some weedkiller next year, it's bad enough that it's in the beds.
Plus we recently had an extensive visitation from Mr Mole.
Just as well I'm not that fussed about the grass :(

V8 (used to frequent the rough of golf courses)

Arborbridge
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444985

Postby Arborbridge » September 24th, 2021, 11:05 am

The odd thing is, that I've concluded the best part of my lawn is the area populated by clover. It is a rich green all the time, doesn't grew too long and grows densely enough to keep the moss out, in the main.

So I've decided I quite like it, especially when we sometimes get the bonus of a few flowers too. In our old house, on chalk, we had a patch of harebells flowering in August, and they were strictly to be preserved and mown around.

This year, I left a tiny patch of grass uncut beyond the birch tree which shadows all. It started as no mow May, but became my deliberately scruffy bit, much to Mrs Arb's annoyance as it's in front of one her herbaceous borders. However, it hardly grew at all though it did throw up some nice grassy seed heads which look good in the wind when lit by the sun from behind.

I treated the bulk of the lawn last spring by a severe raking out of moss and some 4 in 1 stuff. That seemed to do the trick and killed the moss, much to my surprise, and there's no obvious moss this year. I also took the opportunity when it was wet and soggy of aerating the lawn. I have one of those hollow tine forks with about six prongs. On the chalk it was hopeless, only going in about 2 inches, but on clay when wet it seems much better. Mrs Arb doesn't like the cores hanging around, though. After doing the aeration I spread a few bags of top dressing sold for the purpose, though one needs mountains of the stuff to make any difference, so it was probably just a token effect.


Arb.

Dod101
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#444989

Postby Dod101 » September 24th, 2021, 11:09 am

Golf courses can be environmentally unfriendly but on the other hand, as you say they have (or at least some of them have) a lot of rough. I am not in the least concerned about that anyway. Hopefully Clariman has got enough ideas now that he can steer a course as he feels best to rid his grass of at least most of the moss or at the very least keep it under control.

Dod

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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#445172

Postby stewamax » September 24th, 2021, 11:51 pm

We are on Leicestershire claggy clay, aka moss-heaven. The only way I have found to remove it for good is on my hands and knees, ripping it out. Raking seems to leave roots (or whatever moss has). I fill the resulting crater (it does leave a dint) with sandy topsoil from a builders merchant and sow Boston Seeds Premier Lawn Grass Seed (usual disclaimers) that I buy in 10kg bags.

But battling clover is like ivy - a hard fought draw. Clariman would be best to zap it with Weedol Lawn before the growing season stops. It may be green but it takes over.

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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#445251

Postby Hypster » September 25th, 2021, 12:59 pm

Clariman wrote:
  • Just use the 4-in-1. It will be fine
  • Use Autumn Care. It has less nitrogen so it is good at this time of year
  • Just leave it all to die back and tackle in the spring
  • Something else


I use 4-in-1 twice a year and am happy with the results. I also rake, scarify, aerate, and top dress with "Field #4" from Field Compost. In fact I had a delivery just the other day. I save the "Autumn" lawn feed until much later in the Autumn.

Arborbridge wrote:I have one of those hollow tine forks with about six prongs.


I could never get mine to work: the first plunge into the ground fills up the tines, then the second one is supposed to push out the cores at the top but mine never come out! I've effectively ended up with a normal fork, which just compresses the soil to the sides of the holes. I've done the whole lawn and not a single core has come out!

Howard
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#445257

Postby Howard » September 25th, 2021, 1:21 pm

Hypster wrote:
Clariman wrote:
  • Just use the 4-in-1. It will be fine
  • Use Autumn Care. It has less nitrogen so it is good at this time of year
  • Just leave it all to die back and tackle in the spring
  • Something else


I use 4-in-1 twice a year and am happy with the results. I also rake, scarify, aerate, and top dress with "Field #4" from Field Compost. In fact I had a delivery just the other day. I save the "Autumn" lawn feed until much later in the Autumn.

Arborbridge wrote:I have one of those hollow tine forks with about six prongs.


I could never get mine to work: the first plunge into the ground fills up the tines, then the second one is supposed to push out the cores at the top but mine never come out! I've effectively ended up with a normal fork, which just compresses the soil to the sides of the holes. I've done the whole lawn and not a single core has come out!


This may read a little "nerdish" but I had the same experience as you many years ago. So I used an electric drill with an old 30 cm long masonry drill to drill holes in any area where the grass didn't grow well. Back in the days before modern batteries it was a good way to run down the drill battery before charging. I sprinkled a little grass seed onto the patches and looking now, I can't remember where I did it because the grass has grown. This technique worked on one or two damp mossy patches too. A bit labour-intensive but very good for small areas.

regards

Howard

kiloran
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#445262

Postby kiloran » September 25th, 2021, 1:49 pm

Howard wrote:
Hypster wrote:
Clariman wrote:
  • Just use the 4-in-1. It will be fine
  • Use Autumn Care. It has less nitrogen so it is good at this time of year
  • Just leave it all to die back and tackle in the spring
  • Something else


I use 4-in-1 twice a year and am happy with the results. I also rake, scarify, aerate, and top dress with "Field #4" from Field Compost. In fact I had a delivery just the other day. I save the "Autumn" lawn feed until much later in the Autumn.

Arborbridge wrote:I have one of those hollow tine forks with about six prongs.


I could never get mine to work: the first plunge into the ground fills up the tines, then the second one is supposed to push out the cores at the top but mine never come out! I've effectively ended up with a normal fork, which just compresses the soil to the sides of the holes. I've done the whole lawn and not a single core has come out!


This may read a little "nerdish" but I had the same experience as you many years ago. So I used an electric drill with an old 30 cm long masonry drill to drill holes in any area where the grass didn't grow well. Back in the days before modern batteries it was a good way to run down the drill battery before charging. I sprinkled a little grass seed onto the patches and looking now, I can't remember where I did it because the grass has grown. This technique worked on one or two damp mossy patches too. A bit labour-intensive but very good for small areas.

regards

Howard

Same problem here with a hollow-tine fork. Very heavy clay here and the lawn is probably 90 years old and well trampled. I get 2-3 cubic metres of moss every time I scarify it.
The soil is so heavy I had to tie a large sledgehammer to the fork to give it enough inertia when I thrust it down. Simply standing on the fork just isn't enough. Real hard work.

I like the idea of an electric drill, so I think I'll go and try an 18mm wood auger in the next day or so.

--kiloran

kempiejon
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Re: Autumn Lawn Care

#445264

Postby kempiejon » September 25th, 2021, 2:05 pm

When I mow I tend to try a longer more frequent cut and usually leave my trimmings on the lawn. My mechanical rake has 2 blades one scarifies with short springy tines and a second aerates with longer cutting blades. I scarify in the spring and sometimes aerate in autumn, I think it's due this autumn, perhaps a job for this weekend, I think it's set dry. There's a couple of shady areas where the moss has the better of me this year. I think if I took all the moss in the worst patches out now I'd be left with bare earth.


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