The Autumn weather was generally fine and DRY, with many warm and pleasant days.
In short it was a lovely Autumn – unless restoration of soil hydration was a priority. For many lawns the extension of dry summer weather into late Autumn was not welcome or helpful. On many lawns there were areas of `persistent dry patch` which prevented full recovery of grass that was deeply stressed from the summer heatwave and drought.
By the time we had enough rain to wet soil sufficiently to allow grass recovery in these persistently dry areas it was late in the season, daylight and temperature had reduced beyond the point needed for the grass to react significantly.
Weeds: Never have we seen an Autumn germination of weeds like the one experienced in 2018. The volume of new weed, the spectrum of weed types and the sheer persistence of germination were astonishing. Apparently, this was almost a nation-wide phenomenon affecting farmland, sports facilities and parks.
For many lawn owners the Autumn period of recovery was slow and protracted but most grass was able to make a meaningful if not complete come back. Lawns that enjoyed all the elements of good maintenance prior to the drought proved far more likely to have escaped with minimal permanent damage. These elements include regular Aeration & Scarification as well as careful mowing regimes and in many cases some watering or irrigation.
The outlook for most lawns next spring is good – so long as they have not been cut too short or allowed to be smothered by autumn leaf fall for long periods. That said, we do expect that lawns will inevitably have a higher build-up of winter moss than normal. This is due to two main factors, the first being that all the dried-out grass last summer has inevitably added to thatch levels on all lawns, and thatch is the perfect Moss habitat. The second being that areas left sparse by the persistent dry patches so prevalent through the Autumn will have been easy for Moss to colonise without a competing, healthy and dense population of grass.
The benefit of a late winter Lawn aeration will be even greater than normal this year.
Autumn 2018: In the rear-view mirror. (7/1/18)