Re-establishing a Lawn in a shady, mossy spot



Re-establishing a Lawn in a shady, mossy spot

Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:37 pm

I have to re-establish a lawn that is in a shady spot. The ground is fairly moist due to a near by stream and pond- it is about ten meters from the stream and probably 50 or so from the pond and up away from it, but the garden is often a little damp and mossy this time of year.

They have had turf put there last year, but it didnt go well, and has mostly died where the shade is thickest.

I was going to treat the Grass in this order-

1. Spray the grass to kill any weeds

2. Scarify, with either a scarifier or a rake

3. Areate the ground with a hollow tine areator

4. Apply a mix of sharp sand and loamy soil to the lawn

5. Sow shade tolerating grass seed


Is this correct? Im assuming I should try to feed what little grass is there if I sow seed?


Cheers Guys
Rob Millar
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Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:22 pm

Establishing mossy spot. I have a great shady area in my lawn that has wonderful green moss growing. Wish the moss could be encouraged to grow and cover more area. Should I clear away the leaf covering, or just let them sit and decay. Will the covering rob the moss of sunlight and cause it to die out? Anyone have any suggestions?

Is this a variation of [one man's trash is another man's treasure]?
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 40 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex
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hendi_alex
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Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:57 pm

lol im no expert, having posted the original question, but I would clear the leaves. Water the area that you want to be mossy.

Rather than sand, try getting tiny molicules of clay to rake into the lawn.... lol

I know the Japanese do alot with moss and in traditional gardens they have people water it and tend to it. Hope that helps m8
Rob Millar
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Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:27 am

Sounds like a good plan, Rob Millar, but I wonder why you want to both scarify and aerate? The latter negates the former, doesn't it? Be sure to rake away the moss first. Fine fescue grasses are best for shady areas, unless you have other options in a native variety there in the UK. Once you get the grass established, to maintain it in shade you want to water less frequently, mow higher than 3 inches (around 4 inches), and also apply less fertilizer. It is safe to follow fertilizing schedule, but apply less than 1 pound per 1000 square feet of nitrogen. That's the recommended amount per application, but you only want about half a pound of nitrogen to maintain grass in the shade. Keep it aerated once or twice a year and in addition to your suggested amendments to improve soil structure, add organic matter such as compost at 1 cubic yard/1000sf. This will yield a 1/4 inch layer. Among many other benefits, it will help retain necessary moisture, while also improving drainage. It will also improve cation exchange since the grass isn't able to photosynthesize for lack of sunlight.

hendi_alex, you can propagate moss and there are some very beautiful and colorful varieties available. Just google moss ground cover.
Bestlawn
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Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:32 pm

Thats excellent advice, thank you.

Could you explain why I needed aerate and scarify? I thought they did different things, and although you may only need to do one, it certainly wouldnt hurt to do both. Am I wrong

Thanks again Bestlawn, much appreciated
Rob Millar
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Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:40 pm

It's possible we are caught between terminology of geographic areas. I might need to ascertain if this board is US-based or UK-based so as to acknowledge differences and may need to tailor my responses.

In that case, I can't be sure what you mean by "scarify." To me, scarifying the soil is scratching the surface, so please correct me if you meant something different.

Aerating with hollow tines means you remove plugs of soil. Am I right? To do it properly, you will remove plugs roughly 3 inches deep and roughly 3 inches apart. Leave the plugs where they lay, and they will mulch themselves back into the soil. The process negates the need and purpose of scarifying because it ruins whatever you did previously and essentially creates a somewhat new surface of soil/grass. So, your earlier efforts are wasted and secondary to a superior process. When it comes to mechanical processes, like aerating, scarifying, power raking, etc., you want to decide on the side of optimum benefit. If thatch is a problem, for example, aerating solves that problem also by breaking up the thatch layer, meaning there would be no need to both dethatch and aerate.

In addition to making the soil friable for penetration of air, moisture, and nutrients, as well as improving drainage, aerating is especially beneficial when seeding because the plugs carry the seeds with them as they mulch themselves into the soil, which optimizes seed/soil contact.
Bestlawn
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:45 pm

No, all the terminology is fine. Sorry for the confussion.

I guessed Areating was superior, but I thought if the lawn was in dire need of repair I would remove the thatch, tidy it all up, then areate the soil so it it stay better for longer, but your the second person to tell me that there is no need.

Thank you for the advice, and the tip at the end is gold!!

Many thanks Bestlawn
Rob Millar
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Location: England




    

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