We’ve recently carried out some quite extensive work with a client that I thought was well worth sharing. He owns quite a large lawn, around 1 acre in size, and came to us following a year where the weeds wouldn’t stop growing, his moss infestation grew worse and the health of his lawn just declined before his eyes.
It’s often at this point that garden owners just can’t take it any more and call us in, and, while that’s great for us, it means we get to see some lawns in terrible condition, despite all the owner’s best efforts.
Of all the problems he was having, moss was the greatest, and so I’ll share my advice around that here as it’s a very commonly asked question.
Killing Lawn Moss While Not Killing Your Lawn
Moss thrives in damp and/or shady areas, but because of the wet Summers over the past few years it’s thriving as never before. Finding a good lawn moss killer is certainly one of the hardest tasks for many gardeners, and just when you thought you’d eradicated the pest, it often comes back. But, there are ways to kill lawn moss for good, so let’s learn how.
To improve your lawn it’s important to balance moss eradication with encouraging grass growth. This is necessary to quickly fill in the thin areas left by removing the moss itself, which often takes up a fair percentage of the lawn.
One big mistake is thinking that a rake is the solution. Raking live moss just spreads it around, as it’s a very hardy plant. So, the rake has to be used in conjunction with chemicals – iron has to be used to kill the moss before you eventually remove the dead plant by scarifying.
On top of this, that balance I mentioned before is achieved by applying the iron along with nitrogen. This stimulates grass growth at the same time.
How Much Iron & Nitrogen Should I Apply?
If you have a large garden to maintain it would be very expensive to buy a ready mixed brand of fertilizer. I would recommend applying sulphate of iron at four grams per square metre, along with urea at eight grams per square metre. Both of these are very effective and will do the job required very well at a much reduced cost.
The two can be mixed together in a tank (easy enough in a backpack sprayer, or a push-along) and sprayed using the same device. Make sure you use course nozzles and filters to prevent the iron blocking either. Warm water helps the iron to disperse in the mix. Add a little washing up liquid, just a splash, to help the mixture be absorbed by the grass and moss.
Remember, if you need to get hold of the chemicals in question, or the equipment, have a look in our lawn care shop. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, drop us a line. It’s likely we can source it pretty quickly and make sure you get the right equipment, and good quality to boot.
How Long Will it Take to Kill the Moss?
It will take a week or so for the moss to blacken and die, at which time it should be removed by scarifying. Motorised scarifiers are readily available to hire, but are not overly expensive second hand and are indispensable in producing a good lawn if you have a larger space. If you have a smaller garden you can use a rake for the same purpose but it is hard work!
After you’ve finished scarifying, any bare areas can be over seeded and then dressed with a good medium course sand.
I hope you’ve found this useful and that it’ll help you to create a better lawn for your home. Moss is a funny thing in that it doesn’t look too unsightly, so many people let it pass, but you’ll be amazed at how much better your lawn can look with just a bit of work in getting rid of it.
If you have any questions about removing moss from your lawn just drop them in the comments below. Of, if you’ve any tips of your own to help in killing moss for good, I’d love to hear them.