November 2023 Lawn Diary
This Month in a Nutshell
November pretty much concludes the year's lawn care; mowing more or less comes to an end though the mower may get plenty of use sucking up leaves and the moss may keep you busy for a while yet!
Summary 'to do' list for November:
- Perhaps the last cut of the year
- Possible late Fertilising due to late grass growth
- Applications of Ferrous Sulphate
- Clearing leaves
Mild wet October weather has kept lawns growing and therefor hungry. It will also have leached out a lot of nutrients so be prepared for later than usual applications of autumn fertiliser. The alternative for those who have already applied an autumn feed is to apply two lots of winter fertiliser; one this month and one in the new year. This could be very beneficial as our winter fertiliser also controls moss which is more than likely having a great time in your lawn right now!
Lots of you scarifying and over seeding VERY late and sometimes it's a risk you have to take. I hope you get away with it and have a great lawn going into the winter otherwise mother nature will set a few of her own seeds in the empty spaces making more work for the spring!
As we move into November expect a few frosty mornings so be careful if aerating as frost can cause the lawn to heave. However, that isn't the only problem: the cooler wetter conditions will bring on the moss as mentioned but also an abundance of toadstools, worms and worm casts . Though beneficial, worms can cause considerable mess.
Here's what the Met Office has to say for November:
29th October - 7th November An unsettled start to this period, with a low pressure likely tracking northeastwards across the UK, bringing strong winds to many areas, as well as further, potentially persistent and heavy, rain to parts of northeast England and eastern Scotland. As this erratically clears eastwards, colder conditions may spread south into northern areas for a time. Any colder spell will probably be short-lived as further Atlantic system make inroads from the west or southwest, maintaining the broadly unsettled and often windy theme for the end of this period, whilst ushering in milder air to most if not all parts of the UK. Aside from east-facing hills in the north, western and southwestern areas are likely to be wettest into early November.
8th - 22nd November An uncertain period in which the UK may well find itself in a battleground between high pressure located to the north or northeast and low pressure to the south or southwest. It is currently quite unclear as to which one, if indeed either, wins out, but the greatest chance of above average rainfall will be further to the south, especially through the first part of this period. Increasing incidences of drier, settled weather are more likely later in the period and more generally further to the north. Temperatures will most likely average out near to a little above normal for most, but as we delve deeper into autumn, the chances of some colder spells increases.
In our new section Lawn Care Problems we have added dozens of new articles to help you care for your lawn. They answer many of the most common and not so common problems and questions you ask us on a day to day basis. Here are the latest articles added during the last few months:
New for this Lawn Diary
From the previous Lawn Diary
Please visit the most import and current seasonal articles here
Chances are your next cut will be your last. In Scotland you have more than likely finished mowing. If you do mow make sure you've raised the mowing height by 1-2 settings. In addition, don't be afraid to give the lawn a light HIGH topping on a dry day anytime over winter to keep it looking tidy.
If cooler wet weather has caused a resurgence of moss raise the mowing height to the top so you just clip the leaves otherwise you'll enter spring with more moss than grass!
If you no longer think you'll need the mower give it a good clean and a service. This is quite easy to do. See the section on mower Cleaning & Maintenance.The mower can be useful for sucking up leaves so if leaves are a problem service the machine in January.
It's getting a bit late for applying autumn fertiliser in the north - certainly from the borders northwards. If temperatures are typical for November then everyone else can still play outside until mid November with those in the south being able to feed until end November. If you need to add fertiliser make sure it is low dose slow release nitrogen and high potassium such as Lawnsmith AUTUMN Fertiliser or, from now through winter, use a high iron winter fertiliser such as WINTER GREEN. This can be used twice particularly if conditions are wet, mild or you have an abundance of moss.
If you have already fertilised and want to give the lawn a bit extra to protect from disease, reduce moss activity and also give the grass a green-up try a medium strength liquid application of Ferrous Sulphate. This is also useful to slightly reduce worm activity which may be evident in the cooler wetter conditions.
Definitely a bit late. The best you will achieve with weed killer in these cool conditions is to make them poorly. Best wait now until the spring.
Many of you will soon be experiencing major problems with moss in the lawn as the weather cools and grass growth stops. For now you're too late to do anything radical as you'll be left with a much disfigured lawn.
Taking a gentler approach may well pay dividends however. If the moss infestation isn't too severe apply Ferrous Sulphate (Soluble Iron)in solution at 4-5g per square metre once or twice over the winter period. Alternatively apply Winter Green High Iron Fertiliser once over winter. In spring you will have far less moss to rake out - many of you may not even need to do that! On the other hand, if you are already over run with moss there is not much to be done other than wait until spring, treat with Ferrous Sulphate, rake it out and over seed with a good grass seed. By starting with a clean slate next year you should be able to keep the moss in check next winter with just ferrous sulphate.
For those of you with concerns for safety of children and pets that are likely to be on the lawn soon after treating you can now use a chemical free product in your treatment program. See MossOff in the moss killer products link below.
Only do this prior to applying ferrous sulphate if the weather has been dry. A light sprinkle to damp things down is all that is required.
We are coming to the end of the period for hollow tine aeration and possibly slitting. If you do use these methods then make sure there is no frost in the forecast in the short term as the lawn will quite possibly freeze and swell if frost occurs.
Using other forms of lawn aeration equipment is very beneficial and less prone to heaving in frost. Anything that makes a small hole whether powered or manual such as aerator sandals, rolling lawn aerator or the garden fork.
No way Jose
Leaves: Weekly collection is very important for grass health and to reduce moss, disease and worm activity. If you have a rotary mower and the leaves are dry use it to suck up the leaves.
Make sure conditions are not too wet or soft before working on the lawn. If the surface is firm then re-cutting edges is in order plus any repairs using turf.
Disease: Two diseases rust and fusarium may be present at this time of year. Fusarium is the more likely one as we go into November with high risk during the damp foggy months of November. If the risk of fusarium increases we will issue a lawn alert.
Fusarium can also be a sign of poor turf health, high thatch levels, poor air circulation, compaction or just persistent wet conditions. Do look for possible causes though as you can resolve any problems ready for next year.
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. 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.
The problem end of the worm is the cast and your lawn may be covered with them by now. Brushing doesn't work when the casts are wet but you can reduce the casting. Making the surface of the soil less palatable is how most worm control products work and we still believe that an application of Soluble Iron or Ferrous Sulphate is as reliable as most and definitely the most cost effective control method. It is ideal if you are already using it as part of a moss control program.
Finally, toadstools will be appearing which generally should not be of concern other than to keep you busy picking them out.
Unlikely to be required until next spring unless you've over sowed with grass seed earlier in the autumn.
Too late. Wait now until good growth in spring.
If you've been waiting for cooler wetter weather for turfing them the time is ripe from now into March at least.
Thanks for visiting the Lawn Diary
Have a great month