At Balanis Gardening we undertook several new garden maintenance clients in late 2017. Several of these properties had severally moss infected lawns. The moss was as deep as 2 inches in parts and down to less than 25% lawn versus 75% moss. I wasn’t happy mowing the moss – I want to mow a lawn or at least something that is 75% grass.
Attack the Moss – scarify
Fortunately the customers were happy for me to undertake a 3 month moss reduction program starting in March and aimed to finish mid June. It’s still ongoing but the results have been very favourable. As the lawn were so bad I decided to scarify the really thick moss out first using our petrol scarifier. The amount of moss that this simple process alone removed was quite remarkable. From a 200m² lawn we had enough moss to fill eight wheelie bins. The reason I removed the thick top layer of moss first was simple. Treating moss with ferrous sulphate will not penetrate much more than an inch (2.5cm). It was necessary to get the moss thinned out to give the ferrous sulphate a chance.
Next – Apply Ferrous Sulphate
Stage 2- Kill the Moss. A tried and tested way to kill moss and not the lawn is using ferrous sulphate. It’s quite a strong chemical and great care must be taken when using. Ensure it does not fall on porous paving stones as it will permanently stain them. It is vitally important you use the correct amount at the recommended dosage level. You will need to measure the size of your lawn before applying the ferrous sulphate. I applied the FS solution in a backback sprayer. There are some cheap ones online but the Matabi Pro is the best and worth every penny.
My lawn’s turned black! Don’t panic ….
Trust me, if your lawn has a high percentage of moss it is going to look AWFUL after applying the Ferrous Sulphate. The moss will turn brown then black in less than a day. Leave it 3 or 4 days before removing it with the scarifier. These photos below are the actual lawns I treated in April 2018 …. quite scary really when you see them like this … but don’t panic, the lawn will recover if the treatment is followed through to the end.
Fertilise and Over-Seed
The third and fourth stages in the moss removal are all about lawn recovery. As both these lawns were very bad new grass seed was applied at “new lawn” level. I also know that the blooming wood pigeons will eat half the seed … Before sowing the seed I applied a seasonal lawn fertiliser that the manufacturer recommended for promoting early seed germination. Once the fertiliser was added at the precise dosage it was time to sow the grass seed. On these properties I used a variety of grass seed, some designed specifically for shady areas – under the shade of the large hedges. The other was a general purpose seed, ideal for family lawns – lawns that are played on and don’t always get the besy TLC
Rake in and Roller
When sowing seed it’s important that the seed gets good contact with the soil. I use a combination of raking, stiff brushing and then rollering to ensure the seed is sitting firmly on the soil … now WATER !
Water – water & water.
After all this hard work the next 2 to 3 weeks is all about watering the seeds in. I tried to get the sprinkler on the seed every 2 days for the first few weeks. If it’s rained heavily in any 48 hour period it’s probably ok to miss out a watering session. Make sure you check the seed and soil – don’t let the seed or soil get bone dry ..
3 months later ….
Prevention is better than cure
If you only have a some small patches of moss in your lawn then stop it now before it spreads. There are several good lawn treatments that feed the lawn and kill common weeds & moss. Evergreen is a very popular and highly rated such lawn feed.