The Mains of Drum

Scarifying and Aerating Lawns

Published 31/08/2022

Scarify and aerate lawns now to keep grass strong and healthy over winter, before our northerly temperatures plummet in October.

What does Scarifying mean?
Scarifying is when a spring-tine rake is used on the lawn, pulling through the grass sward vigorously.

Scarifying reduces the build-up of thatch (dead grass, moss, etc.). This thatch layer stifles grass and impedes drainage. The easy option is to use a machine for the job, but vigorous raking provides a good workout.

What does Aerating mean?
Aerating your lawn is when holes are made in the soil to allow air, water and nutrients into the grass at the root. Encouraging a deeper root and stronger lawn.

Aerating relieves compaction and encourages good drainage, reducing the growth of moss, lichens, algae and slime moulds, which become prominent in the cool, humid conditions encountered here in early autumn. Aerate using a hollow-tine corer or a garden fork, making holes 10cm deep, spaced 10-15cm apart. Brush a top dressing of sandy loam into the holes. This helps to protect exposed roots from penetrating frosts, which can start as early as next month.

Follow up with an application of autumn lawn fertiliser.

Top Tips For Lawns

  • Scalping the grass too short when mowing can stunt a lawn's growth, whereas letting it grow too long causes thatch to build up and strangle the grass. Healthy grass must be kept at approximately one inch.
  • Over-acidic soil can favour moss on most lawns. Alkaline-rich products, such as garden lime can be applied when grass is thin, sparse and sprouting from soil with a ph. below 5.5
  • Puncturing especially mossy patches with a lawn aerator can relieve compaction in the soil. Making it harder for moss to re-establish.

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Create a stylish winter wreath

Winter is a wonderful time to get creative. As the days are short and cold we tend to spend more time inside and less in our gardens. For this project you can bring a little bit of nature inside, or hang it on your front door. You can take cuttings from the garden, forage for foliage, berries, and cones (if the weather permits!), or buy real or artificial foliage and flowers instead. It's up to you what you want to include on your wreath!

First off it's best to go with a theme. Are you wanting a traditional wreath, with red, gold and green? Or maybe something more modern like silver, blue and green? Or you could even go rustic with a simple green and brown colour palette. There's so many different options to suit every taste.

Next decide what kind of wreath base you want to use. You can use rattan (like I have here), or a base with wire and moss. Moss is a good option as it holds moisture, keeping your wreath fresher for longer.

Once you've decided on a theme and you have your base, it's time to choose what foliage, flowers or fruits and decorations you want to include. Make sure to have plenty of foliage, as this is the back bone of your wreath and what makes it look full. There's no right or wrong combination, so just experiment with what you think works well together, and have fun!

Stick the stems into the base until they are secure, or for extra hold you can use a little florists wire to keep the stem in place. Work your way around the wreath ensuring there is a balanced amount of foliage. I tend to add odd numbers of things as this works best.

Once you're happy with the foliage you can start to add in any cones, berries, dried flowers and fruit. You could even wrap around a small set off lights, which will illuminate your wreath and add a bit of festive sparkle. Finish off by adding any bows (you'll need something at the top to hang the wreath from, but you can also add for decoration).

And voila, a festive wreath! Mist the foliage each day to keep your wreath fresher for longer, avoiding the berries, dried flowers or fruit. And for those of you who don't feel so confident making your own or simply don't have the time, we have a lovely selection of pre-made wreaths in store now in a range of styles and sizes.

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