Winterizing the lawn to keep moss out - Knowledgebase Question

Redmond, Wa
Avatar for sunnyv6
Question by sunnyv6
December 31, 2010
The grass is good now and my side lawn has a slope because of which water gets collected there. I was asked to use a fertilizer with 3-2-1 NPK. I was not able to find any in Home Depot. Can you suggest one please? Also what other steps can I take to keep the moss out after winters.

Answer from NGA
December 31, 2010
Moss is usually a symptom of several problems, including poor drainage, too much shade, low fertility, compacted soil, and acidic soil. If you can correct these problems, and put your lawn on a regular feeding schedule, you'll have fewer moss problems. Since the lower part of your lawn doesn't drain well, you might consider installing a French drain. This is basically a trench filled with gravel and covered over with several inches of soil. The gravel will provide a place for excess the water to drain. The soil over the top will support the lawn. When your soil drains well, you'll have fewer moss problems.

You should be able to find "winterizer" type fertilizers in your local Home Depot. these are low in nitrogen (nitrogen encourages thick top growth), but high in phosphorous and potassium (which encourage good root and stem growth). Look for Scotts Winterizer in your garden center.

For good lawn maintenance, start fertilizing in April with a 3-1-2 ratio of NPK (the 3 numbers on the bag of fertilizer). A good formula is a 21-7-14 or something similar. Feed again in June, September and late November or early December. The November or December fertilizer should be a "winterizer" type fertilizer. Instead of using chemical moss killers, just rake and reseed any mossy areas in your lawn next spring. If your grass is healthy, it will crowd out the moss in the future.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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