Autumn Lawn Care

Autumn Lawn Care

As autumn approaches the weather “should” start cooling and getting wetter; the ideal time to consider tasks such as feeding and weeding and to tackle any maintenance and repairs before winter.

Why is Autumn a Good Time for Lawn Care?

The main considerations when doing pretty much anything to the lawn are grass safety and adequate moisture and warmth for growth and recovery. In autumn we still have warm weather plus residual heat in the ground from the summer; it should get wetter and there are fewer weed seeds about. Ideal conditions for seeding, feeding, weeding, aerating, scarifying and most lawn repairs. Turfing and repairs with turf can be done now but are normally done from October to March to remove the need for watering and enable good root development before use in the spring.

You know your local climate better than anyone, so timing should be just as things cool but with sufficient time left for fertiliser to work or seed to germinate and grow before the onset of winter. Adjust by keeping up to date with the long range forecast as every year is different. Avoid a set routine based on some arbitrary date and DON’T start seeding jobs too late!

What if Autumn is Dry?

There is still plenty to do but some jobs may need to be delayed for a few weeks until conditions get wetter. Improving the ability of the lawn to catch and utilise rainfall or watering by introducing a Wetting Agent together with some shallow spiking will speed things up immensely when you start watering or when rain arrives. See How to Revive a Hard Dry Lawn

These treatments can easily be delayed by a month or so until conditions change. They will still to be highly beneficial before the onset of winter and may be even more important to help the lawn recover from drought.

  • Fertilising
  • Weed Control
  • Moss Suppression with Moss Killer

Some tasks that take time such as scarifying and seeding may need to be postponed until next year. This can be a problem if your lawn has been severely damaged due to a long hot dry summer and is not going to completely recover. However, doing intensive treatments to the lawn in the wrong conditions can make things worse.

Below are two groups of tasks. Those "tasks that you should do" are easy to postpone until conditions improve and should be done without question. The second group can be done if needed and IF conditions are right.

Lawn Tasks you SHOULD do

Feeding the Lawn in Autumn

September and October are great months for the Autumn lawn feed. Not only does this give you a fantastic lawn now, helping it recover from summer use but also 'winterizes' the lawn giving it some protection from the ravages of winter temperatures and disease.

Our Autumn Fertiliser can be applied anytime from middle August through to November, though I'd consider no later than end October for Scotland.


Autumn and in particular September and October is the time for hollow tining the lawn. If you're scarifying the lawn as well do it before tining. Other forms of aeration are perfectly acceptable but hollow tining is by far the best way to aerate at this time of year particularly if you aerate infrequently or have a moss problem. Hire a machine or visit our shop for a handy Hollow Tine Aerator.


Keep at it but start raising the mowing height to get to ‘winter height’ by the end of the mowing season. If it’s a rotary mower and the lawn is dry use it to suck up leaves.


You must keep the lawn clear on a weekly basis. See the next page for guidance.

Lawn Tasks to do if Needed

Weed Control

Most weed seeds will have germinated in your lawn by now so September should be considered as your last opportunity to clobber the weeds that remain. The most noticeable weeds at this time of year are cinquefoil, yarrow, thistles, hawks beard and hawk-bit.

Moss Control

With the approach of wetter weather, moss will be making a comeback so consider cultural control methods, moss treatments with applications of a ferrous sulphate based moss killer or raking the moss out or ideally, a combination of all three.

Watering the Lawn

This is unlikely unless you have little soil moisture and are planning lawn renovations such as scarifying, aeration or seeding. If you do water this month do it in the mornings to reduce the likelihood of disease.

Raking & Scarifying

The lawn can always benefit from a brisk raking but always check for thatch before scarifying. If there is minimal thatch and you don't need to over seed don't scarify.

Don't forget to fertilise and over seed your lawn after scarifying. This is an often neglected part of the renovation process leading to slow recovery, patchy lawns and lots of weeds and weed grasses. So, use the Autumn fertiliser and over sow with new grass seed to make your lawns sparkle.

Repairs & Renovations

Renovation requires water to help grass seed germinate and to assist existing grass to repair and recover. Only undertake renovation if you can water if conditions are or become dry. Any turfing laid will require regular watering to establish.

Traditionally October heralds the start of the turfing season as there is plenty of moisture and little dry weather enabling the turf to root without the need for watering.

Pests & Diseases

Worms: Though it's best to treat for worms at the first sign, they will continue to surface throughout the winter and produce muddy casts that cause mowing problems in the spring. Worms are beneficial in that they digest organic matter providing nutrients and enriching the soil. They also do some valuable aeration. A lawn with worms is generally far healthier than one without. Though only moderately reliable we still feel Ferrous Sulphate is the most cost effective way to reduce worm casting.

Finally, toadstools may start appearing which generally should not be of concern but more importantly you may have started seeing Crane Fly (Daddy Longlegs) in the garden and the house. If you see a lot flying about the lawn have a read of Crane Fly & Leather Jackets though unfortunately there is no reliable treatment should you have an infestation of leather jackets.

Top Dressing

Top dressing is an advanced lawn care procedure to reduce thatch and smooth the lawn surface. If you are not a lawn nut then I suggest you don't need to bother!

If you are and growth is good, then you should be considering applications from August into October. Combine topdressing with any other lawn renovation procedure you may wish to undertake.

The New Lawn

With the potential for wetter weeks you should be seeding prepared ground for your new lawn. Be prepared to water if the weather turns dry. The seed needs to be in by mid month for Scotland and end of September for everyone else otherwise it may not have the warmth to germinate.