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weed and feed and seed end of summer

By now you should have seen some crane fly (daddy long legs) about. The larvae can cause some serious turf damage so have a read of the crane fly article though unfortunately there is not much you can do if you do have an infestation of grubs as there are now no chemical treatments.

Traditionally August (for Scotland), September (for southern England) and either for pretty much everyone else is the prime scarifying time. This may seem early to some but it is vital that conditions and growth are good so that the lawn recovers well before the winter. If you leave it too late the recovery stops due to the cold!

If you’ve been diligent with your weed control and only have a few weeds then keep at it with a combination of spot treating individual weeds with a Ready to Use Weed Killer or manually removing them.

Pests & Diseases

Autumn is a great time for aeration particularly as the soil will be getting softer as we progress through the autumn season. Once you feel the heat has gone out of the summer and things are definitely getting wetter rather than drier then hollow tining the lawn is the best. This will improve drainage, get oxygen to the roots, stimulate grass growth and reduce surface moisture desired by the moss.

The disease to watch out for from May through to late summer is red thread which occurs as humidity levels rise. With rain and therefore humidity this will become active in many lawns. Getting a good dose of fertiliser in is an important part of the treatment but do read the red thread section for more information. Hopefully this is the last month we will see it actively eating our grass and next month will give us greener lawns.

For the mowing season you need to do two things: keep it clean and keep it sharp. If the grass is damp it can easily build up inside the mower so always give the mower a good brush, scrape or hose down after every use. Secondly, if you do a lot of mowing, then be prepared to sharpen or swap blades midyear to maintain a clean cut.

Summary ‘to do’ list for August:

Grass seed overseeding tips

Other lawn improvement options

It’s been a tough summer season on lawns — little rain and outdoor activities can compact and stress the lawn. Not to mention dealing with overrun weeds, or simply trying to make due with a mature landscape that has more shade, or a lawn that is over 30 years old and tired. Consider doing a lawn rejuvenation between now and the end of September on existing cool-season Kentucky blue, fescue or rye grass. The goal is to introduce newer, better-adapted grass seed that in time will overtake the older variety and form a thicker, healthier and more attractive lawn. It may take a few growing seasons of the rejuvenation procedure for the newer grass to take hold, but why not give it a try — it’s less money and effort then re-sodding the entire lawn or moving!

The three-step rejuvenation process includes aeration, also called core cultivation, overseeding with new grass seed and fertilizing (optional). First, shop at local garden centers for improved and more drought-tolerant grass seed varieties. Read the seed descriptions on the bins of seeds or ask for help matching your current turf species. Look for ones that will work for your sunlight and traffic conditions. Careful with buying big box store grass seeds that are sold everywhere in America — they could have added seeds like clover and may not match well. Now get going:

When overseeding an existing lawn, choose a grass seed or combination of seeds with similar appearance.