The Q&A Archives: Rebuilding A Damaged (but Not Dead) Lawn

Question: My lawn is damaged but not "dead enough" to warrant starting over. In what order and with how much time between steps do I: (a) kill the moss, (b) apply weed & feed, (c) plant new seed - with additional top soil - in the bare areas, and (d) overseed the still-healthy areas.

I live in Salem, Oregon, with a relatively shade-intensive yard. Thanks for whatever help or insight you can provide.

Answer: Moss thrives when conditions favor its growth. Too much shade, compacted soil, poor fertility, poor drainage and low pH all contribute to moss in lawns. If you can correct all (or most) of these problems, you'll have less moss in the lawn. I'd skip the moss killer. It will kill the moss, but you'll need to change conditions or it will come right back.

Go ahead and dethatch, then rake up all the dead stolons along with the moss. Reseed any bare areas. Then put your lawn on a regular feeding schedule, mow frequently, and water as needed. These steps will help the grass grow lush and thick enough to crowd out weeds and moss. Oregon State University recommends fertilizing in April, June, September and the first week of December with a 3-1-2 ratio of complete fertilizer (21-7-14 is a good choice).

You may want to have the soil tested because it is likely your soil pH is too low. If that proves true, you'll be advised to add lime. Fall is the best time add lime, but anytime is okay.

Following the above guidelines for a healthy lawn should greatly reduce dead patches and the amount of moss you find in your yard.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Southern Comfort"