Should I Put an Autumn Feed on the Grass?
Most folk doing just the basics to keep the grass in reasonable condition will generally think about putting on a feed in the spring, and a feed in the autumn. They are quite different recipes though. A spring feed should mainly feature nitrogen to get it growing again after the winter, and put some colour into the leaf.The autumn feed should contain iron (ferrous sulphate) to control moss growth, and winter nutrients to help the roots through the winter. We use a soluble powder mix to make up a 5 gallon backpack sprayer, which makes for an even application. Many of you will have put down an autumn feed and seen the moss turn brown/black, pretty much overnight. This is caused by the iron in the mix, which dehydrates the top growth of moss, killing it off.
This is only part of the control required however. Once the current growth has been killed off, it should be scarified out with a rake, or a scarifying machine, so the grass goes through the winter with a reduced amount of material on the surface, which is actually a favourable habitat if left uncleared, for more moss to grow! Scarifying is a topic on it’s own which I might cover next month.
This season has been challenging on a number of fronts as far as the lawn conditions are concerned. The main problem has been rain, almost daily, through June and July. In addition to making mowing difficult, weeds have been almost impossible to control, largely as rain not only encourages lots of them, but rain also undermines weedkill spraying to control them. Red Thread fungal disease has been everywhere too, a mould, appearing in persistent humid weather which causes reddish/brown patches on lawns.
Oh well.....next year maybe!