Although the days are short and the weather generally overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
At this time of the year your lawn will be suffering from inevitable wear and tear, and will be in need of some Autumn care and attention. Nathan James Dodd says that, before the temperature drops too much, you should put in place a grass recovery programme.
Start by removing any leaves when they get blown of the trees, you don't want them to form a covering of decaying vegetation suffocating the grass. This must continue throughout the autumn and, if the leaves have piled up, a pair of leaf grabbers might be ideal.
Scarifying to remove 'thatch' i.e. dead grass and other debris is an excellent start. This is especially important is you do not collect grass when you're mowing. You will be making it so much easier for rain and fertilizer to penetrate to the roots and less easy for diseases to develop.
Treat any moss with moss killer a fortnight before starting and then use a normal garden grass rake, not too vigorously. You may be surprised at the amount that is collected and added in layers with other organic material to your compost bin.
Aeration is probably the single most important task, not only in the autumn but throughout the year. Lawns need to be spiked in introduce air and allow water to seep through to the roots.
It's a good idea to concentrate on the areas that receive the most traffic and are therefore the most compacted. However aerating the entire lawn will increase its vigour and tolerance to both drought and waterlogging.
Spike the lawn making holes about 6ins apart (if you have a fork with hollow tines this will extract plugs of earth) and then brush in a top dressing of loam, sharp sand and organic matter.
Autumn is also a good time to flatten any bumps and level dips in the grass. Use a spade to cut around the area and then roll back the grass. Then either remove excess earth to level or insert some soil to rectify a trough.
If you have had goal posts or play equipment on the grass all summer, the resultant bare patches will need to be repaired.
To re-seed work over the area to form a fine seed bed, then sow the seed evenly and cover with a moist layer of compost. Firm down and then keep moist until the seedlings appear. You can also consider using a ready mix of coir, seeds and fertilizer.
Finally, preferably after rain when the temperature is still warm, use an autumn lawn phosphate and potash rich fertiliser to encourage strong root growth (don't use a spring fertilizer as this has a high level of nitrogen).
Nathan James Dodd
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