Lawn is virtually all moss and weeds

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by Nuno, Jan 23, 2024.

  1. Nuno

    Nuno Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all,

    I just moved and the lawn in the backyard (Northern Ireland) is basically moss and weeds.

    I am unsure how to fix this: do I get rid of the moss first, leaving basically just exposed soil if I rake it, or do I use products? Do I attack the weeds first or do I attack the moss first? When do I seed?

    Trying to solve this on a budget as it's a rental, so don't wanna splash it out.

    Other useful information, the backyard faces SW and doesn't get a lot of sun due to its shape and surrounding buildings.

    Pictures attached.

    A clear plan of action would be appreciated!

    Thanks
    IMG_9776.jpeg IMG_9777.jpeg
     
  2. infradig

    infradig Gardener

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    Not all will agree but if you are not likely to be there for 3 seasons minimum, I would only grow the grass by feeding it*, allow to become a meadow (with flowering weeds!), and cut once per year,to 50mm , in July.
    * with this :
    20-10-10 Paddock Fertiliser 20kg
     
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    • Macraignil

      Macraignil Super Gardener

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      Grass is not likely to be growing much at this time of year due to the temperatures so it is likely to look much more like a typical grass lawn when the weather improves and it does start to grow. I find the moss in the lawn area here is much less visible when the grass starts to grow and the grass outgrows the moss without me doing anything to fight the moss. The non grass plants I see in the photos posted to me look like common daisy which does not seem to take over the lawn here and is limited by the mowing. I much prefer to see a bit of colour in a lawn rather than a monoculture of grass but I am not trying to make a sports pitch type playing surface on my lawn and prefer seeing food being produced for pollinator insects rather than killing any non grass plant in my lawn. All I would do is start to mow after the grass starts to grow in the spring once the ground has had time to dry out. If you continue to be unhappy with how your lawn looks at that stage then you may want to rake the moss out or spray a selective herbicide but that type of advice I will leave to someone who has an interest in keeping a grass monoculture lawn.

      Happy gardening!
       
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      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        Unless it really bothers you I'd just try a weed and feed application in the spring.
        You can I think get feeds also with moss killer.
        I don't think there is much you can do to it before late March.
         
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        • Nuno

          Nuno Apprentice Gardener

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          Thanks for this but I am not planning to be gone that long! :)

          Fair point -- though I do like a bit of green grass... you can't probably see it from the pictures but it looks like actual grass is REALLY scarce in this patch. I guess I can try with a feed, weed and moss killer like All In One later in March and see what happens.... I just wonder what happens if there's nothing to actually germinate underneath... what am I feeding? It will just kill everything and leave me a nice patch of dead moss and weeds. lol

          March it is then! :) Thanks guys!
           
        • pete

          pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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          After you kill the moss would be my thinking.
           
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          • NigelJ

            NigelJ Total Gardener

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            My shaded, damp, sloping grass patch, at the front, is currently mainly moss; in summer it is mainly grass with dandelions, daisies and yarrow; in between there are crocuses, snowdrops, anemones, fungi (waxcaps) and to do anything than leave it to it's own devices would be a waste of time and money.
             
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            • JWK

              JWK Gardener Staff Member

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              I like a mossy lawn, nice to walk on.
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                Yeah, Yeah , Yeah, that's what they all say.;)
                Personally I really like weeds as well.:whistle:
                 
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                • infradig

                  infradig Gardener

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                  My post was intended to gently & politely tell you that correction would take at least 2 seasons, by rectifying soil conditions and reseeding with a shade resistant grass species. Moss is not a condition but a symptom of incorrect drainage, possibly ph ,and shade, which favours moss over grass, which may be an unsuitable species for the site. Unless you can alter the shading, by cutting back trees etc, you would need to carry out a cultivation, possibly inserting drainage: essentially start from scratch.
                   
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                  • Nuno

                    Nuno Apprentice Gardener

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                    Hi all, thanks for the lovely replies. Lots to consider! I stumbled across Premier Lawns UK on YouTube who's a local company but they have incredible amounts of videos to draw from.

                    From what I gathered researching I could scarify the entire patch max 40ยบ each pass for 2-3 times as soon as the weather isn't freezing anymore.

                    I would then rake up and spray iron sulphate.

                    Then I would let it rest for a bit (how long?) and then spread new seeds.

                    Finally, once the seeds take hold I could try some fertiliser.

                    Thoughts on this approach? What's the best order and temperatures?

                    Thanks
                     
                  • infradig

                    infradig Gardener

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                    Treat with ferric sulphate as Lawn sand before you scarify, otherwise you are distributing moss spores, which will spread the moss. Allow 14-21 days before raking. The moss will blacken.
                    This does not leave a problem free area, because the conditions that allow moss persist. See above. Improve drainage, reduce shade and possibly select a shade resistant grass variety.
                     
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