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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Summer 2002
John Cushnie On...

A Rolled Lawn Gathers Moss

3 April 2003

If you haven’t got moss in your established lawn you probably don’t live in Ireland. For the past twelve months it seems like it has never stopped raining. Moss loves humid conditions and a moist to wet soil. While it is possible to treat moss and get rid of it, it will return in the blink of an eye if the conditions aren’t improved. There are problems of our own making which encourage the growth of moss. Constant cutting of grass too close to soil level is the number Lawn
one fault. You will notice that any slight rise in the lawn which is scalped becomes mossy very quickly. Lifting the mower by one notch is often enough to make a difference. Compaction of the soil favours moss. It only needs the top 1 inch to be compacted for moss to start spreading. Constant wear and tear with children’s play, the lawn mower roller or walking will, in time, consolidate the surface.

There is no quick fix. The first thing to do is get rid of the moss and that is best tackled by scarifying. Small areas can be done by hand using a wire lawn rake and raking the devil and the moss out. It is hard work and your arms will be longer by the time you have finished. Powered pedestrian scarifiers may be hired which do an excellent job. If your lawn doesn’t look like bare ground when the operation is finished it hasn’t been done properly. As well as disposing of moss, buttercup, complete with its stolons, is ripped out.

Garden ForkThe next job is to aerate the surface. Again small lawns may be spiked by hand using a garden fork. It is slow work but not difficult. Push the prongs 4-6 inches into the ground. The lines of holes should be 3-4 inches apart.

Brush grit into the holes to prevent them closing over and allow water to drain through. Powered slit spikers are easy to use and speed up the job where the area is large. Without competition the grass will soon grow away and with a balanced spring lawn feed it will be in good condition for the summer.

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