The Teddington Gardener

Tackling that mossy lawn..

I’ve been battling with a particularly stubborn problem lawn since last summer – specifically rampant moss that refuses to give in..

True, the lawn is shaded by maturing trees – specimens which have grown significantly over the past three or four years – maples, mimosa, a spreading Robinia, oak too, from next door; it was not always a shady woodland glade. True, the weather has not been on my side this last year – nor the one before. Wet, wet, wet…. The soil is compacted and I confess to cutting the grass a tad too short – the opportunities to cut the lawn were hampered by the weather and on those occasions when it was not too wet to cut last ‘summer’, I went just a little shorter.. Oh yes – building work was completed by early last summer, which meant I could move the furniture, pots, and assorted covers off the lawn – leaving neat – and quite dead – silhouettes in the lawn of tables and chairs and planters…

Classic conditions for moss, then. I did scarify the lawn, with a spring-tined rake, last Autumn and cleaned out a pile head-high of thatch and moss – and left big bald patches in the process. I spiked the lawn with a garden fork – many happy hours here – to aerate the compacted depths. Autumn weed and feed treatment was lovingly applied.

Scarify, aerate, a recent Springtime weed and feed treatment with moss killer… and now my Secret Weapon –

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First tryout of the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker on a still very mossy lawn – and if the volume of thatch and moss that I emptied – pretty much one full hopper per strip mowed – is a good thing, then this is going to be a much happier lawn. Neither do I have an aching back or blisters!

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A powerful engine, up to the task of cutting through this compacted turf, combing out thatch and moss (and how!) as well as aerating to some little depth. Precise too – I’m sure I could have given the lawn a side-parting!

I couldn’t find a cordless (battery) model but then I think, for the job it does, it would gobble up battery power double-quick time. Happily there was an outside plug socket for this job and it is not something that would need to be done (ordinarily) very often – once every six cuts, maybe – so I can plan accordingly if I need electricity at another site.

For this particular lawn, I’ll use the lawnraker again next week and use an Aftercut treatment to help strengthen the grass there is. I can plan then to reseed with a blend formulated for shady lawns – April should be warm enough…

For those areas which are now directly beneath the shading branches of the trees above, I’ll reduce the imprint of the lawn – increasing the borders – as I think it is impractical to grown grass in these deeper recesses. Creating a path between the borders and the lawn will also reduce wear and tear on the lawn – and compaction – as well as reducing the overall volume of lawn in these difficult spots. Options, then –

The following is a link to the RHS for their advice on lawn care and what can be done, and when.

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=422

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