The moss has taken over most of our lawn, and so I would like to
replant the grass on the entire lawn. Here's what I plan to do:
In some areas, I will lift the moss or old grass off the ground and put
it back in place soil/root side up so that the green side is buried,
then cover with with layer or compost/soil mix and plant grass seeds.
In other areas, I will simply cover-up the existing grass/moss with a
layer of soil and plant the new grass over top.
Either way, the old moss or grass could be used as fertilizer for the
new grass and will save me from the trouble of creating a new compost
pile. Is there any reason not leave old grass or moss in place?
A lot depends on how much topsoil you are placing over what's already
there in the areas you are going to just cover up. If it's a couple of
inchs, then it shoud work. If it's only a 1/2 inch, then the existing
grass which may be undesirable and/or weeds, may just push up through
it. When I want to seed a new lawn, I make sure to kill off anything
that's there, because it's real easy. Later, if it's some nasty grass,
it can be difficult or impossible to get rid of it without killing the
grass you just planted.
Also, you don't say how large the area is. Trying to lift existing
moss/grass and turn it over is a lot of work. If the area is of any
decent size, tilling may be a better option.
Also, I would make sure to check and adjust the soil PH. Moss can be a
sign of low PH.
No reason. But consider the reasons moss is growing there. Moss
likes a low pH, moss likes shady conditions, moss likes poor soil,
moss likes clay soil, moss likes wet/moist conditions. You should
test your soil, add more sun to the area for grass to grow, and lime
if needed. Adding the compost is a very good idea, but tilling it in
is even better.
Indeed. Can you raise the ph level in the soil with lime? Can you allow more
sunlight in to the area you are going to resow? Can you top dress the
existing grass with a sand/fine earth mix to improve surface drainage (I
used straight sand and got a reasonable result in certain areas of my lawn)?
IMHO, and experience, if you are going to have exactly the same growing
conditions all you are doing is using time and money to grow a new lawn with
the same underlying problems.
If the soil is badly compacted and therefore not draining properly then are
you able to aerate the lawn for better drainage? You can use either a garden
fork or hire an aerator if the lawn is big.
Do you know what the worm activity is like within the top soil? You can do a
simple count by cutting a cubic spade (spade length high, deep and broad)
and count the earth worms in spring or autumn. 25 worms per spade cube excellent soil, 5 or below indicates very poor soil. Worms help keep the
soil and your lawn in good order, improves aeration and porosity. Worms also
eat the dead layers of the grass and help prevent thatching.
Soil humus is also important and helps holds moisture during dry periods and
dispells it during wet periods. Do you have a good layer of humus in the top
Heavy or long term use of chemicals can retard or destroy humus and worm
numbers. Heavy or persistant use of synthetic fertilisers can also retard
humus and reduce worm numbers/drive them away. A good natural fertiliser
that feeds lawns and encourages humus growth is blood and bone. If you have
low worm counts in the soil but have a very worm active compost you can
harvest worms from the compost and seed them into the soil for a quick boost
in worm numbers (but you will still need to develop the soil to get the
conditions right for worms to thrive).
My opinion, for what it is worth, try improving the current health of your
soil and within 2-3 years you may find that the moss problem starts to sort
itself out as your soil finds a natural balance. If you have poor soil now
simply resowing resows the existing problem.
First of all, you probably want to amend, if possible, the conditions that
are causing the moss to grow in the first place. Moss favors moist, shady
and often, compacted soils. You can remove it and replace it, but it will
return unless you alter the growing conditions. Personally, I kinda like
moss -- the way it looks, it doesn't need cutting, and it does a good job
of covering bare soil. But that's just my personal opinion -- anything over
the ground instead of mud spots is okay by me!
As far as leaving the moss or grass in place is that while it's decomposing
it will tie up nitrogen, making it unavailable to whatever it is you're
planting. Better to let the green stuff break down in the compost pile.
Suzy O, Wis., Zone 5
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