Lawn Care - Knowledgebase Question

Wheatley Heights, Ne
Question by ibailey2k
April 22, 2010
I am getting ready to re-do my lawn. I have had the majority of my lawn taken over by moss. I used moss-out to kill the moss. I want to know what is the best type of grass combination to purchase to replant in shady areas that were taken over by moss. I also want to know what type of soil I should use to the damaged areas and what fertilizeres are best for such damaged lawn.

Answer from NGA
April 22, 2010


Moss is a symptom of several things: too much shade, poor drainage, compacted soil, acidic soil. If you can address each of these causes, you can eliminate moss from your lawn. If you have a lot of shade, grass won't grow well (except when first sodded) and will become thin and more vulnerable to weeds and moss. Limbing up nearby trees or thinning out the canopies might supply more sunlight to the area. Poor drainage is usually caused by clay soils or those that are compacted due to heavy foot traffic. Amending clay soils (to a depth of 4-5") and aerating every few years will give your lawn a better opportunity to drain well. Aeration can be done with a machine you can rent at most garden centers. The machine pulls 1/2" by 3" plugs out of the ground. You can leave the plugs where they lay and they will break down over a period of several weeks. After plugging you can sprinkle sand on the lawn. The sand will work its way down into the holes left from the plugs and will help improve the drainage and compaction problem. Acidic soils can promote the growth of moss so you might want to have your soil tested. If it is 6.0 or below you can spread lime over your lawn in the fall. It will break down over the winter months and help sweeten the soil. There are moss killers on the market but you'll find that the moss will turn black when it?s killed and you'll need to rake it out anyway, so I always suggest foregoing the moss killers and simply raking the moss out. After raking you can aerate the lawn as above and then reseed the bare areas. This fall you can address the problem with acidity by spreading lime.

Since shade is a poor environment for turfgrass, it is essential to develop a good management program in shady places and plant shade tolerant grasses. The fine-leaf fescues are considered the most shade tolerant of the cool-season grasses. Creeping red fescue, Chewing?s fescue, sheep fescue and hard fescue all have shown promise in heavily shaded areas. Some varieties of Kentucky bluegrass and fine-bladed turf-type tall fescue have performed well in moderate shade.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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