Lawn advice please

Hi everyone,
I'm looking for advice on lawns if anyone can help please. I've attached a photograph of a lawn that used to be my father-in-law's pride & joy until he could no longer manage it. Sadly he's no longer with us but I'd like to have a go at getting it back to somewhere near it's best this year. As you can see from the photo there are a number of bare patches and towards the left-hand side as you look there are like yellow lines, this is in fact moss and the lawn is full of it. I doubt that it will ever recover towards the bushes on the right-hand side as the soil there is of very poor quality and I expect the roots of the bushes have taken what goodness away there was in it. The question is where to begin? As I say it's a project more than anything, I don't really want to remove it all and start again but I'm quite prepared to roll my sleeves up and give it a go. Apologies for the poor quality photo, would greatly apprecaite any advice you can offer

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,181
    Hi Markie - don't worry, it doesn't take much to get a lawn looking half decent, but the level of 'decent' largely depends on how much time you want, and have, to spend on it. 
    It looks a bit scalped to me. Has it been cut recently?
    I'd give it a feed only, and let that take effect.  You'll need to check that the ground /weather conditions are suitable for it first. That will encourage everything to grow. Cut it regularly, not too short, and then in another month or 6 weeks, apply a weed and feed product, making sure to follow the directions correctly. That will kill off the bulk of the moss and any other weeds. You can then rake out the moss, and carry on cutting regularly. The weed and feed often works better if there is good lush growth, which is the reason for feeding only, originally.
    Ideally - never take more than a third of the height of the grass off, but do it frequently and that will encourage good, strong growth. 
    The amount of extra feeding you want to do will depend on the weather conditions and lcoal climate.
    You can also sow a little grass seed in spring on those right hand bits if you want, although you're right, the proximity of the shrubs will have an effect. Bear in mind that you'd need to wait a month or so if you've applied any weedkilling product there though.  :)
    Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
    I know where I belong

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 815
    Hi Mark, I can certainly see why it was your FIL's pride and joy. Timing is just right now to think about addressing the lawn. The 'yellow lines' which you say are moss are interesting in that they appear quite uniform. I wonder if there is an old shed base or structure in that area which results in poor soil quality which moss enjoys? The areas towards the borders have probably suffered with poor light through the winter so some shrub pruning will help in that respect. Moss thrives in poor drainage as well as poor light so I would suggest some aerating and scarifying (after killing the moss but be careful with this and read the instructions properly as over-dosing can burn the grass too). Some light top dressing and overseeding should get you back to somewhere like what you want to be but lawn maintenance is an ongoing process. 

    Have a look at lawnsmith.co.uk which has some helpful info on this matter.
  • markie6657markie6657 Posts: 6
    Hi Fairygirl & Dave

    Many thanks for your advice it is very much appreciated. No it hasn't had a cut since the back end of last summer, I would have expected it to have grown throughout the past few weeks given how relatively mild it's been but very little growth only the moss appears to be thriving. Yes Dave, regards the " yellow lines" they look pretty uniform don't they, drainage went through my mind but unless I start to dig it about I'll probably never know the answer there. Regarding the moss killer I'm pretty sure FIL did overdo it maybe 3/4 years ago and it really messed it up, it looked awful and has never really recovered from that. At least if I have a go and he's looking down on me he can't say that I've buggered it up! I'll certainly have a look at the Lawnsmith site, thanks again to you both apprecaite you taking the time to reply , I'll certainly put your suggestions in place
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 23,181
    It does look like it could be quite a shady site too. Always trickier, especially if it's dry. A bit of moisture helps keep the grass going.
    It's also easy to get fixated on lots of 'products' and then keep applying them, but the best way to keep grass looking half decent is regular mowing, after using a bit of help from those products - correctly applied.
    Dave's right - it's easy to go overboard with mosskillers etc - we get endless queries on the forum every spring about black lawns. Sometimes it's because people don't realise just how much of their 'lawn' is moss, and get a fright when the product does it's job !   :D
    Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
    I know where I belong

  • markie6657markie6657 Posts: 6
    Yes it is quite shady, particularly at this time of year. The sun rises behind the conifers to the right, goes around the front of the house but throughout the summer months we do get some lovely sunshine ( weather permitting ) despite the trees ( not ours) Beyond the lawn is where we hve removed 2 old Alton timber framed greenhouses, shame as they were a lovely size but seen better days, looking for replacement either greenhouse or polytunnel.Also plans to have a few chickens but looking at the price of the Eglu products it may have to wait a while. It's going to be a busy year!
  • markie6657markie6657 Posts: 6
    Hi Dave,
    Further to our chat the other day, the " yellow lines" that can be seen towards the left-hand side of the lawn is in fact where there is drainage installed. This was put in by the previous owner many years ago, we've had the house for the best part of 30 years. Don't really know how efficient the drainage is as there's an awful lot of moss in the lawn however I'll leave as it is as I don't intend to replace it
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 815
    Hi Dave,
    Further to our chat the other day, the " yellow lines" that can be seen towards the left-hand side of the lawn is in fact where there is drainage installed. This was put in by the previous owner many years ago, we've had the house for the best part of 30 years. Don't really know how efficient the drainage is as there's an awful lot of moss in the lawn however I'll leave as it is as I don't intend to replace it
    That makes sense. In these areas you've got less soil and, as is often the case, after the drainage was put in the back-fill on top was probably subsoil. When the ground dries up like it did with last years extreme temps then the areas of less soil depth / poorer quality soil show stress first. 

    If you follow the ideas that FG and I gave and have a look at the website I mentioned (or others) then I think you'll soon have your lawn back in more than acceptable shape. Good time to do it now as well. Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 345
    Drainage lines are unlikely to be so variable after over 30 years. I suspect the lines are a result of previous moss kill attempts. 

    I wouldn't suggest using a combined weed feed moss product.  They're very harsh, and homeowners invariably fail to spread them evenly enough.

    Get that scarified hard, with a lot of soil on show. Broadcast seed over the whole area and, if you can, rake in a bit of top dressing or topsoil/compost to help bind the seed for better germination. Don't feed until the new seed is well established. In autumn, try and carefully apply sulphate of iron to keep moss under control, and give it a late season feed.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 345
    Dig a slice down at one of the brown lines to see if you come across the shallow gravel of a drain.
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