October is prime time for carrying out lawn care tasks

Torbay Weekly

Men of a certain age, and it’s usually us, can easily become fixated by the quality of their lawn however huge or postage stamp sized.

I have at times fallen into this trap myself and still have a minor fixation although I stop at using either scissors or a comb.

My own thinking around this is that it gives us something in our lives that we can safely maintain control over when all about there is chaos and disorder.

At this time of year the lawn has had all manner of wear and tear throughout the summer.

In my case, it’s where the dogs have created a path while racing down to the bottom of the garden to remonstrate with cats, squirrels and the occasional hedgehog.

There is also a designated cricket pitch that has been used randomly.

All this will need reparation and now is a great time.

With a lawn, you reap the rewards of the work you put in and that is pretty much guaranteed.

There is no downloading malfunction or waiting for the latest technological update.

You have that honest transaction of getting out what you put in.

October is a prime time in the year for carrying out lawn care tasks.

Do it now and you will be well ahead of the game come spring.

The first thing to do is rake all the moss and thatch - dead grass - out of the lawn to get more air and light into the grass which reduces the likelihood of disease and helps get oxygen into the roots for strong growth.

You'll be surprised how much debris the rake brings up but it will enrich the compost bin no end.

Once you’re satisfied that you’ve got all of it out, or even that you’re too shattered to do any more, then you can start to spike or aerate the lawn.

You can use a garden fork for this, working methodically over the lawn pushing it in deep and giving it a wriggle around to disturb compacted areas or where moss has congregated.

Moss is the enemy of any greenkeeper and loves damp and dark areas.

I usually deal with moss by spiking and adding sharp sand to improve drainage.

As soon as you have finished with the fork, you will want to cover the lawn with sharp sand and brush it into the holes.

This will improve drainage and is even better repeated over a few years.

I've found the addition of sand will ease the removal of any unwanted weeds such as daisies or dandelions.

The point of a lawn is to have a space to celebrate grass and only grass.

There are, of course, many lawn weeding treatments in the form of ‘weed and feed’ or ‘lawn sand’ that can be scattered on the lawn but these can be harmful to the environment and are left to personal choice.

Raking, spiking and the addition of sharp sand is generally a good thing at this time of year if you are avoiding being too sophisticated.

It's not too late to put down more grass seed on bare patches but do it quickly while the temperature allows for germination, which is between 9-12 degrees.

Any lumps and bumps can be levelled by the addition of ‘top dressing’ which is a merely the addition of bulky material to the surface of the turf, usually soil and sand.

Doing this will, over years, level out the lawn.

Bumps can be raised by cutting a ‘H’ shape into the lawn and opening it up to add the dressing before replacing the turf and watering.

Doing the work now will leave you with that warm feeling of a job well done and that you have everything in hand for next March when the sound of cranking mower engines is all you can hear on a Sunday morning.