Well we head into the darker days of Autumn , the clocks have gone back and nature seems to be curling up.
We had the wettest October I have known – I recorded 7 inches of rain if you take in the first 3 days of November, combined with a lack of sunshine some older lawns certainly suffered and looking quite pale, in contrast to newer lawns that have either recently been sown and had good soil structure and newer hybrid seed mixes still look pretty good and with relatively warm temperatures of 16 degrees during the day and a couple of evening recently still making growth and requiring cutting when it is dry enough.
It certainly ensured that any grass seed that was sown germinated well and very even and lawns re-seeded after scarifying are looking excellent.
The big negative of all this wet and dull weather is the incidence of moss – where grass is thin it is producing a lush green thick carpet, but a timely treatment with an iron based product now will keep it at bay – followed up again in early January.
Most important job in the garden now is to keep the leaves of the lawn – they can quickly become fixed and smother grass. Leaves depending on the species can take a long time to break down and if not removed they will sit on your lawn and kill the grass.
With leaves come worms and worm casts which are also a big problem , with the moist weather and the leaves they can become very active .
The late, great Spike Milligan once wrote “Today I saw a little worm wriggling on his belly, perhaps he’d like to come inside and see what’s on the telly”.
There’s no denying that, for gardeners, worms can be as divisive as Marmite. Before you start to worry about worms in your lawn though, let’s not overreact and feel like we have to eradicate them altogether.
Earthworms are not necessarily bad for our lawns as they are an important part of the eco-system. It’s fair to say the ‘pros’ outweigh the ‘cons’ when it comes to worms, as they recycle nutrients, feed on dead plant material and create natural aeration in the soil. That said, worm casts produced on the surface of our lawns (usually between autumn and early spring) can be a real irritation. The casts can cause turf surfaces to become muddy, slippery, unsightly and can create loads of potential ‘weed pockets’ with each cast.
There are numerous types of earthworms in the UK, but only a few varieties create worm casts. Casting worms eat the soil, digesting and extracting the goodness from it as it passes through their bodies. The casts, which are pushed up as they work through the soil, are the by-product of this process.