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November Compost Corner
20-11-2016

This year the autumn colours have been breath-taking. I'm told this is due to the unusually dry weather we've had. I can't prove this theory but I know I'll be clearing up vast quantities of leaves for the next month! While it's tempting to let nature mulch the beds and borders, it's important to remove any leaf build up on the lawn. This can leave the turf patchy and grass bare. The simplest method is to mow them off. This minces up the leaves perfectly for composting. If you've used any lawn treatments make sure it's safe to compost the clippings. Some products have a residual action that can affect the plants you use the subsequent compost on.

ForkingI?m often asked if you should mow a lawn during the winter. A lawn should be mown whenever it needs it, just avoid doing so when it's waterlogged or frozen. Set your mower a little higher to save churning up the soggy winter ground and leaving the slower growing grass a bit more length to photosynthesise with.

A mossy or thatch ridden lawn would benefit from scarifying. Half an hour with a spring rake on a Winter's day is great exercise. Work in lines up and down the lawn, remembering to change arms regularly or you'll be visiting the physio. If that sounds like hard work mechanical scarifiers are quite cheap to buy and larger machines can be rented.

If your lawn is prone to water logging or suffers from compaction try aerating the ground with a garden fork or hollow tiner, or hiring a mechanical version. This can improve drainage and the grasses ability to root better. Top-dress with sharp sand or a mixture of sieved topsoil. Then sit back with a cuppa and watch squirrels, cats, birds, and foxes dig holes in your masterpiece.

Next month, how to make squirrel, cat, bird, and fox pie!

Tony Huxley

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