If your lawn is suffering from moss and thatch then it won’t be in the best condition to produce new, healthy grass this spring. The best method to deal with the problem is to scarify – either with a wire fan rake or an engine-powered scarifier, which will not only remove moss but also prevent and control the build-up of thatch in the future.
It’s important before scarifying to check that the ground conditions are suitable. If the ground is too wet it will reduce the effectiveness of the operation, likewise, it’s not recommended if the ground is bone dry. If you are using a powered scarifier, ensure that it is set at the correct depth to be able to effectively remove moss. If thatch is also to be removed then it may be necessary to set the depth a little lower. Test the machine first on a small area to make sure the settings are correct.
After scarifying, any debris that hasn’t been collected needs to be removed, however, it can be left to dry a little before clearing to make this easier. After this, the lawn can be given another cut and, if necessary, overseeded.
The CAMON range offers machines for three different types of scarification – standard scarification, lawn rake scarification, and lawn slitting/verticutting. In addition, each of the machines has the option of a large collection bag so it’s not necessary to collect the debris afterwards.
As well as dealing with the problem of moss, it’s important to know why it is growing there in the first place. Once the cause is identified, then the moss growth can be prevented from recurring.
Moss on lawns can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Poor drainage
- Excessive shade
- Low soil pH
- Lack of necessary nutrients
Moss spreads by producing spores. This usually happens during April and then again in September. It is therefore recommended that the moss is removed before it spores to prevent it spreading.
It is important to bear in mind though that when performing any ‘invasive’ treatment to the lawn, it needs to be able to recover and repair itself in as short a time as possible afterwards. If it doesn’t then the result may be a weed problem in place of the moss problem. In order for the lawn to recover quickly it needs warmth, fertiliser and moisture.
This is why it’s best to remove the moss by April (before it spores) to allow the warmer spring temperatures and April showers to work their magic and revive the lawn. In addition, it will be the ideal time for fertiliser to be applied afterwards.
The most effective way of ensuring that the moss is eradicated is to first scarify the moss that’s visible. This won’t get all of it so the next step is to apply an iron sulphate based moss killer to the area. This will penetrate the thinned layer of moss so that after a week or two the remainder can be successfully raked out.
If the moss problem is very bad then applying a moss killer both before and after raking or scarifying may be beneficial. However, allow several weeks between the treatments and make the applications in cool wet conditions where possible otherwise the grass will start to blacken. In addition, ensure the moss killer has a low fertiliser (nitrogen) content as there is the possibility that a double application may cause growth or disease problems. A straight iron sulphate based moss killer would be the preferred choice in this instance.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS!
If your lawn really is beyond help, then why not returf?
It might sound drastic, but it is actually relatively easy. If you decide to go down this path then you will want a simple and effective way of removing the turf, so why not hire or buy a turf cutter? Alternatively you may want to just dig over the area ready to lay new turf on top or re-seed, in which case hiring a rotavator can get the area prepared in just a few passes.
For more details on our range of CAMON scarifiers, click here.